Bilingualism & Cognition (2015)

This study investigated bilingualism & cognition. Study included 28 older adult participants – 14 monolingual participants and 14 bilingual participants (who had been bilingual since before age 11). All participants were subjected to a fMRI and had no diagnosed mental health conditions.

Results indicated:

Bilingual participants performed better on tasks and had better working memory (p<0.01) and better connectivity (p=0.002), compared with the monolingual group (p=0.17)

Results observed for other types of memory were not significant

Study size was small. Further large scale warranted. Study did not specify regarding bilingualism, as to whether participants spoke more than 2 languages, or whether certain type and complexity of language afford greater protection (i.e romance languages, Germanic languages etc.). Further research merited to explore effects of bilingualism on other types of memory.

Abstract available here

Grady, C. L., Luk, G., Craik, F. I., and Bialystok, E. (2015). Brain network activity in monolingual and bilingual older adults. Neuropsychologia 66, 170–181. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.10.042