ILA lectures will take place on Zoom in 2022. We have an amazing line-up of speakers.


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February 5, 2022

Toward an Integrated Framework for Studying the Relationship between Bilingual Language Experience and Cognitive Reserve


Dr. Laura Spinu
Kingsborough Community College, CUNY

Time: Saturday, February 5, 2022 11 AM -12 PM (EST)
Zoom Link: https://bmcc-cuny.zoom.us/j/87660063345

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Meeting ID: 87660063345
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Numerous articles in popular media exalt the benefits of bilingualism, among which its positive effects on cognitive reserve, the mind’s resistance to damage of the brain (Bialystok et al. 2012, 2014). From a scientific perspective, however, this is not nearly a certainty. On the one hand, we have not teased apart the effects of linguistic and non-linguistic ways of enhancing cognitive reserve, the latter including playing musical instruments or advanced math skills (Calvo et al. 2016). On the other hand, while the connection between language experience and higher-level cognitive functions, also known as executive functions, has been under close scrutiny for decades, the effects of language on lower-level, sensorimotor functions, which are also connected to cognitive reserve, remain understudied (Spinu et al. 2018, 2020). Furthermore, we have not implemented ways of objectively quantifying bilingual knowledge, which researchers claim has led to a massive replication crisis in the field, particularly in areas concerning the posited - yet highly controversial - existence of a bilingual cognitive advantage (Marzecova 2015, DeLuca et al. 2019). It is not unusual to find words such as “need”, “plea”, “appeal”, “call”, or “quest” among recent titles (de Bruin 2019, de Bruin et al. 2021, Marian & Hayakawa 2021, Poarch & Krott 2019). All of these articles, among others, recognize the critical need for innovative approaches. A complete picture of how language affects cognitive reserve cannot be obtained unless these issues are addressed. In this talk, I propose an integrated framework for studying the relationship between bilingual language experience and cognitive reserve by addressing the methodological and theoretical gaps outlined above, and I present the results of experimental work I have conducted recently in this direction.

Monthly Lectures 2022


Date Title Speaker (Affiliation)
Feb 5 Toward an Integrated Framework for Studying the Relationship between Bilingual Language Experience and Cognitive Reserve Dr. Laura Spinu (Kingsborough Community College, CUNY)
Mar 5 TBA Dr. Renée Blake (Linguistics and Social & Cultural Analysis, NYU)
May 7 Proto-Basque and the Single Sibilant Hypothesis: Evidence, reassessment, and implications Dr. Juliette Blevins (CUNY Graduate Center)