A bilingual advantage? An appeal for a change in perspective and recommendations for future research

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  • University of Münster


The debate on possible cognitive advantages bilinguals have over monolinguals continues to occupy the research community. There is an ever-growing research body focusing on adjudicating whether there is, in fact, an effect of using two or more languages regularly on cognition. In this paper, we briefly review some of the more pertinent literature that has attempted to identify attenuating, modulating, and confounding factors in research comparing monolingual and bilingual populations, and we highlight issues that should be taken into account in future research to move forward as a research community. At the same time, we argue for a change in perspective concerning what is deemed an advantage and what is not and argue for more ecologically valid research that investigates real-life advantages.


Original languageEnglish
Article number95
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2019


  • executive function, cognitive effects, Bilingual advantage, modulating factors

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