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SBE Distinguished Lecture Series: Two languages in mind

About this event

NSF Distinguished Lecture Series in Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

Wednesday, September 17, 1:00pm, Room 110

Dr. Judith F. Kroll

Pennsylvania State University

"Two languages in mind: The consequences of bilingualism for the mind and the brain"

There is a great deal of mythology about bilingualism.  Some people worry that children exposed to more than one language early in life will become confused and never become a fluent speaker of either language.  Others think that mixing two languages produces confusion and indicates underlying pathology.  Current research shows that these beliefs are simply wrong.  Using two languages actively has positive consequences for the mind and brain that go beyond language use to affect cognition more generally. The continual availability of both languages requires the bilingual to become a mental juggler, learning to negotiate the competition arising from the language not in use to selectively focus on the intended language. Bilingualism changes language use in ways that create an openness to new language learning and that sharpen a bilingual's ability to solve cognitive conflict. In this talk I review research on bilingual language processing and the consequences of bilingualism for the mind and brain.

Judith F. Kroll is Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Linguistics, and Women's Studies and Director of the Center for Language Science at Pennsylvania State University, where she has taught since 1994. She is a Fellow of the AAAS, the APA, the APS, the Psychonomic Society, and the Society of Experimental Psychologists. She was one of the founding editors of the journal Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (Cambridge University Press), and one of the founding organizers of Women in Cognitive Science, a group developed to promote the advancement of women in the cognitive sciences and supported by NSF (http://womenincogsci.org/). With Paola Dussias and Janet van Hell, she is PI on a PIRE grant (Partnerships for International Research and Education) from NSF to develop an international research network and program of training to enable language scientists at all levels (undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral) to pursue research abroad on the science of bilingualism (http://cls.psu.edu/PIRE).


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