Date

2013

Department or Program

Psychology

Title of Approved Individual Major

Psychology

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Jennie Pyers

Additional Advisor(s)

Robin Akert

Additional Advisor

Jeremy Wilmer

Additional Advisor

James Kodera

Abstract

The current study investigated the relationship between age of acquisition (AOA) of a second language and lexical retrieval ability in bilinguals. This study compared the lexical retrieval ability of 30 English monolinguals, 25 early Spanish-English bilinguals (AOA birth to three years), and 17 late Spanish-English bilinguals (AOA four to nine years). Participants completed a picture-naming task in English, a measure of non-verbal intelligence (Cattell Culture Fair Test), and a standardized measure of vocabulary size (PPVT-III). We predicted that both bilingual groups would experience more lexical retrieval difficulty on the picture naming tasks relative to monolinguals but that early bilinguals would experience less difficulty than late bilinguals.

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