How does learning two languages positively impact cognitive development?


Ashley Chung-Fat-Yim is a PhD student in the Developmental Sciences program at York University under the supervision of Dr. Ellen Bialystok. Her research combines eye-tracking and mouse-tracking to uncover potential differences in strategies employed by monolinguals and bilinguals when performing tasks requiring attentional control.


Language is one of the most intense and pervasive activities that we engage in on a daily basis. Therefore, a lifetime of learning and using two languages, by routinely switching and managing attention across languages, has helped to reshape the brains of bilinguals. A large body of research has shown that bilinguals perform better on tasks demanding controlled or selective attention. The present talk will provide an overview on the role of bilingualism in the development of attentional control, with a focus on infancy, childhood, adolescence. The talk will conclude by discussing relatively recent research on dual-language programs, french immersion programs, and their impact on various cognitive outcomes.