Changes in executive function over time in bilingual and monolingual school-aged children.

We examined the development of 3 executive function (EF) components—inhibition, updating, and task shifting—over time in monolingual and bilingual school-age children. We tested 41 monolingual and 41 simultaneous bilingual typically developing children (ages 8–12) on nonverbal tasks measuring inhibition (the Flanker task), updating (the Corsi blocks task), and task shifting (the Dimensional Change Card Sort task; DCCS) at 2 time points, 1 year apart. Three indexes of task shifting (shifting, switching, and mixing costs) were derived from the DCCS task. The 2 groups did not differ in their development of updating, but did demonstrate distinct patterns of development for inhibition. Specifically, while the bilingual group demonstrated a steep improvement in inhibition from Year 1 to Year 2, the monolingual group was characterized by stable inhibition performance over this time period. The 2 groups did not differ in their developmental patterns for shifting and switching costs, but for mixing costs, the bilingual children outperformed the monolingual children in both years. Together, the findings indicate that bilingual experience may modulate the developmental rates of some components of EF but not others, resulting in specific EF performance differences between bilinguals and monolinguals only at certain developmental time points. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)