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What bilinguals do with language that changes their minds and their brains

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Abstract

In the last two decades, there has been an upsurge of research on bilingualism recognizing that bilinguals may be more representative language users than their monolingual peers (e.g., Kroll, Dussias, Bogulski, & Valdes Kroff, 2012). The excitement about bilinguals is related not only to their neglected status in the past literature but also to a set of twin discoveries that have catapulted research on bilingualism into central view in psycholinguistics, cognitive and developmental neuroscience, and gerontology. One of these discoveries is that both languages are active when bilinguals read, listen to speech, and plan speech in either of their two languages (for a review, see Kroll et al., 2012). The other discovery is that bilingualism appears to confer a set of consequences to domain general cognition and to the neural structures that support it (e.g., Bialystok, Craik, Green, & Gollan, 2009). Those consequences are observed across the lifespan and are particularly evident when cognitive resources are challenged because of the normal or pathological trajectory of aging (e.g., Gold, Kim, Johnson, Kriscio, & Smith, 2013). The focus of the new research is on how these two discoveries might be related. The parallel activity of the two languages and the interactions across them require that the bilingual develops skill in language selection to enable fluent performance. The hypothesis that has guided the recent flurry of research is that bilingual minds and brains change as a consequence of having to regulate the two languages. In their Keynote Article, Baum and Titone provide a comprehensive and current summary of the existing evidence on this hypothesis.

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... Spre exemplu, bilingvismul înfățișează diferite forme dependent de circumstanțele în care limbile au fost învățate sau utilizate (Kroll & Fricke, 2014). Modul în care aceste circumstanțe impun anumite cerințe cognitive va determina configurarea sau reconfigurarea rețelei neuronale ce activează controlul cognitiv de-a lungul vieții persoanei bilingve (Kroll & Fricke, 2014). ...
... Spre exemplu, bilingvismul înfățișează diferite forme dependent de circumstanțele în care limbile au fost învățate sau utilizate (Kroll & Fricke, 2014). Modul în care aceste circumstanțe impun anumite cerințe cognitive va determina configurarea sau reconfigurarea rețelei neuronale ce activează controlul cognitiv de-a lungul vieții persoanei bilingve (Kroll & Fricke, 2014). Cu alte cuvinte, flexibilitatea cognitivă poate fi determinată de nevoia de adaptare a celor două limbi la cerințele mediului înconjurător, autorii sugerând abordarea bilingvismului dintr-o perspectivă a neuroplasticității (vezi și Baum & Titone, 2014). ...
Thesis
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Bilingvismul este un fenomen interdisciplinar cu consecințe importante atât asupra aspectului social, cât și a celui psihologic al unei persoane, în special în sfera cognitivă. Studiul de față propune o integrare a acestor două perspective. Se dorește explorarea bilingvismului, în interrelaționalitatea sa cu aspectul cognitiv, și anume flexibilitatea cognitivă, într-un cadru mai habitual al persoanei, ce implică răspunsuri emoționale sau comportamentale în fața situațiilor stresante. Obiectivele studiului au în vedere (1) investigarea relației dintre nivelul bilingvismului unei persoane și flexibilitatea cognitivă a acesteia, (2) dacă flexibilitatea cognitivă ridicată va conduce la o percepție scăzută a stresului și (3) dacă flexibilitatea cognitivă va media relația dintre bilingvism și percepția stresului. Bilingvismul, în lucrarea de față, va fi înțeles pe un continuum al dominanței lingvistice, datele fiind colectate pentru limba română și limba engleză. Participanții, așadar, pot avea ca limbă dominantă limba romană sau limba engleză, existând, de asemenea, și posibilitatea echilibrului între cele două. Un eșantion de 126 de respondenți, recrutat din grupurile de studiu ale unor instituții preuniversitare și universitare din București, a completat în mediul online un chestionar format din trei instrumente cu răspunsuri auto-raportate: Profilul Lingvistic de Bilingvism, Inventarul de Flexibilitate Cognitivă, Scala Stresului Perceput. Datele colectate au fost mai apoi analizate în programul SPSS și PROCESS. Rezultatele nu au arătat niciun efect indirect semnificativ între bilingvism și percepția stresului, în contextul medierii prin flexibilitatea cognitivă (efect indirect= .004, SE=.012, CI=[- .020;.027], 0 fiind cuprins în intervalul de încredere). De altfel, singurul efect semnificativ s-a dovedit a fi cel al flexibilității cognitive asupra percepției stresului. Restrângerea ulterioară a eșantionului doar pentru acea secțiune ce a obținut un scor între -50 și 50, reprezentând un lot mai echilibrat al bilingvismului, a condus la același tip de rezultate. Literatura de specialitate ce vizează studiul bilingvismului este caracterizată, la ora actuală, de o ambiguitate în ceea ce privește adevăratele avantaje cognitive ale acestuia. Ca direcții viitoare de cercetare se recomandă continuarea investigării bilingvismului în România și pentru alte perechi lingvistice și identificarea implicațiilor acestora atât la nivel psihologic, cognitiv, cât și social. Recomandată este și utilizarea unor probe experimentale pentru studierea flexibilității cognitive, în ciuda inventarelor de tip auto-raportare. Un control suplimentar asupra eșantionului este necesar.
... Indeed, it was Grosjean (1989) with his denial of the definition of bilingual as two monolinguals in one person, who triggered the series of actions that lead to understanding language attrition as a sole phenomenon that occurs as a result of the joint existence and the continuous interaction of two or more languages. As a result, many scholars (Cook, 2003;Grosjean, 2016;Kroll & Fricke, 2014;Yılmaz & Schmid, 2018, among others) have argued that L1 attrition is an expected and reasonable phenomenon in multilinguals. Indeed, individuals that are able to communicate in more than one language have a linguistic supersystem (Cook, 2003) that shows the reciprocal influence between languages. ...
... Indeed, it was Grosjean (1989) with his denial of the definition of bilingual as two monolinguals in one person, who triggered the series of actions that lead to understanding language attrition as a sole phenomenon that occurs as a result of the joint existence and the continuous interaction of two or more languages. As a result, many scholars (Cook, 2003;Grosjean, 2016;Kroll & Fricke, 2014;Yılmaz & Schmid, 2018, among others) have argued that L1 attrition is an expected and reasonable phenomenon in multilinguals. Indeed, individuals that are able to communicate in more than one language have a linguistic supersystem (Cook, 2003) that shows the reciprocal influence between languages. ...
... The bilingual advantage is hypothesized to arise from bilinguals' regulation of their two languages. The particular aspects of bilingual experience conferring a cognitive advantage are however not yet fully understood (Kroll & Fricke, 2014). Code-switching is likely to be a significant factor (Green & Abutalebi, 2013;Prior & Gollan, 2011), itself influenced by a number of other dimensions of the bilingual experience (Green, 2014;Genesee, 2014). ...
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