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The Cognitive Effects of Bilingualism : Language Lateralization and Problem Solving

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dc.contributor.advisor Napoli, Donna Jo, 1948-
dc.contributor.advisor Harrison, K. David Tagaya, Eri 2007-02-28T20:28:52Z 2007-02-28T20:28:52Z 2006
dc.description.abstract During the past 20 years, interest in bilingualism and second language development has grown enormously, and several inquiries have been researched. One such inquiry has been the effects of bilingualism on the brain, and more specifically, if bilinguals process certain types of information differently than monolinguals. It is now recognized that bilinguals show early heightened metalinguistic awareness and can solve problems with misleading or distracting information more easily. Some researchers put forth that the right hemisphere of the brain is more active in bilingual language processing than in monolingual language processing. Therefore, because the right hemisphere controls visuospatial abilities, a cause for the increased abilities of bilinguals could be a result of this language lateralization. In order to test this hypothesis, I performed an experiment on six children which tested their ability to ignore visually misleading information in a mathematical, cognition-related task. The results were mixed. Considering the numerous variables that affect experiments such as this, I determined that further studies need to be made into the influences of sex, handedness, age, level of proficiency of language(s), the circumstances under which the subject became bilingual, and which languages he or she speaks before a clear conclusion can be reached. This inquiry is thus a collective endeavour of the linguistic, neurobiological, psychological, and cognitive disciplines.
dc.description.sponsorship Swarthmore College. Department of Linguistics
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Brain -- Localization of functions
dc.subject.lcsh Bilingualism -- Physiological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Bilingualism -- Psychological aspects
dc.title The Cognitive Effects of Bilingualism : Language Lateralization and Problem Solving
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Open Access

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