Volume 13, Issue 4 (Winter 2019)                   Salmand: Iranian Journal of Ageing 2019, 13(4): 480-493 | Back to browse issues page


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Hosseinizadeh N S, Abdollahi M H, Shahgholian M. Executive Functioning and Creative Thinking in Bilinguals and Monolinguals Aged 60-80 Years Living in Tehran, Iran. Salmand: Iranian Journal of Ageing. 2019; 13 (4) :480-493
URL: http://salmandj.uswr.ac.ir/article-1-1421-en.html
1- Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Education, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran. , nobility333@yahoo.com
2- Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Education, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran.
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Extended Abstract
1. Objectives

Many studies have reported that bilinguals are intellectually superior to their monolingual counterparts. Research in the United States and India have suggested that speaking 2 languages can protect a person from cognitive impairment after stroke. These studies indicate that bilingual people have a more normal cognitive functioning than monolingual subjects after a stroke [1]. It seems that the process of bilingual acquisition and their simultaneous management and control, increase the ability of bilingual people to properly control the resources and cognitive functions. Moreover, they use symbolic and abstract representations for problem solving and creative thinking [2]. The current study aimed to compare executive functioning and creative thinking in older monolingual and bilingual adults.

2. Methods and Materials
This was a descriptive study with a causal-comparative design. It was approved by the Ethics Committee of Kharazmi University. Study population consisted of all elderly people visiting parks in Tehran City, Iran to spend leisure time. Of whom, 100 elderlies, including 50 monolinguals (Persian), and 50 bilinguals (Azeri-Persian) aged 60-80 years were selected using convenience sampling method. The inclusion criteria considered the study participants’ age, marital status, educational level, financial status, and bilingualism or monolingualism. The subjects were fully conscious, able to answer the questions, and accessible. The data collection tools were digit span memory test, Wechsler adult intelligence scale, D2 test of attention, continuous performance test, and Torrance tests of creative thinking.

3. Results
Data analysis was conducted by SPSS. Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used to test the normality of data distribution. In addition, the Chi-squared test and t test were performed to assess the homogeneity of samples in terms of age, marital status, education, financial status, and bilingualism or monolingualism. For answering research questions, Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) and pairwise comparisons (Least Significant Difference [LSD]) were used.
Results indicated a significant difference between the mean scores of bilinguals and monolinguals in terms of forward span memory, backward span memory, and total working memory, where bilinguals reported higher performance. In other words, bilinguals had higher mean scores in working memory and its dimensions. As a result, they have a better working memory in comparison with monolinguals. With respect to the mean scores of the dimensions of selective attention (processed targets, concentration performance, and the number of incorrect responses), there was also a significant difference between the 2 groups. In addition, processed targets and the concentration performance of bilinguals were better, and monolinguals had a higher number of incorrect responses. In other words, bilingual elderly subjects had higher selective attention and lower attentional error in comparison with monolingual elderly participants.
Results of this study also reported a significant difference between the study groups in terms of cognitive inhibition and its dimensions (correct response, omission error, commitment error, and response time). Bilinguals had a higher number of correct responses, while monolinguals had higher mean scores in terms of omission error, commitment error, and response time. Two study groups also significantly differed in terms of creativity and its dimensions (innovation, fluency, flexibility), where bilinguals had higher mean scores of innovation and flexibility, and monolinguals had higher mean fluency. 
With respect to elaboration, as another dimension of creativity, no significant difference was found between bilinguals and monolinguals. Overall, bilingual elderlies had better creativity in terms of innovation and flexibility, while monolingual elderlies were better in terms of elaboration.

4. Conclusion
The results of this study revealed that bilingualism can improve the cognitive functions. Therefore, it seems that encouraging people to learn a second language is useful. Previous studies have reported the negative impact of bilingualism on the cognitive abilities of individuals, and considered it as an inhibitor of cognitive development. However, most recent cognitive development studies have reported that it not only lacks any negative impact on the development and acquisition of cognitive ability, but even has a positive effect on those items, too. Learning a second language in childhood is associated with an increase in the cognitive ability and mental processes, compared to monolingual children. 
Various studies present a list of bilingualism benefits on cognitive abilities such as intelligence, creativity, divergent thinking, deductive reasoning, classification skills, problem solving, learning styles, and thinking flexibility.

