How does linguistic competence enhance cognitive functions in children? A study in multilingual children with different linguistic competences

Gerda Videsott, Pasquale Anthony Della Rosa, Werner Wiater, Rita Franceschini, Jubin Abutalebi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate the attentional mechanisms of multilingual children with differential degrees of language competence. For this purpose, 118 children (61 female/57 male; mean age 10.9 years (SD = 0.29); early acquisition multilinguals) from the Ladin valleys in South Tyrol, Italy, performed the Attentional Network Test (ANT). Our results proved that proficiency levels in early multilingual children may play a crucial role in the development and enhancement of the alerting component of the attentional system. Interestingly enough, we were able to deduce that linguistic competence rather than competence in other skill domains may have a decisive role in the alerting component. We suggest that the peculiarity of highly competent multilinguals relies on their ability to better detect, and consequently react faster to, the target stimulus than their less competent multilingual peers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-895
Number of pages12
JournalBilingualism
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Keywords

  • alerting
  • Attentional Network Test (ANT)
  • bilingualism
  • child development
  • multilingualism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics

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