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Numerical Cognition in Bilingual Preschoolers

  • Author(s): Goldman, Meghan C.
  • Advisor(s): Sarnecka, Barbara W.
  • et al.

The research on bilingualism and numerical cognition, especially in preschool-aged children, is markedly scarce. Therefore, in an effort to expand on the limited literature in this area, this dissertation is comprised of three separate studies looking at different aspects of numerical cognition in bilingual preschoolers. The first study investigates whether bilingual children are better than monolinguals at ignoring perceptually misleading information using a nonverbal numerical discrimination task. The second study compares the consistency of bilingual preschoolers' knowledge of number words across their two languages to their knowledge of color words and common nouns. The third study explores the numerical knowledge of low-income Spanish-English bilingual preschoolers, through examining whether their performance on a vocabulary measure and a battery of early math tasks depends on the language of testing, and by comparing their performance to that of higher-income bilinguals, low-income monolinguals, and higher-income monolinguals. Together, these studies provide insight into how learning more than one language may or may not impact various aspects of numerical cognition in children of this age.

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