Icon for: Susan Teubner-Rhodes

SUSAN TEUBNER-RHODES

University of Maryland at College Park
Years in Grad School: 4

Judges’ Queries and Presenter’s Replies

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Presentation Discussion
  • Icon for: Debra Bernstein

    Debra Bernstein

    Associate
    May 22, 2012 | 11:46 a.m.

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for sharing – I really enjoyed your poster and video.

    In your poster, you found an advantage for Spanish-Catalan bilinguals with respect to a cognitive control task. Is there a reason you chose these 2 languages for this task? Would you predict the same result with any 2 languages, or do you think the specific languages make a difference?

    Thanks,
    Debra

  • May 22, 2012 | 12:21 p.m.

    Hi Debra,
    That’s a great question! One reason I chose to examine the cognitive control abilities of Spanish-Catalan bilinguals, as opposed other bilinguals, is because the Spanish-Catalan community in Barcelona is one of the few in which both languages are learned from an early age and used on a daily basis. As such, Spanish-Catalan bilinguals will have a greater need to monitor for language switches and control their language use (e.g., flexibly suppress and reactivate a language), than bilinguals in an environment that primarily uses one language. It is thought that these language switches act as a sort of cognitive training and are thus responsible for the observed bilingual advantage in cognitive control.
    Advantages in cognitive control have been found for other types of bilinguals (for example, French-English bilinguals), so I do not think that our results are specific to Spanish-Catalan bilinguals. However, the bilingual advantage may be specific to the type of bilingual experience; for instance, it might only be observed in early bilinguals, whose bilingual experience might shape the early neural development of pre-frontal brain regions that are involved in cognitive control, or in code-switching bilinguals, who switch between their languages on a daily basis. Further research needs to be conducted to determine the extent to which different bilingual language experiences influence cognitive abilities.
    Thanks!
    ~Susan

  • Icon for: Debra Bernstein

    Debra Bernstein

    Associate
    May 23, 2012 | 03:00 p.m.

    From what you’ve said, it seems that your subject population was a good choice. Thanks very much, Susan!

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