Bilingualism, Cognition, and Successful Aging
This dissertation aimed to answer the following questions: (1) Does bilingualism affect performance in an implicit sequence-learning task and an executive control task? (2) Specifically, do older bilinguals show increased performance measures than older monolinguals in an implicit sequence-learning task and an executive control task? (3) Are second language proficiency, language usage, and age of acquisition important factors in acquiring cognitive benefits? College-aged and older adult Spanish-English bilinguals and English monolinguals participated. With traditional analyses, young bilinguals demonstrated greater executive control than young monolinguals, but the older groups performed the same. Novel distributional analyses uncovered differences among the older groups, such that older bilinguals had better executive control than older monolinguals. Bilinguals and monolinguals performed equivalently on the implicit-sequence learning task. Second language proficiency and language usage did not affect performance on either task, but bilinguals who had been speaking two languages from a young age performed better than people who learned a second language later in life on both the implicit sequence-learning task and the executive control task. Implications are discussed.
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