"Desirable Difficulty? Bilingual Exposure Spectrum & Language Development: A Latent Change Score Approach"
Event: 14th Annual Center for Hearing Research (CHR) Symposium
Theme: Variation from Hearing to Language
Location: Medical Education Building, UCI
Date: June 1, 2019
Presentation Title: "Desirable Difficulty? Bilingual Exposure Spectrum & Language Development: A Latent Change Score Approach"
Presenters: Remy Pages, Lisa Bedore (Temple University), Elizabeth Peña
The desirable difficulty hypothesis (Bjork, 1994; Bjork & Bjork, 2011) posits that difficulties, which demand a more varied and elaborate set of encoding and retrieval processes from a learner, will enhance long-term retention and transfer capacity over future leaning opportunities’ inputs. The present study applied this hypothesis to language development among Spanish-English bilinguals children and asked whether balanced bilinguals—i.e., those encountering the greatest language processing cost—have a (dis)advantage on language growth compared to bilinguals using either English or Spanish more predominantly. Using a longitudinal data set of bilingual language tests (BESAME), we implemented a bivariate (morpho-syntax/semantic) latent change score model to estimate the dynamics of growth in each language. Growth estimations were then compared to 3 categories of language exposure (i.e., Spanish/English dominant vs. balanced). We found that growth estimates for balanced bilinguals were either greater or similar to those of bilinguals located at the extremities of the two-language exposure spectrum. Thus, the study presented some evidence, in the context of our Spanish-English bilinguals sample, for balanced bilingualism as a desirable difficulty in the development of both languages.