Bilingualism has been studied extensively in multiple disciplines, yet we are still trying to figure out how exactly bilinguals think. A bilingual advantage has been observed in various experimental studies, but also has not been observed in many other studies. A bilingual advantage has been shown in tasks using selective attention. These tasks study the effects of language interference, where two types of interference are observed: interlingual (between-languages) and intralingual (within one language). This study examined language interference in Spanish-English bilinguals, using an auditory-visual simultaneous translation experimental setup. 16 college English monolinguals and 17 college Spanish-English bilinguals were tested. The task was to ignore the word in the headphones and to translate/repeat the word on the screen into English. Distractor words went to either the right, left, or both headphone ears. Subjects were given 72 words to translate, words were randomized, and ear of the distractor word was randomized. The monolingual group was not affected by any independent variables tested except screen word length. Bilinguals did worse when the word and audio were in Spanish, and when the word and audio were different words. No ear advantage was observed. Proficiency levels and first language had no effects on bilingual performance. More intralingual interference was observed for bilinguals only, no significant interference occurred for monolinguals. A slight bilingual advantage was found but not fully, because of the high load of the task and introduction of another language. In conclusion, bilinguals did not have a cognitive advantage in this experiment setup.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Undergraduate Studies
Orlando (Main) Campus
Young, Violet A., "Cross-Modal Distraction on Simultaneous Translation: Language Interference in Spanish-English Bilinguals" (2018). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 448.