About this Research Topic
Cognitive control is an essential skill in all of human learning. Increasingly, evidence suggests that such cognitive ability emerges more robustly among individuals whose language learning requires managing and using more than one language. Interestingly, although the bilingual advantage in a variety of cognitive and attention tasks has been documented with infants, children, and adults, a number of recent studies have failed to find differences in performance between monolinguals and bilinguals, and even some in which monolinguals outperform bilinguals, in studies that use similarly structured task contexts. That is, the scope and nature of the bilingual advantage is not well understood. This gap in the literature provides a good clue as to where to look for the consequential effects of bilingualism. There are cognitive capacities such as working memory, attention, and conflict resolution that are relevant to the documented bilingual advantage. Also, critical to the proposed Research Topic, the recent findings also suggest contextual factors such as SES, language background, and task specifics are relevant to the emergence of the bilingual cognitive advantages.
By assembling a group of papers from different perspectives on this topic, we aim to elucidate the core mechanisms that underlie the cognitive advantage associated with bilingualism. Thus, this Research Topic attempts to bridge the gap in the literature that specifically concerns which tasks and task contexts detect measurable bilingual effects, how the effects develop, how similar or different language experiences and SES are linked to task performance, and the relation of the bilingual effect to other learning effects. This is a question waiting to be addressed. With this attempt, we believe that the Research Topic offers researchers a forum within which they can explore a variety of questions regarding the nature of bilingual cognitive differences. We also hope to attract work concerning different age groups—lifespan approach to the topic— to further provide the opportunity for researchers from different perspectives to discuss recent advances in understanding what the cognitive advantage associated with bilingualism really is.
Researchers using various methods, including, behavioral experiments, neuroimaging, eye-tracking, computer simulations, observational methods, and questionnaires, are encouraged to contribute original empirical research. In addition to original empirical articles, theoretical reviews and opinions/perspective articles on promising future directions are welcome. We hope that researchers from different areas, such as developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, language sciences, educational psychology, experimental psychology, neuropsychology, neuroscience, communication sciences and disorders, etc., will be represented in the Research Topic.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.