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You are here: Home / News & Events / CLS Speaker Series / CLS Speaker Series - Yan Jing Wu (Shenzhen University; University of Sheffield) Bilingualism: From Nonselective Access to Cognitive Benefits

CLS Speaker Series - Yan Jing Wu (Shenzhen University; University of Sheffield) Bilingualism: From Nonselective Access to Cognitive Benefits

When Mar 30, 2018
from 09:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Where Moore 127
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Bilingualism:  From Nonselective Access to Cognitive Benefits


In the past two decades, research on bilingualism has been advanced with two major discoveries. Nonselective access refers to the finding that bilingual individuals activate lexical representations of both languages when using one alone. Cognitive benefits of bilingualism are the observation that experiences of using two languages on a daily basis lead to advantages, as compared to monolinguals, in executive performance involving inhibitory control, task switching, and conflict resolution. In this talk, I will discuss some studies that have made unique contributions to our understanding of the characteristics in bilingual language and cognitive processing. In particular, studies on parallel language activation have often focused on the processing of interlingual stimuli (e.g., cognates) which necessarily generate a dual-language context, compromising the nonselective access claim. Our studies demonstrated that bilinguals activate translation equivalent of the unintended language even in a single-language context. Research in bilingual advantage has often compared bilinguals with their monolingual counterparts, but between-subject design is inevitably complicated with variances in participants’ background factors. Our studies showed enhanced performance of executive control in a bilingual versus monolingual context with the same group of bilingual participants.