The Role of Multilingualism in the Brain's Developmental Life Span

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Julia Gainski


Multilingualism provides individuals with the intrinsic ability to learn new languages more efficiently than monolinguals. Bilingual and multilingual individuals have obtained skills during early childhood development that translate to other areas in their lives such as the enhancement of processing information presented in their external environment and a greater attention to detail. Through the use of MRI, researchers are able to pinpoint specific brain regions that exhibit differences between monolinguals and multilinguals such that multilinguals display a greater tissue density in certain brain regions in comparison to monolinguals. Alongside these visual variations, this article places emphasis on the role of multilingualism throughout an individual's life span as ti depicts the neurological benefits such as the maintenance of a cognitive reserve and the protection from age-related decline predominantly seen in dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

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Author Biography

Julia Gainski, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Julia Gainski graduated in May of 2022 with a major in Integrative Biology and a minor in German. She was the Public Relations Chair and a writer for Brain Matters. During her time as a research assistant in the Control & Network Connectivity Team (CONNECTlab) at the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology, she presented and published her senior thesis. Additionally, she was the President of the Pre-Pre-Physician Assistant Club, an Integrative Biology Peer Leader, and a McKinley Special Populations Peer during her time at UIUC.