Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Volume 5 Issue 2 (March/April 1991), Pages fmi-fmi, 87-172

Imagery skill and preference in bilinguals (pages 97-112)


A number of studies have reported differences in the performance of bilinguals and monolinguals in verbal tasks. It has been suggested that one source of this difference is a greater tendency among bilinguals to use non‐verbal ways of representing events, because of the potential for confusions between their two verbal codes. In the present study, bilingual and monolingual college students were compared on three dimensions of self‐reported aspects of imagery—control, vividness and preference—as well as on a performance measure of spatial manipulation skill. When these tasks were preceded by a nominally verbal activity (prose comprehension), there were no group differences on the self‐report or objective imagery measures. In contrast, when they were preceded by an imagery rating task, some evidence of a compensatory reliance on spatial codes among bilinguals was obtained. Implications of these task induction effects on both subjective and performance measures of a skill were discussed.

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