Introduction

Memory
is a process that involves the encoding, storing and retrieving of information.

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There
is a type of memory, short-term memory. In short-term memory, the amount of
information that can be encoded, stored and retrieve is limited. It can either
encode, store and retrieve at least 7 things (7 ±
2) or a group, or a chunk, of information (Miller, 1959). “A chunk is a
meaningful grouping of stimuli that can be stored as a unit in short-term
memory” (Parke, R. D., & Gauvain, M., 2009). Short-term
memory is like an information-processing system
that manages both new and older materials that has been gathered from the
sensory memory and pulled from long-term storage respectively (Parke, R. D., & Gauvain, M., 2009).

Working
memory is also known as short-term memory thus is
defined as a set of temporary memory stores that actively manipulate and
rehearse information.

Bilingualism refers to the
ability of understanding and speaking 2 languages (Possel, H., n.d.).

Being bilingual
means that one can understand and speak two languages, and have the ability to
switch from one language to another easily (Parke, R. D., & Gauvain, M., 2009). One can either
be natural in being bilingual due the nature or the environment that they are
in. On the other hand, another can be nurtured and learn another language, out
of interests or it could be a need in any parts of their lives (Parke, R. D., & Gauvain, M., 2009).

 

 

Influence
of the bilingual experience towards WM

Being just
monolingual and bilingual has its own pros and cons respectively. According to
Grundy, J. G., & Timmer, K. (2017), “bilinguals often outperform
monolinguals on executive function tasks, including tasks that tap cognitive
flexibility, conflict monitoring, and task-switching abilities”. These
tasks require a great amount of working memory that bilinguals are able to
achieve as they grow and develop. This may due to having a sense of competition
in both languages. The fact that they can speak more than a language shows the
amount of capacity a bilingual can hold compared to a monolingual. Working
memory capacity
leads to greater proficiency in a second language amongst bilinguals. However,
correlation does not equal to causation, and it is equally likely that their
data reflect that amongst bilinguals, greater second language proficiency leads
to enhanced working memory capacity. Most bilinguals are raised in a
bilingual environment rather than learning a certain language, from scratch (Grundy,
J. G., & Timmer, K., 2017),

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young
children’s measurement of WM

Working
memory capacity is the amount of information the working memory can hold. There
are different types of working memory. For example, there are phonological
working memory and visuospatial working memory (Pearson., n.d.). These types of
working memories are how young children working memory can be measured.

Firstly,
phonological working memory is also known as verbal working memory. This working
memory requires a child to do a task that involves remembering and successfully
be able to point out the key words or sentences (Pearson., n.d.). According to Gathercole,
Willis, Emslie, & Baddeley, (1991), phonological working memory have a
hypothesis towards nonword repetition. It is believed that children learn new
words by hearing the word itself and repeating after it (Kornacki, T. E.,
2011). There are different but similar tasks to measure a child’s phonological
working memory.

Secondly,
visuospatial working memory makes use of visual properties or objects that
require the child to be able to know the missing objects in a picture that
initially has. For example, one picture is flashed for a few seconds before the
other and the child have to successfully know the exact locations or the object
that has the location changed (Pearson., n.d.).

The
higher the amount of words or pictures that a child can remember and recall,
the larger the capacity of a child’s working memory. However, with age, a
person’s working memory can be increased then decreased. As children are developing,
their working memory capacity tends to be higher than older adults’ (Pearson., n.d.).

Debate

The
two bilingual contexts that I have chosen are Turkish-Dutch and Hispanic-Latino
children. With this, I can find out whether bilingualism provides an advantage
in working memory performance. I will first focus on the Turkish-Dutch children
then the Hispanic-Latino children before making a comparison. Above, I have
mentioned about how young children’s working memory can be measured thus to
come to a conclusion whether being bilingual is an advantage or not, I will
compare the measurement of visuospatial working memory and verbal working
memory. As auditory mostly goes hand-in-hand with verbal, auditory working
memory will also be tested.

Turkish-Dutch
children

In
this research study, researchers used Turkish-Dutch children who has a lower
socioeconomic status and vocabulary compared to monolinguals who are
Dutch-controlled. It is said that bilinguals achieve cognitive gains in visuospatial
and verbal working memory tests when socioeconomic status and vocabulary are
controlled. Also, it is believed that executive control are based by one’s bilingual
proficiency. The advantages of being bilingual is that one can have less harder
or difficult inhibition and is able to ignore interfering task-congruent
information. In addition, bilinguals can allocate their visuospatial working
memory resources more efficiently. Before the study is conducted, there is a sharing
the assumption that bilingualism enhances executive control however it is not
the focus of the study. Just for additional information, it is believed that executive
control and working memory predicts that bilingual advantages are expected in
more complex and executive-loaded working memory tasks thus being more
prominent in verbal working memory instead of visuospatial working memory
(Blom, E., Kuntay, A. C., Messer, M., Verhagen, J. & Leseman, P., 2014).

