Many children around the world grow up bilingual, learning and using two or more languages in everyday life. Currently, however, children’s language backgrounds are not always reported in developmental studies. There is mounting evidence that bilingualism interacts with a wide array of processes including language, cognitive, perceptual, brain, and social development, as well as educational outcomes. As such, bilingualism may be a hidden moderator that obscures developmental patterns, and limits the replicability of developmental research and the efficacy of psychological and educational interventions. Here, we argue that bilingualism and language experience in general should be routinely documented in all studies of infant and child development regardless of the research questions pursued, and provide suggestions for measuring and reporting children’s language exposure, proficiency, and use.
Byers-Heinlein, K., Esposito, A. G., Winsler, A., Marian, V., Castro, D. C., Luk, G., … DeJesus, J. (2019). The Case for Measuring and Reporting Bilingualism in Developmental Research. Collabra: Psychology, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.233