The role of individual differences in executive functions and code switching in bilingual language development

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Elisabet Garcia Gonzalez (photo: UiO/Mathias Fossum)

About the project

This PhD project focuses on the cognitive mechanisms that are involved in the language development of bilingual children and adolescents. One of the core aspects of the project is the study of code-switching as a means to understand the cognitive components that are connected to the use of two languages.

Language switching, changing from language to the other, is a common practice among bilingual speakers. According to previous research, switching affects certain aspects of cognition like working memory, the ability to shift between tasks or to ignore irrelevant information. While many studies have researched code-swtiching and cognition in adults, our knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of language switching in children is very limited. Thus, the first study of this project is on code-swtiching in pre-school children


Our central questions include:

  1. Do individual differences in EF predict switching costs in bilingual children?
  2. What is the role of the three components IC, WM and shifting in children’s code-switching?
  3. How does parental code-switching towards the child influence children’s switching strategies?


Tags: Multilingual competence
Published Mar. 30, 2020 12:09 PM - Last modified Apr. 3, 2020 10:37 AM