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Language/ Cognition in the Bilingual Brain

How Language and Cognition Come Together in the Developing Bilingual Brain

Maria M. Arredondo, PhD
Infant Studies Centre
University of British Columbia
Early life experiences impact children’s cognition and brain development. In this talk, I propose that bilingualism provides children with experiences that alter how the brain is functionally organized. The work uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure brain activity during attentional control tasks in bilingual and monolingual school-age children and infants. I demonstrate that the brain regions necessary for language processing interact with, and re-organize, attentional mechanisms in the bilingual brain, and that these changes derive from dual-language experiences. To conclude, I outline how these changes may be driven from social interactions, and how they may support socio-emotional development and academic success.
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