Ethical Considerations
Compliance with ethical guidelines

This study has been approved by the Research Ethics Committee of Kharazmi University.

Funding
The present paper was extracted from the MSc. thesis of the first author, in Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Education, Kharazmi University. 

Authors contributions
All authors contributed in preparing this article.

Conflict of interest
The authors declared no conflict of interest.

Acknowledgements
Authors would like to thank faculty members in Kharazmi University.




 
References
  1. Whiteman H. Bilingualism may protect cognitive function fol- lowing stroke [Internet]. 2015 [Updated 2015 November 20]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/arti- cles/302787.php
  2. Foroughian M, Hosseini MA, Rashedi V, Rezaei M, Lotfi G. [Comparison of cognitive function of bilingual and monolingual elderly (Persian)]. Journal of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences. 2014; 18(10):609-7.
  3. Arbabi S, Sharifi Sh, Mashhadi A. [The effect of bilingualism on knowledge: Azeri-Persian bilingual study (Persian)]. Foreign Language Research Journal. 2014; 3(1):1-18.
  4. Maerofi Y, Mohammadnia I. [Bilingualism and its relationship with critical thinking skills (Persian)]. Quarterly Journal of Educa- tional Innovations. 2013; 45(12):60-45.
  5. Wisie M. Comparison of personality traits and inhibition/be- havioral activation systems in bilingual and one-language sub- jects [MSc. thesis]. Tabriz: Tabriz University; 2009.
  6. Naziization N. [Comparison of academic achievement of bilin- gual students and primary elementary students in Saravan (Per- sian)] [MSc. Thesis]. Saravan: Payam-e Noor University, Saravan Branch; 2010.
  7. Vaezi Sh, Zolfaghari Ardchi F, Rahimi I. [Mental processing in bilingual and monolingual children (Persian)]. Journal of Thought and Child. 2012; 3(1):119-34.
  8. Baker C. Foundation of bilingual education and bilingualism. Yarmouth: Multilingual Matters; 2001.
  9. Mohammadzadeghan, R. Comparison of executive functions and difficulties in emotional regulation in addicts with high and low borderline personality traits. The International Journal of In- dian Psychology. 2016; 3(1):124-35.
  10. Salthouse TA, Atkinson TM, Berish DE. Executive functioning as a potential mediator of age-related cognitive decline in normal adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2003; 132(4):566-94. [DOI:10.1037/0096-3445.132.4.566] [PMID]
  11. Bialystok E, Craik FI, Klein R, Viswanathan M. Bilingualism, aging, and cognitive control: Evidence from the Simon task. Psychology and Aging. 2004; 19(2):290-303. [DOI:10.1037/0882-7974.19.2.290] [PMID]
  12. Herfeh Dost M, Yazdanpanah MA, Sirihi N, Khizjou I. [Bilin- gual role in creative thinking and creative performance (Persian)]. Quarterly Journal of Analytical-Cognitive Psychology. 2014; 5(20):57-45.
  13. Saif AA. [New psychology: Psychology of learning and educa-tion (Persian)]. Tehran: Doran; 2011.
  14. Gollan TH, Montoya RI, Werner GA. Semantic and letter flu- ency in Spanish-English bilinguals. Neuropsychology. 2002; 16(4):562-76. [DOI:10.1037/0894-4105.16.4.562] [PMID]
  15. de Groot AM, Kroll JF. Tutorials in bilingualism: Psycho- linguistic perspectives. London: Psychology Press; 2014. [DOI:10.4324/9781315806051]
  16. Bialystok E, Craik FI, Luk G. Bilingualism: Consequences for mind and brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2012; 16(4):240-50. [DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2012.03.001] [PMID] [PMCID]
  17.  Ghamarigivi H, Nader M, Dehghani F. Examine the effective- ness of cognitive rehabilitation in reconstruction of executive functions of patients with obsessive-compulsive. Journal of Clini- cal Psychology. 2014; 4(16):101-28.
  18. Kazempour Jahromi A, Bigdeli I, Rafiei Nia P. [Comparison of executive functions and working memory of people with obses- sive-compulsive disorder and normal people (Persian)]. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2015; 7(2):15-27.
  19. Ghaffarian Shaiestegi M, Alizadeh H. [Effectiveness of percep- tual-visual exercises on improving the attention of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Persian)]. Journal of Dis- ability Studies. 2014; 4(9):53-9.
