York U Scholars Hub at Markham Public Library Speakers Series
Markham Public Library and York University invite you to the Scholars Hub Speaker Series. The partnershipbrings some of York’s top academic minds to York Region.
The series features talks and expertise from professionals in the Faculty of Health with subject matter around brain health.
COST: FREE BUT PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.
Space for each talk is limited. Refreshments are provided.
Nov. 8, 2018 |Bilingualism Across the Lifespan: How Minds Accommodate Experience
Ellen Bialystok (Distinguished Research Professor, Faculty of Health)
All our experiences contribute to the way our minds and brains develop, but intense experiences have a special role in shaping our cognitive systems. As humans, no experience is more intense or pervasive than our use of language, so a lifetime of learning and using (at least) two languages has the potential to leave a profound mark on human cognition. A large body of research conducted with people at all stages in the lifespan, from infancy to old age, shows that the experience of being actively bilingual reshapes the mind and brain. Research with infants and children shows more precocious development of essential cognitive processes for bilinguals. The most dramatic findings, however, are found in older age where bilingualism protects cognitive function in healthy aging and postpones symptoms of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. This talk will review the evidence from these studies and propose an explanation for how exposure to and use of two languages leads to these cognitive and brain consequences.
This unique partnership is part of York University’s goals for community engagement and reputation-building, with a unique collaboration that invites alumni, students and their families, and the public to engage in meaningful talks and discussions.