EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship


Mouse Tracking Reveals that Bilinguals Behave like Experts

Author ORCID Identifier

Sara InceraORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-9124-9204



Document Type


Publication Date



We used mouse tracking to compare the performance of bilinguals and monolinguals in a Stroop task. Participants were instructed to respond to the color of the words (e.g., blue in yellow font) by clicking on response options on the screen. We recorded participants’ movements of a computer mouse: when participants started moving (initiation times), and how fast they moved towards the correct response (x-coordinates over time). Interestingly, initiation times were longer for bilinguals than monolinguals. Nevertheless, when comparing mouse trajectories, bilinguals moved faster towards the correct response. Taken together, these results indicate that bilinguals behave qualitatively differently from monolinguals; bilinguals are “experts” at managing conflicting information. Experts across many different domains take longer to initiate a response, but then they outperform novices. These qualitative differences in performance could be at the root of apparently contradictory findings in the bilingual literature.

Journal Title

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

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