  20. Izquierdo MC, Pérez MJ, Losa MA, López MM, Álvarez Pérez L, Solís G, et al. Psychometric properties of the D2 selective atten- tion test in a sample of premature and born-at-term babies. Psico- thema. 2007; 19(4):706-10.
  21. Nejati V, Izadi Najafabadi S. [Comparison of the performance of high-performance autistic children with normal counterparts (Persian)]. Research in Rehabilitation Sciences. 2012; 8(1):28-39.
  22. Mahmood Allylu M, Hamidi S, Shirvani A. [Comparison of executive functions and sustained attention in students with ob- sessive-compulsive symptoms, high schizotypal and overlapping symptoms with normal group (Persian)]. Research in Behavioral Science. 2011; 9(13):221-16.
  23. Rezaei S, Manouchehri M. [Validity and standardization of the Torrance creativity test among high school teachers in Tehran (Persian)]. Journal of Psychology and Educational Sciences. 2008; 38(3):68-48.
  24. Sefidgar ISAN. [Comparison of mental development and short- term memory between dyslexic and normal children (Persian)] [MSc. thesis]. Tabriz: Islamic Azad University; 2015.
  25. Khayrkhah S. [The effect of using information and communi- cation technology education packages on the academic achieve- ment of science and creativity in elementary school students in Salmas city during the academic year 95-94 (Persian)] [MSc. the- sis]. Urmia: Islamic Azad University; 2015.
  26. Grant A, Dennis NA, Li P. Cognitive control, cognitive reserve, and memory in the aging bilingual brain. Frontiers in Psychology. 2014; 5:1401. [DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01401] [PMID] [PMCID]
  27. Bahari Azimi Z. [Bilingual outcomes for mind and brain (Per- sian)] [MSc. thesis]. Paper presented at: National Conference on Bilingualism Challenges and Strategies. 17 October 2012; Shaz- and: Arak.
  28. Bak TH, Alladi S. Can being bilingual affect the onset of demen- tia. Future Neurology. 2014; 9(2):101-3. [DOI:10.2217/fnl.14.8]
  29. Colzato LS, Bajo MT, Van Den Wildenberg W, Paolieri D, Nieuwenhuis S, La Heij W, et al. How does bilingualism im- prove executive control? A comparison of active and reactive in- hibition mechanisms. Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2008; 34(2):302-12.
  30. Prior A, MacWhinney B. A bilingual advantage in task switch- ing. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. 2010; 13(2):253-62. [DOI:10.1017/S1366728909990526]
  31. Fan J, McCandliss BD, Sommer T, Raz A, Posner MI. Testing the efficiency and independence of attentional networks. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2002; 14(3):340-7 [DOI:10.1162/089892902317361886] [PMID]
  32. Cohen A, Ivry RI, Keele SW. Attention and structure in se- quence learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology. 1990; 16(1):17-30.
  33. Stuss DT, Knight RT. Principles of frontal lobe function. Ox- ford: Oxford University Press; 2002. [DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195134971.001.0001] [PMCID]
  34. Hommel B, Colzato LS, Fischer R, Christoffels I. Bilingualism and creativity: Benefits in convergent thinking come with losses in divergent thinking. Frontiers in Psychology. 2011; 2:273. [DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00273] [PMID] [PMCID]
  35. Fleith DD, Renzulli JS, Westberg KL. Effects of a creativity train- ing program on divergent thinking abilities and self-concept in monolingual and bilingual classrooms. Creativity Research Jour- nal. 2002; 14(3-4):373-86. [DOI:10.1207/S15326934CRJ1434_8]
  36. Villafuerte WJ. Brain signal complexity and creative ability in bilingual and monolingual children [PhD. dissertation]. Ontario, Toronto: University of Toronto; 2014.
  37. Lee HE. The relationship between bilingualism and creativity of Korean Americans [PhD. dissertation]. Athens, Georgia: Uni- versity of Georgia; 2007.
  38. Maddux WW, Adam H, Galinsky AD. When in Rome? Learn why the Romans do what they do: How multicultural learning experiences facilitate creativity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 2010; 36(6):731-41. [DOI:10.1177/0146167210367786] [PMID]
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Psychology
Received: 2018/05/09 | Accepted: 2018/11/03 | Published: 2019/01/01

