Spring 2015

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Benefits of Bilingualism

In Living Color

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Want to see how well you do on a test of inhibitory control? Try this Stroop effect test.

Create a set of flash cards with the name of a color written in an ink of a different color. When the card is shown, name the color of the ink in which the word is written. Try it for yourself by clicking on the video below.

“The trick is that the name written on the card is the name of another color. If you see the word 'red' written in the ink color red, you’re very quick to say the word 'red.' But if you suddenly see the word 'red' written in blue ink and you have to say 'blue,' you’re going to be much worse at it. You’re going to be slower, and you might even say the incorrect color. You have to inhibit the word and just say the color.

“I have run this on hundreds of people now. Bilinguals are consistently better. They’re faster, they’re more accurate than monolinguals. They’re quicker because their inhibitory control mechanism is sharper.”