Disentangling language status and country-of-origin explanations of the bilingual advantage in preschoolers
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
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Bilingual preschoolers from East Asia outperform monolingual preschoolers from North America or Europe in executive functioning tasks, which has been interpreted as evidence of a bilingual advantage in executive functioning. This study tested whether these differences actually reflect country-of-origin effects given that East Asian preschoolers frequently outperform North American or European children in executive functioning tasks. Consistent with previous findings, Korean–English bilingual preschoolers made fewer errors in an age-appropriate executive functioning task than did English monolingual children in Canada. However, Korean–English bilingual preschoolers performed comparably to Korean monolingual preschoolers in Korea. Differences between Korean and Canadian children's executive functioning were not attributable to differences in parental cultural values or attitudes. The current findings suggest that differences between East Asian bilingual and North American monolingual preschoolers’ executive functioning is related to differences in country of origin rather than language status.