"Insights into Category Sorting Flexibility in Bilingual Children: Results of a Cognitive Lab Study"
Forty-six typically developing Spanish–English bilingual children (25 girls, 21 boys) participated in the study. They ranged in age from 4 years to 10 years, 11 months. Receptive and expressive responses to a novel category sorting task were collected.
Forty-four of the 46 children tested were able to perform the category sorting task. Within language, receptive and expressive category sorting scores were positively and significantly correlated while only expressive scores were significantly associated across languages. There were significant correlations between the sorting scores and age and language output and input. Children's ability to provide expressive responses explaining their sort strategy was moderately correlated with their language experience, especially English output.
The category sorting task proved useful in eliciting sorting behaviors and naming from the children tested. The age effect suggests that sorting may reflect their general developmental experience rather than their language-specific experience. The cognitive lab approach allowed us to understand how children shift sets and verbalize their understanding of the categorization process. Knowing how children approach this task can inform future work to develop ways to strategically select language intervention goals and document progress.