Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are bilingual kids more open-minded? Probably not

Date:
March 5, 2014
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
Like monolingual children, bilingual children prefer to interact with those who speak their mother tongue with a native accent rather than with peers with a foreign accent. "We show biases early on, so it might be necessary to educate all kids, regardless of their linguistic background, about what an accent is and how it doesn't reflect anything about people other than the fact that they are not speaking their native language," says a co-author.

There are clear benefits to raising a bilingual child. But could there be some things learning a second language doesn't produce, such as a more open-minded youngster?

New research from Concordia University shows that, like monolingual children, bilingual children prefer to interact with those who speak their mother tongue with a native accent rather than with peers with a foreign accent.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology and co-authored by psychology professors Krista Byers-Heinlein and Diane Poulin-Dubois, expands on earlier research showing that children who speak one language prefer to interact with those who share their native accent.

Byers-Heinlein and Poulin-Dubois initially thought that bilingual children would prove more open-minded than their unilingual peers. The results, however, show that they too prefer exchanges with "accent-free" speakers.

As part of the study, 44 Montreal-area children between the ages of five and six were shown two faces on a computer screen. Audio recordings were played for each face; one read a phrase in the child's native accent, while another read the same phrase in a foreign accent. Researchers deliberately chose a foreign accent that was unfamiliar to any of the children and varied associations between faces and voices.

Child participants were asked to point to the faces they would prefer to have as a friend. Most chose faces that corresponded with their native accent.

So why are bilingual children biased against foreign accents? According to Byers-Heinlein, this may be related to children's preference for familiarity.

"Kids tend to prefer to interact with people who are like them, and might perceive an accent as the mark of an outsider," she says.

This study has implications for parents. Since children lack the self-awareness to remind themselves that accent is a superficial measure of character, parents should be more direct in teaching their kids about accents.

"We show biases early on, so it might be necessary to educate all kids, regardless of their linguistic background, about what an accent is and how it doesn't reflect anything about people other than the fact that they are not speaking their native language," says Byers-Heinlein.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrι L. Souza, Krista Byers-Heinlein, Diane Poulin-Dubois. Bilingual and monolingual children prefer native-accented speakers. Frontiers in Psychology, 2013; 4 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00953#sthash.NxWh18ZY.dpuf

Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "Are bilingual kids more open-minded? Probably not." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305125251.htm>.
Concordia University. (2014, March 5). Are bilingual kids more open-minded? Probably not. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305125251.htm
Concordia University. "Are bilingual kids more open-minded? Probably not." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305125251.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Work Can Be Stressful, But Is Unemployment Worse?

Work Can Be Stressful, But Is Unemployment Worse?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) — A new study shows stress at work can be hard on your health, but people who are unemployed might be at even greater risk of health problems. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) — Google says it is following Europe's new "Right To Be Forgotten Law," which eliminates user information upon request, but only to a certain degree. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) — Sometimes the signs of a stroke are far from easy to recognize. Learn from one young father’s story on the signs of a stroke. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) — Could eating carbohydrates be harmful to our brain health? Find out what one neurologist says about changing our diets. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins