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Contributions of bilingualism and public speaking training to cognitive control differences among young adults

Zhilong Xie (Jiangxi Normal University; Guangdong University of Foreign Studies) &Yanping Dong (Guangdong University of Foreign Studies)


Bilingual advantage; bilingual experience; public speaking training; conflict monitoring, mental set shifting

The Flanker task, the Number Stroop task, and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) were adopted to examine how bilingualism and public speaking training contribute to cognitive control differences among young adults. Four groups of participants were tested: monolinguals, general bilinguals, Chinese (L1) public speaking bilinguals, and English (L2) public speaking bilinguals. ANOVA and regression analyses showed that: 1) the speaking groups performed faster than the other two groups in the Flanker task (i.e., better in conflict monitoring), whereas the L2 public speaking group performed the fastest in the Number Stroop; 2) The three bilingual groups performed better than the monolinguals in the WCST (i.e., better in mental set shifting), and this advantage was more robust when L2 proficiency was higher. The results show that specific aspects of language experience may incur enhancement in specific aspects of cognitive control. These findings actually lend support to the recently proposed view by Valian (2015) that benefits from bilingualism are inconsistent because individuals vary in the number and kinds of experiences they have that promote superior cognitive control.



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