A new study has suggested that preschoolers who speak two languages show less impulsiveness than their monolingual peers.
Researchers at the University of Oregon,US found that being bilingual may be better especially for developing inhibitory control – the ability to stop a hasty reflexive response and instead select a more adaptive response.
The study suggests that the demands associated with managing two languages confer cognitive advantages that extend beyond the language domain.
In total, 1,146 children were assessed for their inhibitory control at age 4, and then followed over an 18-month period.
The children were divided into three groups based on their language proficiency: Those who spoke only English; those who spoke both Spanish and English; and those who spoke only Spanish at the start of the study but were fluent in both English and Spanish at the follow up assessment.
Lead author of the study,Jimena Santillan revealed that at the beginning of the study, the group that entered as already bilingual scored higher on a test of inhibitory control compared to the other two groups.
Over the follow-up period, both the bilingual group and the monolingual-to-bilingual transition group showed more rapid inhibitory control development than the group of English-only speakers.
Co-author Atika Khurana noted that the development of inhibitory control occurs rapidly during the preschool years. Children with strong inhibitory control are better able to pay attention, follow instructions and take turns. Khurana continued that this study showed one way in which environmental influences can impact the development of inhibitory control during younger years. The study appears in the journal Developmental Science.
In another study its is suggested that there are advantages to being bilingual. These advantages might include;
- Being able to learn new words easily
- Playing rhyming games with words like “cat” and “hat”
- Breaking down words by sounds, such as C-A-T for cat
- Being able to use information in new ways
- Putting words into categories
- Coming up with solutions to problems
- Good listening skills
- Connecting with others