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Biling (Camb Engl). 2016 May;19(3):621-629. doi: 10.1017/S1366728915000851. Epub 2015 Dec 17.

Do Bilingual advantages in attentional control influence memory encoding during a divided attention task?

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Columbia University Medical Center.
Washington University in St. Louis.
Georgetown University.


The current study examined if bilingual advantages in cognitive control influence memory encoding during a divided attention task. Monolinguals, simultaneous bilinguals, and sequential bilinguals switched between classifying objects and words, then were tested for their recognition memory of stimuli previously seen during the classification task. Compared to bilingual groups, monolinguals made the most errors on the classification task and simultaneous bilinguals committed the fewest errors. On the memory task, however, no differences were found between the three language groups, but significant correlations were found between the number of errors during switch trials on the classification task and recognition memory for both target and non-target stimuli. For bilinguals, their age of second language acquisition partially accounted for the association between attentional control (number of switch errors) and subsequent memory for non-target stimuli only. These results contribute to our understanding of how individual differences in language acquisition influence interactions between cognitive domains.


bilingualism; cognitive control; divided attention; memory

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