Bilingualism, Argumentative Writing, and Perspective Taking

Avery Gaeta, Dr. Nathan George, Derner School of Psychology, 212D Blodgett Hall, Adelphi University, 1 South Ave, Garden City, NY 11530

There are many known benefits of being bilingual. Past research has shown that bilingualism improves several aspects of cognitive control, including inhibition and working memory. However, fewer links have been made between bilingualism and social cognition. One such study, however, shows a link between bilingualism and social perspective taking (PT; Hsin & Snow, 2017). The writing of 4th-6th graders was analyzed for instances of PT. It was found that bilingual participants showed more instances of PT overall (Hsin & Snow, 2017). The purpose of the present research is to explore these differences in PT further, by comparing college-aged monolingual and bilingual speakers. This study will expand on the findings of Hsin & Snow (2017) by providing insight into whether the bilingual advantage in PT remains through young adulthood. If the advantage is present in college-aged subjects, it would suggest that there is a long-lasting PT advantage, as opposed to bilingualism being a catalyst for a developmental checkpoint of PT. To conduct this study, we will present a brief argumentative writing prompt and analyze the use of PT in participants' writing. The three levels of PT to be identified are acknowledgement (mentions of unique agents or actors), articulation (explicit statements of thoughts or beliefs), and positioning (characterization of an agent as reflective of a position). We will also ask participants to answer questions regarding demographics and language history and implement the PT and empathic concern (EC) subscales of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index. Data has yet to be collected, but we expect to find a bilingual advantage in PT. In accordance with this prediction, we would also expect bilinguals to have higher PT and EC scores than monolinguals. If a bilingual advantage is found, it would give valuable insight into the possible social benefits of bilingualism.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Avery Gaeta

Institution: Adelphi University

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 10
Date/Time: Wed 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 6550