Bilingualism Modulates Attentional Processes of the Brain in Infancy: A Proposed Behavioral and Neurobiological Analysis
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Dual-language management requires significant cognitive engagement, especially from executive function mechanisms. Of these mechanisms, attentional control is necessary in order to track, maintain, switch, and suppress attention to specific linguistic cues in order to properly interact with the context at hand. The cognitive requirement for this attentional control is exhibited in the brain, as linguistic and attentional networks functionally and anatomically overlap in the left frontal cortex in bilinguals. This proposed study investigates whether bilingual infants’ early language tracking abilities modify the neural underpinnings of attentional control. This study would be the first to provide insight on the neural basis of attention and the influence of bilingual language tracking, as well as add to developmental theories of how experiences such as bilingualism influence cognitive and brain development.