Science News

Ecological Validity in Bilingualism Research and the Bilingual Advantage.

A new interesting article has been published in Trends Cogn Sci. 2018 Dec;22(12):1117-1126. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2018.10.001. Epub 2018 Oct 24. Review and titled:

Ecological Validity in Bilingualism Research and the Bilingual Advantage.

Authors of this article are:

Blanco-Elorrieta E, Pylkkänen L.

A summary of the article is shown below:

Traditional research in bilingualism has consistently found that switching languages is effortful, placing demands on neural systems of cognitive control. This finding runs counter to most bilinguals’ intuitive experience. We review a body of recent work showing that, in fact, when bilinguals switch languages voluntarily, both the behavioral cost of switching and the associated recruitment of cognitive control areas are greatly reduced or completely eliminated. This suggests that switching languages is not inherently effortful, but rather, particular communicative demands may make it costly. The new evidence also challenges the basic premise underlying the bilingual advantage hypothesis. We articulate a more nuanced version of it, in which the advantage is limited to bilinguals who frequently switch languages based on external constraints.

Check out the article’s website on Pubmed for more information:



This article is a good source of information and a good way to become familiar with topics such as:

bilingual language control;conversational context;executive control;language switching

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