Presenters: Shengzi (Dorreen) Sun, Priscilla Ng, Ran Yi (Honorary UROP Fellowship), Oral Presentation
Research Title: Relationship between Bilinguals' Verbal Working Memory and Language Dominance
Faculty Advisor: Susanne Jaeggi
Mentor: Grace Lin, Snigdha Kamarsu
Working memory is key to learning; it enables an individual to store incoming information and manipulate it in order to perform a task. The primary objective of this study is to explore bilingual participants’ verbal working memory in both of their languages using a validated measure called “Following Instructions.” Specifically, this study aims to investigate whether multilingual young adults’ language dominance—not proficiency—influences their verbal working memory when tested in their different languages. There are two surveys (a Demographic Survey and End of Session survey) and two tasks (Following Instruction and Elicited Imitation Task) within this study. The Following Instructions (FI) task asks participants to correctly perform a motor sequence after hearing a set of instructions, with the number of instructions increasing as an individual executes them correctly. Elicited Imitation Test (EIT) is a standardized oral language proficiency test that asks participants accurately repeat a series of audio stimuli that they heard. This project is currently still in progress. We plan to finish data collection at the end of April, 2018. Based on our preliminary data analysis, most bilingual participants indeed do better on the FI task in their dominant language.