This study examined differences in attentional control among school-age children who were monolingual English speakers, early childhood Spanish-English bilinguals who began speaking both languages by age 3, and later childhood Spanish-English bilingual children who began speaking English after age 3. Children's attentional control was tested using the Attention Network Test (ANT). All language groups performed equally on ANT networks; however, when controlling for age and verbal ability, groups differed significantly on reaction time. Early bilingual children responded faster on the ANT compared to both monolingual and later bilingual children, suggesting an attentional monitoring advantage for early bilinguals. These results add to mounting evidence of advantaged cognitive functioning among bilinguals, and are consistent with the possibility that children who begin speaking a second language earlier in childhood have larger advantages due either to differential effects of acquiring a second language earlier during development or due to longer duration of bilingual experience.
Kapa, L. L., & Colombo, J. (2013). Attentional Control in Early and Later Bilingual Children. Cognitive Development, 28(3), 233–246. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2013.01.011