Bialystok, Craik, and Luk (2012) investigated the growing body of evidence examining the presence of a bilingual advantage in terms of enhanced executive control: the group of cognitive skills involved in language switching, working memory and inhibition. Furthermore, the researchers examined evidence supporting the notion that differences in brain structure and function helped to explain the bilingual advantage (Bialystok et al., 2012). In regards to joint activation in bilinguals, researchers found that both languages are always activated to some degree (Bialystok et al., 2012) Though this may cause language interference errors, bilinguals can select their target language with remarkable accuracy (Bialystok et al., 2012). Upon review of the literature, they found that bilinguals frequently utilized frontal systems (involved in executive control) to help manage attention to two language systems (Bialystok et al., 2012). In other words, whenever a bilingual said something, the executive control system was activated. To support this claim, fMRI research revealed that the activities in the frontal regions form neural networks in the brain that are unique to the bilingual’s experience of managing two independent language systems (Bialystok et al., 2012. In essence, the evidence supported the notion that bilinguals exercise the executive control system when they have to say something and, this over time, leads to modifications in the neural networks and anatomical structures of
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Bilingualism itself can be held responsible for increased levels of executive control and higher brain plasticity. In order to maintain a balance between two languages, the bilingual brain depends on executive functions, a monitoring system of general cognitive abilities that includes processes such as attention and inhibition. Laurent et. al 2010 aimed to determine bilingual experience enhances the development of phonological awareness. Children were exposed to early learning of a second language between the school grades 3-5 in primary school, ages ranging from 8 to 10 years old. The goal of this study was to promote the concept of “bilingual advantage” (Laurent, 2010) as researchers measured exactly how long children required second language exposure in order to influence phonological awareness. These researchers expected that after 4 years
While some may think that this is not certain studies have proven otherwise. In The Power of a Bilingual Brain, Jeffery Kluger states that, “Research is increasingly showing that the brains of people who know two or more languages….. Multilingual people, studies show, are better at reasoning, at multitasking, at grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas.”(1) Clearly, a bilingual education places students a step ahead not only in their education careers but, as well as in their daily life’s outside school. Jeffery Kluger discusses how a bilingual brain is not necessarily smarter brain, but is a more flexible and practical brain. Evidently, demonstrating to us one of the many benefits of a bilingual
“Cognitive functions can be defined as cerebral activities that lead to knowledge, encompass reasoning, memory, attention, and language that leads directly to the attainment of information and, thus, knowledge” (What are cognitive functions). Many students at Doulos are unaware of the benefits of knowing two languages. Ironically students also don’t know that their own brain and its skills are improving because of their second language. Doulos teaches classes throughout the whole day in both English and Spanish. Students are regularly changing between languages and their brain is always active with both languages. “This constant practice strengthens the control mechanisms and changes the associated brain regions” (Marian, Viorica, and Anthony Shook). People who are bilingual are capable of switching between tasks more efficiently. “For example, when bilinguals have to switch from categorizing objects by color (red or green) to categorizing them by shape, they do so more rapidly than monolingual people, reflecting better cognitive control when changing strategies on the fly” (Marian, Viorica, and Anthony Shook). Students’ cognitive and sensory process skills are more developed due to being bilingual (Marian, Viorica, and Anthony Shook). These improvements allow students to better process and understand information in different environments, thus leading to better
The ability to inhibit thoughts has effect on EF (executive functioning), and thus inhibit ability is increased in two-language children. It requires halting the thought process of one specific language. Through this, two-language children also seem to have an increased ability in focusing their attention, which could be due to the ability to inhibit outside, intrusive influence (such as their other language shining through their speech). They also can pick and choose one correct solution in a conflicting situation, again because of this inhibition practice. It is unknown what level of bilingualism is
In an article called “Being Bilingual Makes You Smarter” it states that “the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function,a command system that directs the attention processes
835 eleven year olds underwent an intelligence test in 1936 focussing on their memory, general intelligence, verbal fluency and speed of information processing abilities. The subjects were retested after turning 70 in 2008. The results proved that those with bilingual abilities scored higher for tasks involving cognitive capabilities, independent of their intelligence levels. The study suggests that there are stronger results possessed in those knowing over two languages versus only two, and that it is immaterial whether one’s second language is passively used or used frequently. This is because the brain must unconsciously select certain words and suppress unneeded linguistic material throughout every conversation which stimulates frontal executive functions of the brain and thus increases cognitive capabilities in old
Valian believes that while bilingualism is only one of the factors that may boost cognitive functioning and that data from children and young adults are currently inconclusive, a bilingual advantage seems to be present among older people. Indeed, as Valian (2014a) suggests, studying younger individuals is difficult per se because they are exposed to so many other activities that may enhance executive function. There are currently very few studies on bilingualism in the aging
According to them, bilingual children suffer on average from delays in terms of vocabulary and are disadvantaged in the language understanding and acquisitions (“The Latest”). It seems there is nothing special about bilinguals (“The Latest”). They have better cognitive abilities because language is something that we use all the time, and doing it with more than one is harder. It engages the brain in multitasking (“The Latest”).
