The Relation of Second Language Study in Elementary School to Later Verbal Intelligence
Almazan Anaya, Andrew Alexi
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CitationAlmazan Anaya, Andrew Alexi. 2020. The Relation of Second Language Study in Elementary School to Later Verbal Intelligence. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis study investigated whether access to second-language instruction at school was related to students’ verbal intelligence scores ten years later. A significant correlation was found, consistent with the hypothesis of long-term potentiation spanning from elementary school to the early college years. One hundred college students, aged 18 and 19 years old, were evaluated with the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale WAIS IV, the Prueba de Aptitud Academica (Spanish Equivalent for the Scholastic Assessment Test SAT) and an interview/self-report on past language experiences. This thesis research showed that verbal intelligence scores, measured through Verbal IQ and Verbal PAA, were significantly correlated with a history of second language instruction and students’ self-reported bilingual proficiency. There was a significant relationship between early second-language educational experiences and later cognitive capacity, in particular the Verbal Intellectual Quotient and performance on the verbal portions of college admissions tests.
These findings, that access to second-language classes during elementary school was correlated with increased cognitive abilities assessed by intelligence tests and verbal fluency at university entry, suggest that the cognitive demand of acquiring and using a second language may have had long term cognitive effects. The correlation between past language history and intelligence scores was not associated either with the exact age of acquisition during elementary school (as would have been predicted by the critical period hypothesis) nor the students’ access to other forms of enrichment education (which might index socioeconomic factors).
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37364894