References
1. Whiteman H. Bilingualism may protect cognitive function fol- lowing stroke [Internet]. 2015 [Updated 2015 November 20]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/arti- cles/302787.php
2. Foroughian M, Hosseini MA, Rashedi V, Rezaei M, Lotfi G. [Comparison of cognitive function of bilingual and monolingual elderly (Persian)]. Journal of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences. 2014; 18(10):609-7.
3. Arbabi S, Sharifi Sh, Mashhadi A. [The effect of bilingualism on knowledge: Azeri-Persian bilingual study (Persian)]. Foreign Language Research Journal. 2014; 3(1):1-18.
4. Maerofi Y, Mohammadnia I. [Bilingualism and its relationship with critical thinking skills (Persian)]. Quarterly Journal of Educa- tional Innovations. 2013; 45(12):60-45.
5. Wisie M. Comparison of personality traits and inhibition/be- havioral activation systems in bilingual and one-language sub- jects [MSc. thesis]. Tabriz: Tabriz University; 2009.
6. Naziization N. [Comparison of academic achievement of bilin- gual students and primary elementary students in Saravan (Per- sian)] [MSc. Thesis]. Saravan: Payam-e Noor University, Saravan Branch; 2010.
7. Vaezi Sh, Zolfaghari Ardchi F, Rahimi I. [Mental processing in bilingual and monolingual children (Persian)]. Journal of Thought and Child. 2012; 3(1):119-34.
8. Baker C. Foundation of bilingual education and bilingualism. Yarmouth: Multilingual Matters; 2001.
9. Mohammadzadeghan, R. Comparison of executive functions and difficulties in emotional regulation in addicts with high and low borderline personality traits. The International Journal of In- dian Psychology. 2016; 3(1):124-35.
10. Salthouse TA, Atkinson TM, Berish DE. Executive functioning as a potential mediator of age-related cognitive decline in normal adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2003; 132(4):566-94. [DOI:10.1037/0096-3445.132.4.566] [PMID] [DOI:10.1037/0096-3445.132.4.566]
11. Bialystok E, Craik FI, Klein R, Viswanathan M. Bilingualism, aging, and cognitive control: Evidence from the Simon task. Psychology and Aging. 2004; 19(2):290-303. [DOI:10.1037/0882-7974.19.2.290] [PMID] [DOI:10.1037/0882-7974.19.2.290]
12. Herfeh Dost M, Yazdanpanah MA, Sirihi N, Khizjou I. [Bilin- gual role in creative thinking and creative performance (Persian)]. Quarterly Journal of Analytical-Cognitive Psychology. 2014; 5(20):57-45.
13. Saif AA. [New psychology: Psychology of learning and educa-tion (Persian)]. Tehran: Doran; 2011.
14. Gollan TH, Montoya RI, Werner GA. Semantic and letter flu- ency in Spanish-English bilinguals. Neuropsychology. 2002; 16(4):562-76. [DOI:10.1037/0894-4105.16.4.562] [PMID] [DOI:10.1037/0894-4105.16.4.562]
15. de Groot AM, Kroll JF. Tutorials in bilingualism: Psycho- linguistic perspectives. London: Psychology Press; 2014. [DOI:10.4324/9781315806051] [DOI:10.4324/9781315806051]
16. Bialystok E, Craik FI, Luk G. Bilingualism: Consequences for mind and brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2012; 16(4):240-50. [DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2012.03.001] [PMID] [PMCID] [DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2012.03.001]
17. Ghamarigivi H, Nader M, Dehghani F. Examine the effective- ness of cognitive rehabilitation in reconstruction of executive functions of patients with obsessive-compulsive. Journal of Clini- cal Psychology. 2014; 4(16):101-28.
18. Kazempour Jahromi A, Bigdeli I, Rafiei Nia P. [Comparison of executive functions and working memory of people with obses- sive-compulsive disorder and normal people (Persian)]. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2015; 7(2):15-27.
19. Ghaffarian Shaiestegi M, Alizadeh H. [Effectiveness of percep- tual-visual exercises on improving the attention of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Persian)]. Journal of Dis- ability Studies. 2014; 4(9):53-9.
20. Izquierdo MC, Pérez MJ, Losa MA, López MM, Álvarez Pérez L, Solís G, et al. Psychometric properties of the D2 selective atten- tion test in a sample of premature and born-at-term babies. Psico- thema. 2007; 19(4):706-10.
