Bilingual Plasticity: Plasticity in the Brains of Bilinguals

The brain has always had an amazing ability to adapt to its circumstances, an evolutionary edge, coupled with humanities capacity for reason and logic has made for quite a versatile organ. Researching neuroplasticity and non-synaptic plasticity can lead to a better understanding of how the brain adapts as well as how a normal brain functions. Neuroplasticity has the potential to affect brain mechanism related to emotional, motivational and cognitive processes (Crocker, Heller, Warren, O'Hare, Infantolino & Miller, 2012). Another functional and extraordinary ability of the brain is language. Language can define so much about how we think and yet after a brief window of time we find it very difficult to learn new languages. It is certainly not impossible to learn a second or third language but, it seems to be the case that plasticity occurs more with children (Giannakopoulou, Uther & Ylinen, 2013). Perhaps because plasticity can occur during developmental stages when language development is taking place or younger brains are just have more plastic potential. Understanding how plasticity and bilingualism interrelate can give us a better picture of how the brain deals with language, how this stimuli causes neuroplasticity to occur and how that plasticity can effect language functions. Does developing bilingual skills cause brain plasticity?
First we must try to establish a causational relationship so that we know it is the stimuli of bilingualism that causes the plasticity to occur. One journal tries to establish whether bilingualism can promote experience-dependent plasticity, in a similar way as musicians developing heightened processing in subcortical structures (Krizman, Marian, Shook, Skoe & Kraus, 2012). Specifica...

... middle of paper ... among cognition, emotion, and motivation: Implications for intervention and neuroplasticty in psychopathology. Frontiers In Human Neuroscience, 7doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00261

Giannakopoulou, A., Uther, M., & Ylinen, S. (2013). Enhanced plasticity in spoken language acquisitiopn for child learners: Evidence from phonetic training studies in child and adult learners of english. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 29(2), 201-218. doi: 10.1177/0265659012467473

Krizman, J., Marian, V., Shook, A., Skoe, E., & Kraus, N. (2012). Subcortical encoding of sound is enhanced in bilinguals and relates to executive function advantges. PNAS, 109(20), 7877-7881. doi: 10.1073

Pallier, C. (2003). Brain Imaging of Language Plasticity in Adopted Adults: Can a Second Language Replace the First? Cerebral Cortex, 13(2), 155-161. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/cercor/13.2.155
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