As I dive deeper into research related to my topic, I am surprised to see so much controversy around it! I was most definitely not expecting that. I am simultaneously taking my senior research class alongside this research project so sometimes the two topics get a bit intertwined into my head.
I’ve discovered that I am very interested in the area of studies related to bilingualism and it’s relativity to cognitive flexibility and executive functions. I’ve decided to zone into one specific skill related to this for this research project, which as of right now is be working memory.
What I mean by my earlier statement about the controversy surrounding this topic is that, while there is a lot of published research supporting the idea that bilingual individuals have an advantage in skills related to cognitive flexibility and other executive functions, there is also an equal, if not more research done opposing this theory. A lot of the opposing research actually discredits any supporting evidence related to this. One article critique I came across actually argues that when looking closely at test results of the supporting evidence, the research often yields null results or show minimal differences between the bilingual and monolingual groups. Other opposing research question the validity of the types of tests used during their experiments and claim that the tests used were very task-specific assessments and more domain-free executive assessments should be used instead. Another peer-reviewed article that I came across claims that often times, authors overlook imperative factors when selecting participants for their research, such as the amount of second language exposure given, and other influences of multilingual backgrounds.
While some might find this information rather discouraging and question the validity of their topic, I found this helpful because this gives me a clearer idea of how to better conduct my research in a way that won’t be as easily discredited. I plan on going over the opposing research, narrowing down the factors stated by authors who disagree with my theory, and adopting them into my research.
2 thoughts on “Research Update!”
This is really interesting, thanks for sharing! I never heard of research opposing the theory of increased cognitive flexibility in bilinguals, but of course it happens a lot that studies can turn out to have exaggerated/skewed/otherwise unreliable results. Definitely important to take into account for anyone trying to do more studies into bilingualism, so they can avoid those pitfalls. Good luck with your own research 🙂
Lol my master’s thesis for psych was about bilingualism and executive control 🙂 I would be like hey you should read it, maybe you’ll get some ideas for how to do your study! But unfortunately my methodology was so complicated I would not recommend going that route to anyone lolllll.