Monolinguals and Bilinguals Differ in Performance on the Taboo Stroop Task

Kayoko Okada*, Grace He, Alisa Gonzales
LMU Drive (Psychology Dept), Loyola Marymount University



Decades of research investigating cognitive performance differences between bilinguals and monolinguals suggest that these two populations differ in executive functioning. Studies have found that bilinguals often outperform monolinguals in a variety of executive function (EF) tasks. However, recent reviews of the literature suggest that the bilingual advantages previously reported may be overstated, particularly when linguistic materials are used in the study.


The present study examined differences in cognitive inhibition using emotionally charging words in a taboo Stroop task. Monolingual and bilingual native English speakers were recruited for the study. The Stroop task consisted of half neutral words and half taboo (emotional) words used in previously published studies.

Results and Conclusion:

Consistent with previous research, we found that participants were slower to respond to taboo words, and these words were better recalled than neutral words. Contrary to our initial prediction of a bilingual speed advantage, bilinguals had slower response times compared to monolingual participants. Our results lend support to the growing body of research that bilingualism does not enhance domain-general executive functioning.

Keywords: Language, Executive function, Monolingual, Bilingual, Stroop task.

Abstract Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2019
Volume: 12
Publisher Item Identifier: EA-TOPSYJ-2019-6

Article History:

Received Date: 21/05/2019
Revision Received Date: 09/05/2019
Acceptance Date: 14/06/2019
Electronic publication date: 02/07/2019
Collection year: 2019

© 2019 Okada.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Correspondence: Address correspondence to this author at the Department of LMU Drive (Psychology Dept), Loyola Marymount University; Tel: 3102584367;
Fax: 3103387726; E-mails: and