The Duality of Languages Bilingualism and Its Effects on the Brain

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Estefania Baez


Research over the past two decades has shown the vital role of brain plasticity in language acquisition, specifically in children. When compared with older adolescents, kids in early childhood are more efficient at learning a second language. Researchers still seek to know the physiological differences in brain structure and function between bilinguals and monolinguals. Promising studies show disparities between white and grey matter structures. In addition, bilingual individuals experience a specific pattern of brain activity when switching from one language to another- dubbed ‘codeswitching’. Such a pattern is found in two regions: the anterior cingulate cortex, which helps us pay attention, and the prefrontal cortex, which is the 'thinking' part of the brain (Mcrae, 2018). The culmination of elevated neurocognitive processes experienced by bilingual individuals leads to their variations in protection against neurodegenerative diseases and heightened performances in cognitive tasks.

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