Attentional Fluctuations, Cognitive Flexibility, and Bilingualism in Kindergarteners
Haft, Stephanie L.
Caballero, Jocelyn N.
MetadataShow full item record
Haft, S.L.; Kepinska, O.; Caballero, J.N.; Carreiras, M.; Hoeft, F. Attentional Fluctuations, Cognitive Flexibility, and Bilingualism in Kindergarteners. Behav. Sci. 2019, 9, 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9050058
The idea of a bilingual advantage in aspects of cognitive control—including cognitive flexibility, inhibition, working memory, and attention—is disputed. Using a sample of kindergarten children, the present study investigated associations between bilingualism and cognitive flexibility—a relationship that has shown mixed findings in prior literature. We also extend prior work by exploring relationships between bilingualism and attentional fluctuations, which represent consistency in attentional control and contribute to cognitive performance. To our knowledge, no previous study has explored this association. Theoretically, attentional fluctuations might mediate or moderate the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive flexibility. However, given evidence of null findings from extant literature when confounding variables are adequately controlled and tasks are standardized, we did not expect to find a bilingual advantage in either cognitive flexibility or attentional fluctuations. Our results supported this hypothesis when considering bilingualism both continuously and categorically. The importance of expanding upon mechanistic accounts connecting bilingualism to cognitive improvements is discussed.