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Access to Language and Cognitive Development$
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Michael Siegal and Luca Surian

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199592722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592722.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 January 2022

Early bilingualism and theory of mind: Bilinguals’ advantage in dealing with conflicting mental representations

Early bilingualism and theory of mind: Bilinguals’ advantage in dealing with conflicting mental representations

Chapter:
(p.192) Chapter 11 Early bilingualism and theory of mind: Bilinguals’ advantage in dealing with conflicting mental representations
Source:
Access to Language and Cognitive Development
Author(s):

Ágnes Melinda Kovács

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592722.003.0011

This chapter focuses on the cognitive processes involved in learning two languages simultaneously, and on the possible consequences of bilingualism on socio-cognitive development. It presents a series of studies investigating, on the one hand, whether bilingual exposure leads to an improvement in executive functions in infancy and, on the other hand, whether such executive function advantages would then lead to a better performance in tasks where children have to consider someone else's mental states. It is argued that, when children are prompted to reason about another person's mental representations in a typical theory of mind (ToM) task, they also need to involve efficient executive control abilities to overcome a salient response based on the child's own mental state. Thus, if bilinguals develop better executive control due to having to deal with two languages, they might also be more efficient in dealing with conflicting representations (the child's own belief and the belief of another person) in ToM tasks.

Keywords:   cognitive process, leaning, bilingualism, socio-cognitive development, executive functions, theory of mind

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