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Talk on bilingualism in the brain during the Brain Awareness Week 2021 (Týden mozku 2021)

Michal Korenar (ESR3)

The 22nd Týden mozku (= Brain Week festival) commenced on March 15 and was concluded on Sunday, March 21. The event was organized by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (AVCR) in cooperation with the Institute of Experimental Medicine of the Czech Republic and the Czech Society for Neurosciences. It was part of Brain Awareness Week (BAW), a global campaign to raise public awareness of the successes and benefits of brain research.

The main pillar of the festival are traditionally popular-science lectures from leading Czech experts in the field of theoretical and clinical neuroscience. Among the invited speakers this year, Michal Korenar (ESR3) gave an on-line talk titled Bilingualism: conflict for which your brain will thank you. In his lecture, he discussed how bilingualism trains our brains, why bilingual speakers tend to be more creative, have improved attention and the ability to resolve conflict, and how multilingual knowledge delays the manifestations of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. The talk included presentation of data collected within the MutliMind project. His talk was followed by discussion with the public. 300 participants attended Michal’s talk, i.e. the maximum allowed. Also, three more talks were presented by researchers from the MultiMind’s partner institution Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC). Among these, prof. Irena Rektorova offered insights into Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and Lubos Brabenec together with Jaroslav Tocik discussed the neuroscience of language. Part of the program was a virtual tour of CEITEC and its state-of-the-art neuroscience facilities.

Thousands of participants from broad public attended dozens of popular lectures, memory training, virtual tours and films. For the first time in its history, due to the current pandemic, the festival took place completely online. As a result, the lectures and the accompanying program were available access-free to an even larger audience interested in news in brain research and neuroscience. The lectures will be available online via the YouTube channel of the AVCR.

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