Q&A: How language learning affects the brain

Ellen Bialystok is Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at York University, Toronto, and a leading researcher on the cognitive effects of bilingualism

The World Today Published 3 December 2014 Updated 19 February 2021 3 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

Your research focuses on the effects on the brain of speaking languages. Is there an advantage to being bilingual?
There are certain kinds of cognitive processes that are clearly different in bilinguals. For the most part, these differences add up to an advantage, but we have to keep in mind that there’s no difference in intelligence or the ability to learn things. But there are clear differences in how bilinguals process certain kinds of information.

What are these?

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