Bilingualism Reveals the Networks that Shape the Mind and Brain
Thursday, November 14 | 8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Judith F. Kroll
The use of two or more languages is common in most places in the world. Yet, until recently, bilingualism was considered to be a complicating factor for language processing, cognition, and the brain. In the past 20 years, there has been an upsurge of research that examines the cognitive and neural bases of second language learning and bilingualism and the resulting consequences for cognition and for brain structure and function over the lifespan. Contrary to the view that bilingualism adds complication to the language system, the new research demonstrates that all languages that are known and used become part of the same language system. A critical insight is that bilingualism provides a tool for examining aspects of the cognitive architecture that are otherwise obscured by the skill associated with native language performance in monolingual speakers. In this talk I illustrate this approach and consider the consequences that bilingualism holds more generally for society when language learning and active bilingualism are encouraged.
Judith F. Kroll is currently Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside and the former director of the Center for Language Science at Pennsylvania State University. She held faculty positions at Swarthmore College, Rutgers University, Mount Holyoke College, and Penn State University before joining the faculty at UC Riverside in 2016. Her research uses the tools of cognitive neuroscience to examine the way that bilinguals juggle the presence of two languages in one mind and brain (https://bilingualismmindbrain.com/). Her work, supported by grants from NSF and NIH, shows that bilingualism provides a tool for revealing the interplay between language and cognition that is otherwise obscure in speakers of one language alone. She is a Fellow of the AAAS, the APA, the APS, the Psychonomic Society, and the Society of Experimental Psychologists. She was the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and is currently the chair-elect of Section Z (Linguistics & Language Science) of the AAAS. 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 Penn State colleagues, she was the PI on a 2010 NSF PIRE (Partnerships for International Research and Education) grant to develop an international research network and program of training to enable language scientists at all levels to pursue research abroad on the science of bilingualism (http://www.psu.edu/dept/cls/pire/) and on a 2015 PIRE grant to translate the science of bilingualism to learning environments in the US and abroad. She deeply appreciates the support and collaboration of her students and former students and many colleagues in the US and abroad.
View a list of past keynote speakers.