Document Type : original article


1 MA, Department of TEFL, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.

2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of education and psychology, University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran.


Introduction: In recent years, an abundance of research has been conducted on the effects of bilingualism, with varying conclusions.
Aim: This study was designed to assess the executive functions of the brain (working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control), metacognitive awareness, and cognitive flexibility between advanced English language learners and typical students.
Method: this applied comparative study was conducted in the academic year 2022-2023. The population included all primary school students in Tehran's districts 5 and 18 between the ages of 7 and 12 years old. Sample of the study consisted of 180 individuals, divided into two groups (90 individuals each), using the convenience sampling method. Data was collected by the use of the executive function questionnaire developed by Delis and Kaplan (2001), the metacognitive awareness questionnaire developed by Mokhtari and Richards (2002), and the cognitive flexibility test (Wisconsin card sorting) (2006). Using SPSS 24, an independent t-test was conducted on the collected data.
Results: The findings indicated that the advanced language learners outperformed the general group in all aspects of working memory, including mental flexibility and inhibitory control, general study strategy, problem-solving strategy, supportive study, and the number of correct categories. However, the general group exhibited a higher average perseveration error compared to the advanced language learners (P<0.05).
Conclusion: The superiority of bilingual students over monolingual students in executive functions, metacognitive awareness, and cognitive flexibility, can be suggestive for early planning of second language instruction in schools.


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