BILINGUAL BRAIN TRAINING:
Investigating the Neural Overlap between Language & Executive Processes
Chantel S. Prat, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences
University of Washington
Friday, JANUARY 18th, 2013
3:30PM, IN CD 150
Language comprehension is a complex process, requiring the synthesis of specific linguistic skills and more general cognitive abilities (e.g., working memory). Thus, it is not surprising that language abilities vary widely even in the college population, and that language and general cognitive abilities co-vary. Although it has been widely accepted that improvements in general cognitive abilities enable (or give rise to) increased linguistic skills, the fact that individuals who develop bilingually outperform monolinguals in tasks that measure executive functions provides evidence of a situation in which enriched language experience gives rise to improvements in general cognitive processes. In this talk, I will describe how my previous line of research investigating individual differences in working memory and reading ability in monolinguals converges with new research investigating the neural basis of improved executive functioning in bilinguals, to suggest that the functioning of a neural mechanism shared by language and other complex cognitive processes can explain the relation between language and non-linguistic executive functioning in both populations.
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