The effects of bilingualism on brain and cognition

Christos Pliatsikas

It has been shown that all languages that bi-/multilinguals speak are active and available at any given time. This means that individuals are constantly faced with the challenging task of selecting the appropriate language over the others for a given context. This has led to vivid, and sometimes heated, discussions on whether bilingualism affects cognition a broader way, including functions that are beyond those closely or traditionally related to language processing, such as cognitive control. This series of lectures will review contemporary literature investigating how bilingualism affects domain general cognition, including executive functions, and the brain correlates of these effects. Moreover, we will go over long-term effects of bilingualism on the brain, including how it affects brain structure and brain function at rest. These effects will be viewed through the perspective of experience-based neuroplasticity, similar to the effects caused by other types of long-terms experiences and/or training. The implications of these effects for older age will also be discussed, including proposals for cognitive and neural reserves in older bilinguals.


This course is open for all students and will be offered via Zoom.  For registration please write an email to:

24th, 27th & 28th July 2020

9:00 to 11:00 CEST/UTC+2

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska Curie grant agreement No 765556.

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