Monolinguals and Bilinguals Differ in Performance on the Taboo Stroop Task
Kayoko Okada*, Grace He, Alisa Gonzales
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.
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