The aim of the present study was to test whether there was a difference in executive functions between individuals who are bilingual and individuals who are trilingual. A mixed design was used as both of these groups were required to carry out the same tasks which consisted of the Tower of Hanoi task that 2 practice trials and 5 actual trials which were either difficult or easy. The results that were obtained were analyzed using a multi-factorial ANOVA and show that there was no significant effect or interaction between the two groups in their performance in the tasks. However a Bonferroni correction analyses showed that …show more content…
It is an important aspect that enables us to control and strategize actions and tasks. Language on the other hand though may seem like a separate mental process, seems to be affiliated with executive function, especially in situations where language switching is required which calls for planning ahead and strategy making (Baldo et al, 2001). There has been previous research looking at the differences between the number of languages known and its effects on executive function. Most previous studies have looked at differences between groups of bilingual and monolingual individuals in which they mostly found that bilingual individuals perform significantly better at cognitive reasoning tasks such as the Stroop task, Simon task and so on compared to monolingual individuals (Heidlmayr et al, 2013), indicating that a bilingual advantage exists when it comes to the aspect of executive control. Another study by Bialystok, Craik and Luk (2008) found that when comparing monolinguals and bilinguals, the former group performed better at “lexical retrieval tasks” while the latter did significantly better at tasks involving executive control. They also looked at the factor of age and found that younger …show more content…
The participants were recruited via the convenience sampling method and were allocated accordingly into a bilingual or trilingual group according to the number of languages they spoke. Ages of the participants ranged from 18 to 23 years old. Table 1 below shows the means and standard deviations of the proficiency of languages known reported by both groups of participants along with the degree of language mixing.
An iPad was used containing the software Qualtrics for questionnaires for the participants while a physical stimulus of The Tower of Hanoi was used to conduct the experiment. The data was analyzed using a computer containing the software; Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).
The stimuli of the Tower of Hanoi consisted of a Styrofoam platform measuring 28.5cmx8.0cmx2.5cm, 3 sticks used as poles and 4 different colored discs of sizes that gradually increase. The images below show the stimulus that was used in the experiment.
The experiment used a mixed design with two independent variables, each with two levels; group of individuals who were either bilingual or trilingual and level of difficulty which was either easy or hard. There were two dependent variables; number of steps taken to complete task and time taken to complete task.