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How bilingualism modulates selective attention in children

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Phelps, Jacqueline 
Attaheri, Adam 
Bozic, Mirjana 


jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pThere is substantial evidence that learning and using multiple languages modulates selective attention in children. The current study investigated the mechanisms that drive this modification. Specifically, we asked whether the need for constant management of competing languages in bilinguals increases attentional capacity, or draws on the available resources such that they need to be economised to support optimal task performance. Monolingual and bilingual children aged 7–12 attended to a narrative presented in one ear, while ignoring different types of interference in the other ear. We used EEG to capture the neural encoding of attended and unattended speech envelopes, and assess how well they can be reconstructed from the responses of the neuronal populations that encode them. Despite equivalent behavioral performance, monolingual and bilingual children encoded attended speech differently, with the pattern of encoding across conditions in bilinguals suggesting a redistribution of the available attentional capacity, rather than its enhancement.</jats:p>



Article, /631/378, /631/477, article

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Scientific Reports

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC