Prominent expert to speak on how bilingualism benefits the mind

November 10, 2011

The Center for Language Science at Penn State will host distinguished research professor of psychology, Ellen Bialystok, from York University in Toronto, Canada, who will speak on "Reshaping the Mind: The Benefits of Bilingualism" from 4-5:30 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2011 in the Berg Auditorium at the Life Sciences Building on Penn State's University Park campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Bialystok is a leading researcher on the consequences of bilingualism for the mind and the brain.  In a large number of recent and highly influential papers, she and her colleagues have demonstrated that bilingualism confers a set of benefits to the elderly in just the domain of cognitive control that is most vulnerable to decline in aging. Not only do elderly bilinguals appear to outperform their monolingual counterparts on measures of cognitive control, but her research goes so far as to show that bilingualism appears to offer a degree of protection against the onset of symptoms associated with Alzheimer's-type dementia.

The Center for Language Science comprises faculty from the Colleges of the Liberal Arts and Health and Human Development who are conducting prominent research on the cognitive basis of bilingualism and second language learning.  Bialystok's public talk is part of the Distinguished Language Science Colloquium being held at Penn State. Support also has been provided by the following Penn State units: Social Science Research Institute; Center for Social, Life and Engineering Sciences Imaging Center; Clinical and Translation Science Institute; Institute of the Neurosciences; and the departments of psychology; Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese; German and Slavic languages and literatures; and communication sciences and disorders.

For additional information contact Center director Judith Kroll ( or visit

  • Ellen Bialystok

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 09, 2015