Symposium: Bilingualism and Cognition (BaC)
September 5th, 2019
Registration fee: 800 roubles (10 euro)
Payment link: HERE
Symposium-related questions can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Notifications of acceptance: June 1st
The symposium is a part of 25th AMLaP meeting. It will take place in Moscow on September 5th. It will be dedicated to the different aspects of research of bilingualism, from theoretical, behavioural and neuroimaging perspectives, laying out an interdisciplinary approach to this multifaceted problem that is becoming more and more relevant in the modern multilingual world.
Our symposium is dedicated to the memory of professor Albert Costa, who did so much for the research in bilingualism and left us too early.
How Bilingualism Changes Linguistic, Cognitive, and Neural Processing
Viorica Marian, PhD, Northwestern University
Dr. Viorica Marian is a psycholinguist and cognitive scientist, and the Sundin Endowed Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University in Chicago, USA. She received her PhD from Cornell University working with Professor Ulric Neisser, widely regarded as the father of Cognitive Psychology. Since 2000, Professor Marian directs the Bilingualism and Psycholinguistics Laboratory. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and receives extensive press coverage (http://bilingualism.northwestern.edu/).
The majority of the world population is bilingual or multilingual. In this talk, I will discuss how learning another language changes the human linguistic, cognitive and neural architectures. I will show that a bilingual's two languages constantly interact and influence each other. Bilinguals’ experience managing two languages sculpts the brain and translates to changes not only in the domain of language (such as language learning and processing), but also in other domains (such as executive function, visual search, and audio-visual integration). Using eye-tracking, mouse-tracking, EEG, and fMRI data, I will show that the highly interactive and dynamic nature of bilingual language processing results in profound changes to cognition and the brain.
Beyond Group Comparisons: Understanding Bilingualism And Its Role In Development And Learning
Gigi Luk, PhD, McGill University
Gigi Luk's research on the cognitive and neural consequences of bilingualism extends across the lifespan. She leads a research program that examines how diverse language experiences shapes development and learning. Using neuroimaging and behavioral methods, Luk studies bilingualism as an interactional experience that shapes cognition. In addition to investigating the science of bilingualism, Luk has examined how to harness scientific findings on bilingualism to improve educational experience for children from diverse language backgrounds. In particular, she has established a research program investigating: (1) effective ways to examine bilingualism and learning; (2) how bilingualism and executive functions interact to influence literacy outcomes; and (3) brain mechanisms underlying learning new information in children and adults. Luk obtained her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from York University, Canada in 2008. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rotman Research Institute at the Baycrest Center before joining the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011. In January 2019, she joined the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill.
Research on bilingualism and cognition has adopted group comparisons between bilingual and monolingual individuals. This knowledge has contributed to identifying behavioral differences in language and cognition. While group comparisons are elegant and efficient, it is not sufficient to understand the experiential complexity involved in bilingualism and how this developmental process shapes learning. Given bilingualism is becoming a prevalent global phenomenon, innovative approaches are needed to evaluate the developmental and learning outcomes of bilingualism, an interactive experience between an individual and her language environment. Examining bilingualism as an interactional experience poses an opportunity to conduct translational research that informs learning and educational practices. The study of bilingualism will benefit from transdisciplinary efforts and connection to real life implications. In this talk, I will share a research program that is designed to address an educational challenge by examining the neural and cognitive mechanisms supporting learning through spoken language in adolescents.
Neuroanatomical perspectives on bilingualism and language experience
Jubin Abutalebi, MD (Milan), PhD (Hong Kong)
Jubin Abutalebi is a cognitive neurologist and Professor of Neuropsychology at the Faculty of Psychology of the University San Raffaele and Scientific Institute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy. He has applied successfully functional and structural neuroimaging methods to the study of language representation, language acquisition and cognitive functions in populations of bilinguals. The results of his landmark researches on bilinguals have been published in the main international neuropsychological, neuroimaging and neurosciences journals. His research has contributed to enlighten the cerebral basis of language control in bilinguals.
Jubin Abutalebi is the editor-in-chief of the prestigious international journal “Bilingualism: Language and Cognition” (Cambridge University Press).
In the last two decades there has been an upsurge of research on the bilingual mind and brain. Although the world is multilingual, only recently have cognitive and language scientists come to see that the use of two or more languages provides a unique lens to examine the neural plasticity engaged by language experience. But how? Bilinguals proficient in two languages appear to speak with ease in each language and often switch between the two languages, sometimes in the middle of a sentence. This uniquely bilingual ability necessitates efficient control resources in order to avoid unwanted interferences from the unrequested language. During my talk, I will first outline the neural bases of control that enable individuals to speak each of their two or more languages and will then focus on the consequences that these control mechanisms might hold more generally upon the brain. Evidences for structural and functional changes in the brains of young and older subjects who use two or more languages across their entire lives will be considered. I will also show how eventually individual neuroanatomical differences between subjects ma be responsible for behavioral and cognitive differences. Finally, I will assess the broader implications for what bilingualism tells us about life experience and brain plasticity in general.
Development of shared syntax: results from artificial language learning
Rob Hartsuiker, Merel Muylle, & Sarah Bernolet
When bilinguals process a sentence in one language, they tend to reuse the same sentence structure when producing another sentence in their other language. Such cross-linguistic structural priming is larger in more proficient bilinguals (Bernolet et al., 2013), suggesting a developmental trajectory from specific syntactic representations for each language to more abstract representations that are shared across languages (Hartsuiker & Bernolet, 2017). We report a series of studies that tested this account. In these experiments, participants learn an artificial language (AL) in the lab, allowing us to exert full control over the characteristics of that language, the participants' prior knowledge of the language, and the characteristics of the learning situation. A first study, using an AL with similar syntax to Dutch, demonstrated that participants can quickly learn to formulate and comprehend a number of sentences in the artificial language (i.e., within one testing session), and that they show structural priming within the artificial language and between a natural language (Dutch) and the artificial language from the first day of testing onwards. Cross-linguistic structural priming emerged earlier for transitives than for ditransitives. Study 2 varied AL syntax: one version resembled Dutch (SVO order in the main clause, no case marking), one version had a different word order (SOV), and one had case marking. There was cross-linguistic priming between Dutch and each AL, suggesting that syntactic sharing involves representations that are abstract across important variations in form. Study 3, currently in progress, tests whether the presence of AL syntactic alternatives that are more (SVO) and less (SOV) similar to Dutch, prevents syntactic sharing (and hence cross-linguistic priming) between the less similar structure and Dutch. I will discuss the implications of these findings for our developmental account and if time permits sketch a new research line that investigates second-language syntactic development under ecological valid circumstances (i.e., in recently arrived immigrants).