By the emerge of globalization, being a bilingual is no longer a novelty experience any more. It is quiet normal in nowadays that people encounter bilinguals in their daily bases. There is a common sense that bilinguals should have certain abilities prior to monolinguals. Bialystok (2001) suggested that “the constant managing 2 competing languages enhance the executive function”. Moreover, her another study(Bialystok, 2004) indicated that bilingual participants also responded more rapidly to conditions that placed greater demands on working memory. In all cases the bilingual advantage was greater for older participants. These two findings imply that bilingualism have beneficial effects on the executive function and working memory.
The regular need to select a target language is argued to enhance executive control. We investigated whether this enhancement stems from a general effect of bilingualism (the representation of two languages) or from a modality constraint that forces language selection. Bimodal bilinguals can, but do not always, sign and speak at the same time. Their two languages involve distinct motor and perceptual systems, leading to weaker demands on language control. We compared the performance of 15 monolinguals, 15 bimodal bilinguals, and 15 unimodal bilinguals on a set of flanker tasks. There were no group differences in accuracy, but unimodal bilinguals were faster than the other groups; bimodal bilinguals did not differ from monolinguals. These results trace the bilingual advantage in cognitive control to the unimodal bilinguals experience controlling two languages in the same
One theme that emerges from recent research about bilingualism is that it promotes a flexible mind. Cristoffels, Hann, Steenberg, Van den Wildenberg, and Colzato (2014) explain that people who are bilingual can develop a flexible mindset because switching between languages can benefit cognitive control, which is the
Bilingualism is similar to juggling and playing video games in which it is intense and can be sustained over a long period of time like driving taxis. However, individuals who are bilingual were forced to be bilingual because of life circumstances and not because of interest. Studies have shown that the effect of bilingual education on cognition is mainly through the executive control. Bilingual individuals have an enhanced executive control and it can be seen throughout their life. Studies on this executive control has shown that bilingual individuals outperform the monolingual individuals. Behavioral studies and imaging studies have found that bilingual individuals have both languages active at all times.
A study comparing German-Italian bilinguals and Italian monolinguals conducted at University of Pompeu Fabra in Spain found that bilinguals' brains tend to operate more efficiently with less overall brain activity in tasks relating to observation of surroundings (like driving a car).
Bilingualism is becoming more and more common as countries like the United States and Canada attract large amounts of immigration. In the 2011 Census, it indicated that 21% of the U.S. population aged 5 and over were speaking a language other than English. Our brain is constantly reorganizing itself as we experience stimuli from our environment, one may also expect neural plasticity when exposed to variations in language. To obtain a more in depth look at how the cognitive process language can affect the structure of our brain, this paper will address the research question: To what extent does bilingualism affect brain structure.
As time has progressed, a new era of multiculturalism has arisen and with it has come the ability (or requirement) to learn more than one language, or in other words, becoming a bilingual or multilingual individual. However, with this new trend, controversy has arisen as to how this affects performance in terms of cognitive abilities. The purpose of this essay is to find out to how bilingualism affects cognition and whether or not the effects are positive. Cognitions is the term used to describe the process of knowing, reasoning and remembering. Many researchers have set out to solve this contentious mystery. For years, it was believed that a bilingual individual meant that one was at a disadvantage when compared to their monolingual