This thought-provoking monograph makes a multidisciplinary case for bilingualism as a possible enhancer of executive function, particularly cognitive control. Its central focus is the cognitive operations of the bilingual brain in processing two languages and whether they afford the brain a greater edge on neuroplasticity-in short, a cognitive advantage. Major issues and controversies in the debate are analyzed from cognitive neuroscience, psycholinguistic, and integrative perspectives, with attention paid to commonly and rarely studied domains at work in bilingual processing. The author also pinpoints future areas for improved research such as recognizing the diversity of bilingualism, not simply in languages spoken but also in social context, as seen among immigrants and refugees.
Included in the coverage:
- The evolution of bilingualism.
- What goes on in a bilingual mind? The core cognitive mechanisms.
- Cognitive advantage of bilingualism and its criticisms.
- Neuroscience of bilingualism.
- Bilingualism, context, and control.
- Attention, vision, and control in bilinguals.
With its cogent takes on ongoing questions and emerging issues, Bilingualism and Cognitive Control is of immediate interest to bilingual researchers and practitioners interested in understanding the behavioral aspects and neurobiology of bilingualism and the dynamic character of the bilingual/multilingual/second language learner's mind, as well as the growing number of advanced undergraduate and graduate students interested in the psychology/psycholinguistics of bilingualism, bilingual cognitive psychology, cognitive science, and cognitive neuroscience.
Ramesh Kumar Mishra is a cognitive scientist and chair of the Center for Neural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Hyderabad, a major research university of India. He has published widely in the areas of attention, visual processing, bilingualism and language processing. He has also published on literacy and its influence on cognition. He has edited or authored three books (Mishra, 2015; Mishra, Huettig, & Srinivasan, 2015; Mishra & Srinivasan, 2011) so far in the area of language-vision interaction. He is also an editorial board member of Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. His dual expertise in cognitive psychology (attention, vision and executive control) and psycholinguistics of bilingualism (language non-selective activation, visual world eye tracking) helps him to explore in-depth the cognitive science angle to the bilingual advantage effect. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science (Springer) and is a fellow of the Psychonomic Society.
Chapter 1. Introduction
This chapter will introduce the main theoretical and conceptual structure of the book and will offer a summary of the different chapters that follow. This chapter will introduce the reader to the main theme of the book and the various issues that are addressed. This chapter will also present the main theory of the book which will be fleshed out later.
Chapter 2. How the brain becomes bilingual: Evolution, adaptation and sustenance
This chapter will deal with the evolution of bilingualism in human language use from anthropological, neuroscience and cognitive perspectives. The chapter will show that during evolution and migration the brain adopted bilingualism for economic, cultural as well as cognitive reasons. The chapter will also discuss theories and facts related to language evolution from an evolutionary psychological perspective. The main purpose will be to show that current links between the practice of widespread bilingualism in different cultures and its cognitive consequences on the brain functions have evolutionary advantages.
Chapter 3. The psycholinguistic basis of bilingualism
This chapter will flesh out the various important psycholinguistic facts pertaining to bilingual language use to show that the extent and duration of language use leads to noticeable changes in other cognitive abilities. Data from both children and adult bilingualism will be discussed pertaining to the links between language switching and cognitive underpinnings.
Chapter 4. The multimodal basis of bilingual cognition
Recent evidence suggests that both linguistic and non-linguistic information interact dynamically to produce cognition. This chapter will present and discuss findings that indicate that bilinguals use both verbal and visual cues to process languages and participate in communication.
Chapter 5. Action control and cognition: The role of bilingualism
This chapter will defend the thesis that language use is primarily a work of cognitive action that humans constantly exert on their environment to produce successful cognition. For bilinguals, this is more complex since they have to tackle duality often and reduce conflict. The chapter will discuss important theories of attention and executive control that have influenced discussion on bilingualism and cognitive control. The chapter will approach the cognitive architecture of bilingual language use from the point of theories of action control. Both behavioral and neuroscience data will be presented. The chapter will show that both the psychological and psycholinguistic nature of action control influences the executive control system of the brain significantly and which in turn is manifested differently for monolinguals and bilinguals
Chapter 6: Tasks, theories, interpretations and controversies: The case of bilingual cognitive advantage
This chapter will offer a comprehensive account of different current theories and proposals on the possible influences of bilingualism on cognitive control. The chapter will discuss different tasks and methods that researchers have used to study both the psycholinguistic and cognitive aspects of bilingual language control and controversies. The chapter will show that observed advantages or null results on the issue of bilingual cognitive advantage is largely task dependent and is influenced by factors pertaining to individual cognitive profiles. This chapter will also deal with the various sides of the current controversies that relate to replication issues and issues related to factors that have not been controlled by researchers. The chapter will look into the issue of linguistic and cultural differences between bilingual samples that have been compared.
Chapter 7: The linguistic and non-linguistic interface in bilinguals
The chapter will try to show that psycholinguistic findings on bilingual language use itself show different aspects of cognitive control mechanisms. The chapter will discuss different important models of bilingual language processing and how these models assume cognitive control. Much current research shows that bilingual parallel language activation is constrained by inhibitory control and monitoring. The chapter will provide evidence for the theory that bilingual language processing strategies themselves demonstrate the complex nature of attention control independent of their performance on non-linguistic attention and executive control tasks.
Chapter 8: The neural basis of bilingual executive control
The chapter will show that although there have been some replication failures of behavioral tasks that map bilingual cognitive control, much cognitive neuroscience work with different neuroimaging tools show that bilingual brains control action and attention differently. The chapter will present such neural evidence with regard to different tasks used and different bilingual population to demonstrate how the bilingual brain handles duality.
Chapter 9: Bilingual cognitive control: Embodiment and contextual influences
Since bilingual communication is embedded within a linguistic and cultural environment, contextual influences modulate how bilinguals manage their two languages which in turn influence executive control. This chapter will explore more of this aspect and will show that depending on the socio-linguistic and cultural environment executive control is modulated in bilinguals. Current analysis of bilingual cognitive advantage does not consider interpretations from embodied cognition as far as contextual influences matter.
Chapter 10: Conclusion
This final chapter will summarize the themes discussed in all the other chapters and will attempt to provide a holistic overview of current knowledge and future research.