Bilingualism and Procedural Learning in Typically Developing Children and Children With Language Impairment

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Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate whether dual language experience affects procedural learning ability in typically developing children and in children with specific language impairment (SLI).

Method: We examined procedural learning in monolingual and bilingual school-aged children (ages 8–12 years) with and without SLI. The typically developing children (35 monolinguals, 24 bilinguals) and the children with SLI (17 monolinguals, 10 bilinguals) completed a serial reaction time task.

Results: The typically developing monolinguals and bilinguals exhibited equivalent sequential learning effects, but neither group with SLI exhibited learning of sequential patterns on the serial reaction time task.

Conclusion: Procedural learning does not appear to be modified by language experience, supporting the notion that it is a child-intrinsic language learning mechanism that is minimally malleable to experience.

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Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v. 61, issue 3, p. 634-644