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The effects of aging and bilingualism on language-specific attention control


The effects of aging and bilingualism on language-specific attention control

Duncan, Hilary D (2010) The effects of aging and bilingualism on language-specific attention control. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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MR71031.pdf - Accepted Version


Relational elements of language (e.g. , prepositions, articles) act to direct attention to other aspects of the incoming message. The listener or reader must be able to use these elements to focus and refocus attention on the mental representation that is being constructed. Recent research has shown that this type of attention control is specific to language and can be distinguished from more general attention control. This thesis contains two papers that examine language-specific attention control in two different groups, older monolingual adults and younger bilingual adults, each as compared to younger monolingual adults. Participants completed two conditions of a task switching paradigm. The relational condition involved processing spatial prepositions, and the semantic condition involved processing nouns and adjectives. Attention control was operationalized in terms of shift costs obtained in an alternating runs experimental design. Results indicated that both older adults and younger bilingual adults had similar switch costs in the relational and semantic conditions, whereas the younger monolingual adults had significantly larger switch costs (i.e., lower attention control) in the relational condition than the semantic condition. Switch costs did not correlate with measures of working memory or inhibition for any of the three groups. Implications of the results are discussed.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Duncan, Hilary D
Pagination:ix, 152 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Thesis Supervisor(s):Phillips, Natalie
ID Code:979449
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:09 Dec 2014 17:59
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:49
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