New study suggests that bilingualism can counteract the effects of poverty on low-income children

Here is yet another study about the benefits of bilingualism! Pascale Engel de Abreu from the University of Luxembourg, along with Anabela Cruz-Santos from the University of Minho, Carlos Tourinho from the University of Luxembourg, Romain Martin from the University of Luxembourg, and Ellen Bialystok from York University collaborated in a study about the effects of bilingualism on children living in poverty. The study is set to be published in the journal Psychological Science, but the unedited manuscript is available online here.

The researchers found that low-income children who are bilingual displayed cognitive strengths — better attention spans, enhanced memory — than their monolingual peers. The researchers say that “regular use of more than one language is a mentally stimulating activity that provides the opportunity to strengthen executive control mechanisms that build a defense to counteract the negative impact of poverty on cognition.”

You can read the unedited manuscript here. There are also blog posts about the study available at care2.com and edweek.org.

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