Very few studies have examined the cognitive advantages of bilingualism during the first two years of development, and a majority of the studies examining bilingualism throughout the lifespan have focused on the relationship between multiple languages and cognitive control. Early experience with multiple language systems may influence domain-general processes, such as memory, that may increase a bilingual child’s capacity for learning. In the current study, we found that bilingual, but not monolingual, infants were able to generalize across cues at 18 months. This is the first study to show a clear bilingual advantage in memory generalization, with more equal or balanced exposure to each language significantly predicting ability to generalize.
A video abstract of this article can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31QsMqYtGGo&feature=plcp