Do Bilingual Children show an Advantage in Working Memory
Two studies investigated whether previously reported executive-function advantages of bilinguals in inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility extend to working memory. In Study 1, with 45 7- years old children, the group of 22 bilinguals outperformed their monolingual peers on conditions that taxed working memory or inhibition but not on a complex condition that taxed both. In Study 2, a new group of 41 7-year-olds, 20 of whom were bilingual, were tested on verbal-auditory and visual-spatial working-memory task matched on two conditions. Bilingual children outperformed monolinguals on the two conditions of the visual-spatial task that most taxed working memory but not on a comparable verbal-auditory condition. These results provide the first evidence for a beneficial effect of bilingualism on working memory development.