Turkish-Dutch
children are more often to pick up the Turkish language since birth and Dutch
later on. This study is done to see if the Turkish-Dutch bilingual children
will be lacking behind the monolinguals in terms of their working memory or
not. Working memory links to one’s attentional control and bilinguals are able
to outperform monolinguals in this area (Blom, E., Kuntay, A. C., Messer, M.,
Verhagen, J. & Leseman, P., 2014).

Turkish-Dutch
bilingual and Turkish monolingual children at the age of 5 and 6 were tested on
their visuospatial and verbal working memories respectively. For visuospatial working
memory, children were given the Dot Matrix and Odd-One-Out Tasks to recall the
coordinates of the dots and to box that were not shown. As of verbal working
memory, children were given the Forward and Backward Digit Recall. Basically,
children will have to successfully recall the digits exactly based on what they
heard in the correct order and backwards order (Blom, E., Kuntay, A. C.,
Messer, M., Verhagen, J. & Leseman, P., 2014).

According
to results, as bilingual children develop and grow, their efficacy in working
memory increases and gives them a better advantage of both visuospatial working
memory and verbal working memory in comparison with monolinguals (Blom, E.,
Kuntay, A. C., Messer, M., Verhagen, J. & Leseman, P., 2014).

Hispanic-Latino
children

In
this research, it has been summarised that bilinguals did better in spatial working
memory however there was not any significant differences in verbal working
memory between children who are bilingual and monolingual (Garcia, A. M., Ros,
R., Hart, K. C. & Graziano, P. A., 2018).

Children
at the age of 5 to 7 were tested on auditory and visuospatial working memory.
For auditory working memory, children were given the Listening Recall Task to
judge the validity of the given sentence and to repeat the last word of it. In
this task, children have to successfully remember what has been said. For
visuospatial working memory, children were given the Mister X task whereby
children supposed judge the spatial orientation of the figures and recall the
placings of the location of the rotated figure’s ball from 6 possibilities.
Basically, there are different locations for the ball to be placed. Somehow, this
task is the same as the Dot Matrix and Odd-One-Out Task. The difference is that
instead of just knowing the difference in placings, children will have to
successful remember the initial placing of the ball. (Garcia, A. M., Ros, R.,
Hart, K. C. & Graziano, P. A., 2018).

According
to the results, Hispanic-Latino bilingual children did not outperform the
monolinguals as how the researchers hoped. It was shown that bilingualism
affects a child’s performance in visuospatial performance (Garcia, A. M., Ros,
R., Hart, K. C. & Graziano, P. A., 2018).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

As
stated above, the things that were measured for working memory are verbal,
visuospatial and auditory working memories. Verbal and auditory working memory
are interrelated as both tasks required the children to listen and repeat the
given statements, words, or numbers. After studies, it shows that overall,
children who are bilingual were able to prove and show greater results than
those who are monolingual. This shows that bilingual children’s working memory’s
capacity is also larger compared to monolingual children due to the ability to
remember and recall words or pictures clearly. Therefore, I would like to
conclude that bilingualism does give an advantage in working memory in general.

 

# of words: 1505

References

Blom,
E., Kuntay, A. C., Messer, M., Verhagen, J. & Leseman, P. (2014). The benefits
of being bilingual: Working memory in bilingual Turkish Dutch Children. Journal
of Experimental Child Psychology 128 (2014) 105-119 htpp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2014.06.007

 

Garcia,
A. M., Ros, R., Hart, K. C. & Graziano, P. A. (2018). Comparing working
memory in bilingual and monolingual Hispanic/Latino pre-schoolers with
disruptive behavior disorders. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 166
(2018) 535-548 htpp://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2017.09.020

 

Grivol,
M. A. & Hage, S. R. d. V. (2011) Phonological working memory: a comparative study
between different age groups. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S2179-64912011000300010 

 

Grundy,
J. G., & Timmer, K. (2017). Bilingualism and working memory capacity: A
comprehensive meta-analysis. Second Language Research, 33(3),
325-340. doi:10.1177/0267658316678286

 

Kornacki,
T. E. (2011). Measuring phonological short-term memory, apart from lexical
knowledge.

 

Parke, R. D., & Gauvain, M. (2009). Child psychology: A
contemporary viewpoint. Boston: McGraw Hill.

 

Possel,
H. (n.d.). Bilingualism. Retrieved January 12, 2018, from http://www.smart-words.org/bilingualism.html

Pearson.
(n.d.). How to measure working memory capacity. Retrieved from January 12,
2018, from https://www.cogmed.com/how-to-measure-working-memory-capacity