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Bilingualism and the Simon effect: A multimodal approach
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Previous research has studied the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive abilities. In some of those studies results have shown that bilinguals perform better than monolinguals in visual Simon tasks (i.e. they are less distracted by the incongruent stimuli). The aim of the current study is to see if a similar effect can be found in Simon tasks using the tactile and auditory sensory modalities. In this study bilingual participants (36 university students) with different proficiency in their second language performed a Simon task employing two intensities of vibration and two different sounds as the relevant stimuli. The results indicated no negative correlation between either bilingual proficiency and Simon effect or daily use of the second language and Simon effect when controlling for working memory. Without controlling for working memory a negative correlation for the tactile condition and a positive correlation for the auditory condition between Simon effect and daily use of the second language was found. It’s concluded that the statistical power of this study suffers from a lack of participants and that if the test was reproduced with more participants with a greater spread in their language abilities a stronger effect might be seen. Also concluded is that more cross-modal studies need to be performed before conclusions about general cognitive effects of bilingualism can be drawn.

Abstract [sv]

Tidigare forskning har studerat sambandet mellan tvåspråkighet och kognitiva förmågor. Vissa av dessa studiers resultat har visat att tvåspråkiga individer presterar bättre än enspråkiga i visuella Simon-uppgifter (dvs. de blir mindre distraherade av inkongruenta stimuli). Syftet med den aktuella studien är att se om man kan hitta en liknande effekt i Simon-uppgifter inom de taktila och auditiva sensoriska modaliteterna. I denna studie fick tvåspråkiga deltagare (36 universitetsstudenter) med olika kunskaper i sitt andraspråk utföra en Simon-uppgift där två intensiteter av vibrationer och två olika ljud används som relevanta stimuli. När resultaten var kontrollerade för arbetsminne så visades ingen negativ korrelation mellan varken tvåspråkig förmåga och Simon effekt eller daglig användning av det andra språket och Simon effekt. Utan att kontrollera för arbetsminne så fanns det en negativ korrelation för den taktila betingelsen och en positiv korrelation för den auditiva betingelsen mellan daglig användning av andra språk och Simon effekt. Slutsatsen dras att den statistiska kraften i denna studie lider av brist på deltagare och att om testet reproduceras med fler deltagare, med en större spridning i språkförmåga, så skulle en starkare effekt kunna ses. Det konkluderas även att fler tvärmodala studier behöver utföras innan slutsatser om generella kognitiva effekter av tvåspråkighet kan dras.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 17 p.
Keyword [en]
Cognitive science, bilingualism, executive functions
Keyword [sv]
Kognitionsvetenskap, tvåspråkighet, exekutiva funktioner
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-105201OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-105201DiVA: diva2:826224
Educational program
Programme in Cognitive Science
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2015-08-12 Created: 2015-06-19 Last updated: 2015-08-12Bibliographically approved

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