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Title: The effects of language proficiency on the executive functions of older Tamil-English bilinguals
Authors: Chua, Annabelle Kai Lin
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities::Linguistics::Psycholinguistics
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: Evidence of the effects of bilingualism on age-related cognitive decline remains inconclusive as the bilingual experience tends to be vastly different from one individual to another. This could be in part, due to the large variabilities in different dimensions of language (e.g. dominance, proficiency) that might interfere with how bilingualism influences cognitive functions. Language proficiency has been proposed as one source of variability. While there are studies that investigate how young bilinguals of different proficiency levels perform on various cognitive aspects, this same line of research is all but at its infancy concerning older adults and therefore warrants further examination. This study thus examines if higher proficiencies in older bilinguals would manifest in better performance in tasks assessing response inhibition, interference suppression and working memory (WM) performance. 28 older Tamil-English bilinguals whose native language is Tamil and only differed in English proficiency were dichotomized into Low and High proficiency groups based on their PPVT-IV English scores. They were then assessed on a range of tasks tapping upon various cognitive constructs such as response inhibition, interference suppression and WM. Results indicate that better English proficiency might modulate the maintenance and updating of information in WM, while interference suppression, response inhibition and conflict resolution in WM might be less sensitive to proficiency effects. These results suggest that effects of proficiency have a smaller effect on cognitive functions such as executive control or are restricted to only certain aspects of cognitive control than previously hypothesized.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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