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posted on 14.03.2018 by Ishanti Gangopadhyay, Margarethe McDonald, Susan Ellis Weismer, Margarita Kaushanskaya

We examined the role of verbal mediation in planning performance of English–Spanish-speaking bilingual children and monolingual English-speaking children, between the ages of 9 and 12 years. To measure planning, children were administered the Tower of London (ToL) task. In a dual-task paradigm, children completed ToL problems under three conditions: with no secondary task (baseline), with articulatory suppression, and with non-verbal motor suppression. Analyses revealed generally shorter planning times for bilinguals than monolinguals but both groups performed similarly on number of moves and execution times. Additionally, bilingual children were more efficient at planning throughout the duration of the task while monolingual children showed significant gains with more practice. Children’s planning times under articulatory suppression were significantly shorter than under motor suppression as well as the baseline condition, and there was no difference in planning times between monolingual and bilingual children during articulatory suppression. These results demonstrate that bilingualism influences performance on a complex EF measure like planning, and that these effects are not related to verbal mediation.