A new paper by Patrycja Kałamała, Jakub Szewczyk, Adam Chuderski, Magdalena Senderecka and Zofia Wodniecka is now available: Patterns of bilingual language use and response inhibition: A test of the adaptive control hypothesis. Click here for more information!
Given prior studies that provided inconsistent results, there is an ongoing debate on the issue of whether bilingualism benefits cognitive control. We tested the Adaptive Control Hypothesis, according to which only the intense use of different languages in the same situation without mixing them in single utterances (called dual-language context) confers a bilingual advantage in response inhibition.
In a large-scale correlational study, we attempted to circumvent several pitfalls of previous research on the bilingual advantage by testing a relatively large sample of participants and employing a more reliable and valid measurement of constructs (i.e., latent variable approach accompanied by Bayesian estimation). Our results do not support the Adaptive Control Hypothesis’ prediction: the intensity of the dual-language context experience was unrelated to the efficiency of response inhibition in bilinguals.
The results suggest that the Adaptive Control Hypothesis is not likely to account for the inconsistent results regarding the bilingual advantage hypothesis, at least in the case of the response-inhibition mechanism. At the same time, the study points to the problem of measuring the response-inhibition construct at the behavioral level. No evidence for a robust response-inhibition construct adds to the growing skepticism on this issue in the literature.