Inhibitory control in young adults: more languages equals more skilled?
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There is evidence that bilingualism improves inhibition and attention skills in children and older adults. However, investigations involving young adults have been less clear. Despite much study of bilingualism, there has been little consideration of multilingualism. However, it has been suggested to lead to higher cognitive state in older adults beyond bilingualism. This study therefore looks at inhibition skill in young adults, and investigates whether proficiency in more languages results in better inhibitory function. Two tasks tapping inhibition were used, each with a visual, auditory and more complex dual visual-auditory component. The first was a Simon task and the second an adaptation of the elevator task from the Test of Everyday Attention (Robertson, Ward, Ridgeway & Nimmo-Smith, 1994). Monolinguals were generally faster, whilst multilinguals were more accurate in some tasks. However, only some trends reached significance. The results are discussed primarily in relation to methodological isssues. A key point is that bilingualism/multilingualism criteria were less stringent in the current study, suggesting that effects are most prominent in balanced bilinguals.