Inhibitory control, working memory and language experience in the referential choices of monolingual and bilingual children.

L. Serratrice, C. De Cat, S. Berends presented this poster.


The choice of referential expressions requires the assessment of the shared common ground including the presence of potential discourse and/or visual competitors. We investigated whether the use of noun phrases (NPs) vs. pronouns in a production task is predicted by inhibitory control, working memory, and by bilingual language exposure/use in children (mean age = 5;11) who spoke either only English (N = 87) or English and an additional language (N = 87).
The target was more likely to be identified by a NP when it had a visual competitor, but not a discourse competitor, except in children with better inhibitory control. Working memory was not predictive. Overall NP use was correlated with amount of bilingual experience. Inhibitory did not per se predict sensitivity to discourse competitors. This suggests that bilingualism does not confer an advantage in referential abilities over and above the advantage it confers in inhibition skills.