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Getting old in two languages: how bilingualism affects memory and ageing

Ellen Bialystok, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University, Toronto

Date/Time: 6th February 2014

The regular use of two languages has been shown to enhance aspects of cognition, leading to bilingual advantages on tasks requiring attention and shifting between tasks. But what happens when lifelong bilinguals begin to experience the changes that come with ageing?

This talk will look at studies examining cognition and memory in bilinguals as well as monolinguals in older age, and in both healthy aging and dementia.

Speaker biography

Ellen Bialystok is a Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at York University and an Associate Scientist at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Rotman Research Institute, University of Toronto.

She obtained her PhD at Toronto in 1976 specialising in cognitive and language development in children. Her current research focuses on the effects of bilingualism on language and cognition across the lifespan.

A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, her many awards include the:

  • Canadian Society for Brain Behaviour and Cognitive Science Hebb Award (2011)
  • Killam Prize for the Social Sciences (2010)
  • York University President’s Research Award of Merit (2009)
  • Donald T Stuss Award for Research Excellence at the Baycrest Geriatric Centre (2005)

Ellen has published extensively in the form of books, book chapters and scientific articles.