Lifespan Development Connecting Research and Life: Does Bilingualism Improve Brain Functioning?
Cognitive neuroscience researchers of the recent decade frequently address the relationship between bilingual lifespan development and brain functionality. The majority of academic dispute in this field is focused over the statement on bilingual individuals to outperform their monolingual counterparts on non-linguistic executive functions, referring to the various periods of lifespan development (Stocco & Prat, 2014).
This statement refers to some broader conclusions on the subject, including that human cognition and brain are positively shaped by the language experience, promoting the enhancement of cognitive abilities through language acquisition. More specifically, scholars discuss the positive impact of early second language acquisition for brain functionality through adulthood, as well as additional benefits for episodic memory development among older adults (Schroeder & Marian, 2012). However, some studies like the one by Kroll (2015) pose less confidence in evidence provided, calling for more thorough and complex problem analysis.It is reasonable to assess this problem from the theoretical perspective of human development theory, namely, its cognitive and physical domains.
While language acquisition refers to one of the directions of change in mental activity, or cognitive change, brain development is purely physical. Consequently, the dispute around the nature of bilingualism leads to an assumption that, from theoretical perspective of human development, cognitive development favorably influences some of physical capabilities of individual. However, at this point it is not clear how exactly this impact is observed at different lifespan stages. The hypothesis will be further validated through a review of several publications on the subject, and their application on the stages of human development, so that a lifespan development change could be tracked and analyzed. The paper will conclude with a summary of investigations and outline of the possible future direction of the research.
Bilingualism and Brain Functionality.
Bilingualism is defined as an ability to use two or more languages with equal or a nearly equal fluency. Bilinguals are also differentiated based on the age they started second language acquisition, which defines them as early bilinguals or late bilinguals. Nowadays, it is generally believed that almost half of the world population is bilingual, with the majority of bilinguals residing in urban areas, as well as across countries that utilize several spoken languages, like in Canada or countries of European Union (Bialystok et al., 2012). Bilingual preferences, however, have not always been accepted by social world favorably based on child development example, as in general, parents have been assured that such experience could be confusing. The majority of concerns voiced again bilingualism among children referred to lower intelligence, split personalities, feeling caught by two cultures and the need to translate from weaker to stronger language. These myths were mostly based on purely designed researches in the field, with a major flaw of using immigrant children affected by more stressful life situations and initially poorer knowledge of English, since studies were most conducted in United States. A foundational research by Pear and Lambert (1962) …