Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Ana I. Schwartz


The present study begins to bridge the gap between bilingual education practices and cognitive frameworks of bilingual conceptual access. A reading comprehension task was used to investigate how bilingual undergraduate students activate and develop academic information across their two languages when reading expository text. Using scientific texts, participants (N = 128) read two distinct passages pertaining to prior knowledge, as well as new, related conceptual information. At test, the participants were asked to complete true-false questions and elaborate on the reasons for their responses. A counterbalanced, mixed factorial design was used to infer how language dominance influences encoding and retrieval of expository information in bilingualsâ?? two languages. Results indicate that prior academic knowledge is better recalled in the dominant language and when the language of text and test match. Furthermore, Spanish dominant participants were better able to develop new conceptual features in their less dominant language. Importantly, Spanish dominant participantsâ?? proficiency scores indicated they were less balanced across their two languages. This difference in language proficiency may benefit the development of new information, by decreasing interference from prior knowledge acquired in their dominant language.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

51 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Karly Meillyn Schleicher

Included in

Psychology Commons