CLS Speaker Event: The annual Young Language Science Scholar Series - Rachel Wu (UC Riverside) A new framework for lifespan cognitive development: Implications for language learning
Feb 19, 2016
from 09:00 AM to 10:30 AM
|Where||127 Moore Building|
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A new framework for lifespan cognitive development: Implications for language learning
This talk will present a novel theoretical framework (CALLA – Cognitive Agility across the Lifespan via Learning and Attention) that merges research from cognitive development and cognitive aging (two largely distinct research areas). The purpose of this framework is to better understand the role of cognitive and environmental factors in the etiology and course of healthy cognitive aging. In particular, cognitive development sacrifices short-term efficiency in favor of long-term adaption to novel situations. By contrast, cognitive aging allows for specialization in familiar environments, perhaps leading to premature decline in cognitive abilities in novel and eventually familiar situations. By examining cognitive and environmental factors (in addition to genetically-encoded factors) across the lifespan, we can identify potential “triggers” and “brakes” for the cognitive development and aging processes (c.f. Werker & Hensch, 2015). These “triggers” and “brakes” are essential in theories on critical and sensitive periods, which have implications on learning potential across the lifespan. CALLA promotes known cognitive development factors (e.g., open-minded learning, immersion, and scaffolding) to improve future cognitive training regimes for aging adults and provides a unifying approach for understanding the mechanisms underlying cognitive training effects in older adults. The goal of this research is to determine the optimal methods for inducing long- term cognitive development to delay the onset of cognitive decline in aging adults. I will discuss the implications of this theoretical framework in relation to language learning across the lifespan.