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Conference Information



Full Title: Bilingualism and Cognitive Aging

      
Short Title: BCA
Location: Groningen, Netherlands
Start Date: 28-Jan-2015 - 30-Jan-2015
Contact: Merel Keijzer
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Recent years have seen a host of studies on the topic of language and cognitive control in bilingualism. Featuring prominently in this now quite rich literature is the so-called cognitive control advantage; now found in abundance are studies presenting converging (and diverging) evidence that bilinguals outperform monolinguals on working memory capacity and executive functioning tasks. What has been relatively underresearched these past few years is how all of this pertains to aging bilinguals. This caveat is counterintuitive, given that one of the most notable findings that sparked the bulk of research into the cognitive advantage of bilinguals was that older bilinguals do not suffer as much from the age-related cognitive decline found in their monolinguals peers – even to the extent that the onset of degenerate diseases like dementia takes place 4 years later, on average, in bilinguals (Bialystok et al., 2004).

Perhaps now more than ever is the time to unravel the details underlying cognitive aging in bilinguals. Due to increased life expectancies and reduced birth rates, developed countries now see large numbers of older adults (Alho, 2008). As a result of international mobility, a substantial number of these elderly populations are multilingual. When zooming in on bilingualism and cognitive aging, it is important that the issue of language proficiency in both languages is addressed, which has often been overlooked in the past. Substantial individual variation is likely to characterize different groups of migrants and truly balanced bilinguals make up only a small proportion of the population of older bilinguals in any given country. Moreover, most previous work on language and cognitive aging in bilingual contexts has focused on early simultaneous bilinguals, as opposed to late sequential bilinguals that make up the bulk of migrant communities. In other words, it is important to detail the language use patterns as well as language proficiency and, crucially, language attrition patterns (both of the first and second language) of these speakers as they age, as these processes may all greatly impact on the cognitive and language control of individual bilingual older adults.

The main aim of this conference is to bring together researchers working on bilingualism and aging, both those applying behavioral and neuroimaging techniques to their data sets, and who may come from different but related fields such as psychology, linguistics or neuroscience. In a single-session format, key topics in the exciting field of language and cognitive control in older bilinguals are addressed and revisited to establish the current state-of-the-art in this field.

We are very lucky to have 5 leading, internationally renowned, plenary speakers headlining our event:

Dr. Jubin Abutalebi – University Vita-Salute San Raffaele/ University of Hong Kong
Prof. dr. Thomas Bak – University of Edinburgh
Prof. dr. Ellen Bialystok – York University
Prof. dr. Kees de Bot – University of Groningen
Prof. dr. Deborah Burke – Pomona College

Organizing Committee:

Dr. Merel Keijzer – University of Groningen
Prof.dr. Monika Schmid – University of Groningen / University of Essex
Prof. Dr. Mike Sharwood Smith – University of Edinburgh
Linguistic Subfield: Applied Linguistics; Cognitive Science; Neurolinguistics; Psycholinguistics
LL Issue: 25.2288


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