Exploring the Role of Culture, Language Experience, and Executive Function on Children’s Behavioral Outcomes
Tran, Crystal Duc
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Executive Function (EF) is a complex cognitive construct encompassing a set of processes that monitor and control thought and action for goal-directed responses. Increasing research has demonstrated that certain language environments (e.g., bilingualism, culture) may foster early development of EF. However, it is not clear if the cultural and bilingual cognitive advantages demonstrated on EF tasks may be a product of laboratory tasks or if the effect itself may be translated to real world situations, such as overall behavioral outcomes. Accordingly, the present study recognizes the need to understand the implications of language status, culture, and performance on EF tasks on children’s behavioral outcomes. In doing so, the current study assessed 3-year-old preschool children from the U.S., Argentina, and Vietnam with different language learning backgrounds (i.e., monolingual, bilingual) and cultures (i.e., Western, Western-European, Eastern) longitudinally for 3 years on 4 common EF tasks, and related to parental ratings of child behavioral problems. Results demonstrate the role of culture on various aspects of behavioral problems, while specific EF tasks and language status have a differential role on behavior. The present study further sheds light on the potential role of culture and language status mediating the effect of EF on certain behavioral outcomes.