21. Nejati V, Izadi Najafabadi S. [Comparison of the performance of high-performance autistic children with normal counterparts (Persian)]. Research in Rehabilitation Sciences. 2012; 8(1):28-39.
22. Mahmood Allylu M, Hamidi S, Shirvani A. [Comparison of executive functions and sustained attention in students with ob- sessive-compulsive symptoms, high schizotypal and overlapping symptoms with normal group (Persian)]. Research in Behavioral Science. 2011; 9(13):221-16.
23. Rezaei S, Manouchehri M. [Validity and standardization of the Torrance creativity test among high school teachers in Tehran (Persian)]. Journal of Psychology and Educational Sciences. 2008; 38(3):68-48.
24. Sefidgar ISAN. [Comparison of mental development and short- term memory between dyslexic and normal children (Persian)] [MSc. thesis]. Tabriz: Islamic Azad University; 2015.
25. Khayrkhah S. [The effect of using information and communi- cation technology education packages on the academic achieve- ment of science and creativity in elementary school students in Salmas city during the academic year 95-94 (Persian)] [MSc. the- sis]. Urmia: Islamic Azad University; 2015.
26. Grant A, Dennis NA, Li P. Cognitive control, cognitive reserve, and memory in the aging bilingual brain. Frontiers in Psychology. 2014; 5:1401. [DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01401] [PMID] [PMCID] [DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01401]
27. Bahari Azimi Z. [Bilingual outcomes for mind and brain (Per- sian)] [MSc. thesis]. Paper presented at: National Conference on Bilingualism Challenges and Strategies. 17 October 2012; Shaz- and: Arak.
28. Bak TH, Alladi S. Can being bilingual affect the onset of demen- tia. Future Neurology. 2014; 9(2):101-3. [DOI:10.2217/fnl.14.8] [DOI:10.2217/fnl.14.8]
29. Colzato LS, Bajo MT, Van Den Wildenberg W, Paolieri D, Nieuwenhuis S, La Heij W, et al. How does bilingualism im- prove executive control? A comparison of active and reactive in- hibition mechanisms. Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2008; 34(2):302-12.
30. Prior A, MacWhinney B. A bilingual advantage in task switch- ing. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. 2010; 13(2):253-62. [DOI:10.1017/S1366728909990526] [DOI:10.1017/S1366728909990526]
31. Fan J, McCandliss BD, Sommer T, Raz A, Posner MI. Testing the efficiency and independence of attentional networks. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2002; 14(3):340-7 [DOI:10.1162/089892902317361886] [PMID] [DOI:10.1162/089892902317361886]
32. Cohen A, Ivry RI, Keele SW. Attention and structure in se- quence learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology. 1990; 16(1):17-30.
33. Stuss DT, Knight RT. Principles of frontal lobe function. Ox- ford: Oxford University Press; 2002. [DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195134971.001.0001] [PMCID] [DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195134971.001.0001]
34. Hommel B, Colzato LS, Fischer R, Christoffels I. Bilingualism and creativity: Benefits in convergent thinking come with losses in divergent thinking. Frontiers in Psychology. 2011; 2:273. [DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00273] [PMID] [PMCID] [DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00273]
35. Fleith DD, Renzulli JS, Westberg KL. Effects of a creativity train- ing program on divergent thinking abilities and self-concept in monolingual and bilingual classrooms. Creativity Research Jour- nal. 2002; 14(3-4):373-86. [DOI:10.1207/S15326934CRJ1434_8] [DOI:10.1207/S15326934CRJ1434_8]
36. Villafuerte WJ. Brain signal complexity and creative ability in bilingual and monolingual children [PhD. dissertation]. Ontario, Toronto: University of Toronto; 2014.
37. Lee HE. The relationship between bilingualism and creativity of Korean Americans [PhD. dissertation]. Athens, Georgia: Uni- versity of Georgia; 2007.
38. Maddux WW, Adam H, Galinsky AD. When in Rome? Learn why the Romans do what they do: How multicultural learning experiences facilitate creativity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 2010; 36(6):731-41. [DOI:10.1177/0146167210367786] [PMID] [DOI:10.1177/0146167210367786]

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