Research Output
Inhibitory processes in visual perception: A bilingual advantage
  Bilingual inhibitory control advantages are well established. An open question is whether inhibitory superiority also extends to visual perceptual phenomena that involve inhibitory processes. This research used ambiguous figures to assess inhibitory bilingual superiority in 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old mono- and bilingual children (N = 141). Findings show that bilinguals across all ages are superior in inhibiting a prevalent interpretation of an ambiguous figure to perceive the alternative interpretation. In contrast, mono- and bilinguals revealed no differences in understanding that an ambiguous figure can have two distinct referents. Together, these results suggest that early bilingual inhibitory control superiority is also evident in visual perception. Bilinguals’ conceptual understanding of figure ambiguity is comparable to that of their monolingual peers.

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  • Date:

    27 May 2014

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  • Publisher

    Elsevier BV

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  • Funders:

    Historic Funder (pre-Worktribe)


Wimmer, M. C., & Marx, C. (2014). Inhibitory processes in visual perception: A bilingual advantage. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 126, 412-419.



Bilingualism; Inhibitory processes; Ambiguous figures; Reversal; Representational development; Pictorial representation

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