Does the relation between the control of attention and second language proficiency generalize from India to Canada? Academic Article uri icon

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  • Over the last decades, the extralinguistic benefits of bilingualism have been intensively debated. The current study was aimed at clarifying whether bilingualism speeds attentional disengagement. Reflecting faster disengagement, Mishra, Hilchey, Singh, and Klein (2012) observed an earlier onset of inhibition of return (IOR) for high than for low-proficient bilinguals. In contrast, Hernandez, Costa, Fuentes, Vivas, and Sebastian-Galles (2010) failed to find any difference between bilinguals and monolinguals. We investigated the source of this discrepancy, while improving methodology by using a large sample composed of 100 Canadians, objective assessments of second language skills (Nelson-Denny Reading test), and controlling for nonverbal intelligence, age, sex, and video-gaming. Results were analyzed with self-report and objective measures of second language proficiency as well as dichotomous and continuous measures. Compared to less proficient bilinguals, highly proficient bilinguals tended to respond faster overall, hinting at an executive processing advantage. However, contrary to Mishra et al.'s findings, bilingual proficiency did not affect either the onset of IOR or magnitude of IOR. (PsycINFO Database Record


  • Saint-Aubin, Jean
  • Hilchey, Matthew D
  • Mishra, Ramesh
  • Singh, Niharika
  • Savoie, Dominique
  • Guitard, Dominic
  • Klein, Raymond M

publication date

  • September 2018