Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Gabriel Cook

Reader 2

Tessa Soloman- Lane

OCLC Record Number



In the past, research around bilingualism suggested bilinguals might be at a cognitive disadvantage, but recent research has suggested the opposite; that bilinguals have a cognitive advantage over monolinguals. One field of research assessing these differences measures auditory brainstem responses to understand how the brain is encoding sound. Auditory brainstem responses to complex sounds (cABRs) can show us how consistently a participant responds to a particular stimulus, such as /da/. Along with measuring cABRs, the present study aimed to assess differences in working memory as working memory is known to be an important factor in second language acquisition. English- speaking monolingual participants were divided into two groups, low working memory versus high working memory, and their cABRs were measured over four years as they learned Spanish. The results showed that those with high working memory improved their cABRs more over time than low working memory monolinguals, indicating a cognitive advantage for those with high working memory and an ability for any monolingual to improve their neural consistency in processing sound as they are acquiring a second language.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.