Does Bilingualism Influence Cognitive Aging?

Thomas H. Bak*, Jack J. Nissan, Michael M. Allerhand, Ian J. Deary

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent evidence suggests a positive impact of bilingualism on cognition, including later onset of dementia. However, monolinguals and bilinguals might have different baseline cognitive ability. We present the first study examining the effect of bilingualism on later-life cognition controlling for childhood intelligence. We studied 853 participants, first tested in 1947 (age=11 years), and retested in 2008-2010. Bilinguals performed significantly better than predicted from their baseline cognitive abilities, with strongest effects on general intelligence and reading. Our results suggest a positive effect of bilingualism on later-life cognition, including in those who acquired their second language in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-963
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Volume75
Issue number6
Early online date2 Jun 2014
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jun 2014

Keywords

  • LOTHIAN BIRTH COHORTS
  • ONSET
  • AGE
  • MULTILINGUALISM
  • DEMENTIA
  • DELAYS
  • BRAIN

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