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Chapter 3

PSYC 190 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Simon Effect, Cognitive Neuroscience, Intellectual Disability

Course Code
PSYC 190
David Warner

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The Bitter Fight over the Benefits of Bilingualism
People believed that if children grew up with two languages → confused
1890s: Spiritual growth would be halved
1926: Use of foreign language → lead to mental retardation
1960s: bilingualism lead to many advantages
Improves executive function
Goal focus, ignoring distractions, switching attention, planning for
Bilingual mind is in constant conflict → utterance → choice is made to focus on
the target language → need to select
Kenneth Paap - psychologist at San Francisco State Uni
Bilingual advantage in executive function either do not exist or are
restricted to very specific and undetermined circumstances
30 years studying psychology of language
2004 paper by Bialystok involving the Simon task
Volunteers press 2 keys in response to colored objects
Right = red, left = green
People react faster if position of the keys and objects match
20 Tamil English bilinguals were faster and more accurate than
monolinguals from Canada
Couldn’t replicate any of the effects
Tendency to apply research to bilingualism advantage conducting multi
small samples doesn’t do anything
Lead to false positives
Biases, motivations to report only the studies that work
2013 published three studies, 280 local college students, four tests of mental
control and no sign of a bilingual advantage
Jon Andoni Dunabeitia - cognitive neuroscientist at the Basque Center on
Cognition, Brain and Language
360 and 504 children in two diff studies
No evidence that children raised with Spanish had mental control better
than monolingual children
Reproducibility crisis:
Classic psychological phenomena seemed to be backed by many years of
supportive evidence now cannot be replicated
Journals are more likely to accept positive ones than negative ones
leading to more publishable discoveries that may not actually be true
Analyzed 104 abstracts on bilingualism
68% abstracts found executive function advantage were published
29% found no advantage
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