Does Language Distance Modulate the Contribution of Bilingualism to Cognitive Reserve in Seniors? A Systematic Review.

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Authors
Carthery-Goulart, Maria Teresa  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2751-4541
Privitera, Adam John  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1486-8954
Weekes, Brendan Stuart  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2412-7933
Abstract

We report a systematic review and exploratory meta-regression investigating the hypothesis that the effects of bilingualism on cognitive reserve are modulated by the distance between the pair of languages a bilingual uses. An inclusive multiple database search was performed in order to identify all relevant published research conducted in bilingual seniors. A combination of qualitative and quantitative synthesis methods were used in order to investigate our research questions. Results suggest that healthy bilingual seniors speaking more distant language pairs show improved monitoring performance on cognitive tasks. Evidence regarding a modulatory influence of language distance (LD) on the age of dementia diagnosis was inconclusive due to the small number of published studies meeting our inclusion criteria. We recommend more detailed reporting of individual differences in bilingual experience to assess the impact of LD and other variables on typical cognitive aging and the development of dementia. Linguistic differences in samples should also be considered as a constraint on bilingual advantages in future studies. Preregistration: PROSPERO CRD42021238705; OSF DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/VPRBU.

Description

Peer reviewed: True

Keywords
Alzheimer’s disease, aging, bilingualism, cognitive control, cognitive reserve, dementia, executive function, language distance, language similarity, Humans, Multilingualism, Cognitive Reserve, Language, Dementia
Journal Title
Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
1533-3175
1938-2731
Volume Title
Publisher
SAGE Publications
Sponsorship
Research Grants Council of Hong Kong Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship Scheme (HSSPFS) (RGC project reference 37000419)