Relationship between language switching experience and executive functions in bilinguals: an Internet-based study

Jussi Jylkkä, Anna Soveri, Jenny Wahlström, Minna Lehtonen, Antoni Rodríguez-Fornells, Matti Laine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


We examined the relationship between self-reported everyday language switchingexperience and the performance of early bilinguals in tasks measuring differentexecutive functions. Our participants were Finnish–Swedish early bilinguals, aged 16–41 years (N = 66, Experiment 1) and 18–69 years (N = 111, Experiment 2). An earlierstudy using a sample from a similar population discovered a negative relationshipbetween self-reported language switching and a mixing cost in error rates in anumber–letter task. This finding was not replicated. Instead, we found that a higherrate of reported contextual language switching predicted larger switching cost reactiontimes in the number–letter task, and that a higher rate of reported unintendedlanguage switches predicted larger error rates in a spatial n-back task. We concludethat these results likely reflect individual differences in executive skills, and do notprovide evidence for the hypothesis that language switching trains executive functions.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)404–419
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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