Scoping review of research practices in the investigation of bilingual effects on inhibition and attention in young people

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Aims and objectives: The aim of this scoping review is to curate and summarize research methodologies used to assess the effects of bilingualism on inhibition and attention in young people. Methodology: The methodology of a scoping review was followed. Searches of the literature using inclusive search strings were conducted using PubMed, Scopus, Proquest, and PsyArXiv. Study selection followed the guidance of the PRISMA-ScR checklist with published and unpublished studies included. Data and analysis: Extracted data included study authors, year of publication, source format (e.g., journal article, thesis), country in which the study was conducted, sample size, average age of participants in the sample, language combination used by participants in the bilingual sample, task(s) used to assess inhibition, task(s) used to assess attention, and method used for data analysis. Findings and conclusions: Studies identified were disproportionately conducted in English-speaking (Western) language environments, based on bilingual samples who were proficient in English and a second language that was typically a related Indo-European language (e.g., English-Spanish). Tasks employed were most often aimed at measuring differences in inhibition compared with attention. Finally, almost all studies were limited to between group designs and fixed-effects analysis methods. Future research can be improved through inclusion of samples from a wider range of language backgrounds that is representative of more diverse language combinations, and underrepresented age groups. Furthermore, within participant mixed-effects analysis methods that account for the diversity of bilingual experience would strengthen the methodological rigor of future studies. Originality: This is the first scoping review focused on methods used to investigate bilingual effects in young people. Significance: We provide strong evidence that standard methods ignore nontrivial differences in bilingual experience. In addition, Westocentric sampling trends provide an incomplete and biased understanding of the true effects of bilingualism.

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International Journal of Bilingualism

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