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Predicting executive functions in bilinguals using ecologically valid measures of code-switching behavior

Hofweber, J., Marinis, T. and Treffers-Daller, J. ORCID: (2018) Predicting executive functions in bilinguals using ecologically valid measures of code-switching behavior. In: Miller, D., Bayram, F., Rothman, J. and Serratrice, L. ORCID: (eds.) Bilingual Cognition and Language. The State of the Science Across its Subfields. Studies in Bilingualism (54). John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 181-205. ISBN 9789027264541

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1075/sibil.54


One of the factors claimed to impact on executive functions in bilinguals is code-switching. New insights into how exactly code-switching affects executive functions can be obtained if attention is paid to the kind of code-switching bilinguals engage in, and not just the frequency of code-switching. This raises the question how code-switching habits can be assessed in experimental research. This study presents two ecologically valid, yet efficient, methods of assessing code-switching habits: a frequency judgement task based on authentic stimuli, and a bilingual email production task. The two tasks converged in revealing differences in Dense code-switching in two groups of German-English bilinguals. Moreover, the frequency judgement task predicted code-switching frequency in the ecologically more valid email production task. Importantly, both tasks revealed code-switching patterns that explained group differences observed in executive performance. The bilinguals engaging in frequent Dense code-switching excelled at the aspect of executive functions (conflict-monitoring) predicted to be related to code-switching based on existing processing models. Hence, both methods are recommended for use as code-switching measurements in bilingualism research.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
ID Code:81305
Uncontrolled Keywords:code-switching, executive functions, bilingual advantage, German, South-Africa
Publisher:John Benjamins


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