A short while back, Ping Li, professor of psychology and linguistics at Penn State, answered a first series of questions on the bilingual brain (see here). We can now continue the interview, and are grateful to him for the time he has devoted to our questions.
Could we go back to the bilingual experience and the impact it has on neuroplasticity, that is how it can lead to functional and physical changes in the brain?
Yes, another unique aspect of how the bilingual experience impacts the brain is related to the fact that bilingual speakers often have to change the language they are using and have to monitor this, not to mention intertwining their languages in the form of code-switches and borrowings. These processes, it has been suggested, result in positive brain changes in the frontal and subcortical brain regions (due to inhibition of the unwanted language(s)) and in the anterior cingulate cortex (due to monitoring). Continue reading What is different in the bilingual brain? Part II→
Research on the bilingual brain has gone through several stages over the years: the study of aphasic polyglots, experimental work on language lateralization in bilinguals, and now brain imaging studies that examine language processing and neural structures and connections between them. One of the leading researchers in this field is Ping Li, professor of psychology and linguistics at Penn State. He works on the neural and computational bases of language representation and learning and has kindly accepted to answer a few of our questions. We wish to thank him wholeheartedly.
Before addressing the issue of what is different in the bilingual brain, as compared to the monolingual brain, can you quickly go through what is clearly similar?
It may be helpful to say at the outset that we are talking about the human brain, bilingual or not, which is the only brain that can learn and use complex natural languages for communication. No brain of any other species on our planet has language like ours, despite claims that other animals may also have sophisticated communication systems. Continue reading What is different in the bilingual brain?→
Editor’s note: The following article originally appeared on The Conversation on July 2, 2015. The fourth season of Orange is the New Black was released on Friday, June 17, 2016.
The inmates of Litchfield Penitentiary, the fictional setting for the Netflix TV series Orange is the New Black, are not shy women.
They’ve landed in prison for murder, fraud, stalking, drug-smuggling, theft, and political activism. They do illegal activities behind the officers’ backs. They make their opinions known loud and clear to one another. And they’re not opposed to throwing a few punches, if duty calls.
But all will cease if you threaten to send them to the SHU. Why?
Many contact sports leagues — from junior high and high school sports teams to the NFL — require their athletes to undergo baseline testing before the season begins. Establishing a baseline is important so that doctors can test against it should the athlete experience a traumatic brain injury, or concussion, during the season. Concussion testing can be mentally draining, whether a person is concussed or not. Continue reading Establishing a baseline→
I recently wrote about the terrible sleep habits of the characters in House of Cards. I disapproved of Frank Underwood’s late-night computer work in the Oval Office, his new midnight iPad gaming habit and Claire taking her laptop to bed with her.
But I must confess my hypocrisy. Despite my preaching – and despite being a sleep researcher myself – the last thing I do before I flip off the lights and snuggle into my bedsheets is play games on my iPhone. I know, I’m bad – but I also know I’m not the only guilty person here.
Although evidence suggests that the blue light emanating from phones, tablets, laptops, televisions and e-readers can affect the quality of our sleep – in turn affecting our health and well-being – many of us can’t help logging in and tapping away when we should be winding down. A Time/Qualcomm poll of 5,000 people worldwide suggests that nearly a quarter of those between the ages of 18 and 24 generally don’t sleep as well because of technology. Even worse, 40-75% of folks across all age groups report keeping their phones within reach while they sleep at night. Continue reading Can wearing orange-tinted glasses before bed help you sleep?→