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Defining, Characterizing, and Recruiting Participants According to a Novel Distinction for an Event-Related Potential Study Regarding the Cognitive Impact of Code-Switching Habits

By: Angélique M. Blackburn Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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This is a case study of my doctoral work, in which I used a novel distinction to group participants according to how often they code-switch, that is, switch between languages within a conversation. Here, I address many of the practicalities regarding defining and categorizing code-switching habits, characterizing code-switching frequency according to a rigorously tested assessment created for this purpose, and subsequently recruiting the small percentage of the population who exhibit extreme code-switching behavior along the assessment scale. Once categorized, it was then important to match monolinguals and bilingual “switchers” who tend to code switch and “non-switchers” who abstain from this behavior on measures known to affect cognition, including language proficiency, socioeconomic status, age, and working memory. I discuss the practical aspects of defining and successfully recruiting matched groups for an event-related potential study regarding neural differences between switchers, non-switchers, and monolinguals related to the ability to suppress interference from irrelevant information while performing cognitive tasks.

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