Date of Award:

8-2022

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Human Development and Family Studies

Committee Chair(s)

Lisa Boyce

Committee

Lisa Boyce

Committee

Jia (Julia) Yan

Committee

Spencer Bradshaw

Abstract

Over the past 40 years, the prevalence of bilingualism in the United States has increased. As bilingualism is increasing, it is important to examine potential benefits or drawbacks that early household bilingual exposure has on child development and how bilingualism may facilitate those benefits or drawbacks. This study included 5 monolingual and 6 bilingual children and compared differences in brain activation location and executive functioning skills. Results from this project show a trend of activation differences where the monolingual children had less activation of the middle area of the prefrontal cortex while there was similar activation in both the left and right side of the prefrontal cortex for both groups. Also shown is a pattern of better performance on the executive functioning tasks for the bilingual group. This could potentially be explained by the greater use of that middle area of the prefrontal cortex for the bilingual group compared to the monolingual group. The implications of this project suggest that there may be differences in abilities between bilingual and monolingual children and warrant further exploration of these trends.

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