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Multilingualism, cognition and neuroscience

General details of the subject

Face-to-face degree course

Description and contextualization of the subject

Monolinguals vs. Bilinguals; The bilingual lexicon; The bilingual brain; Models of bilingual word processing; Models of bilingual speech production; Bilingual math representations and processing;

From bilinguals to multilinguals

Teaching staff

NameInstitutionCategoryDoctorTeaching profileAreaE-mail
CESPON GONZALEZ, JESUSBCBL- Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and
PINET XXX, SVETLANABCBL- Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and LanguageOtrosDoctor


CE1. Advanced knowledge of bilingual language processing.25.0 %
CE2. Main research techniques in the neuroscientific study of bilingualism25.0 %
CE3. Applying knowledge creatively to identify research questions and plan experimental designs for topics discussed during the course.25.0 %
CE4. Identifying systems and processes in bilinguals25.0 %

Study types

TypeFace-to-face hoursNon face-to-face hoursTotal hours
Applied classroom-based groups101020
Applied computer-based groups102535

Assessment systems

NameMinimum weightingMaximum weighting
Attendance at classes20.0 % 20.0 %
Team work (problem solving, project design).40.0 % 40.0 %
Written/oral tests40.0 % 40.0 %


Part 1 –

1. Defining and measuring bilingualism

2. Organization of bilingual memory

3. Bilingual word recognition

4. Bilingual word production

5. Bilingual language control in comprehension and production

Part 2 –

1. Language control/switching and executive control

2. The bilingual advantage: myth or reality?

3. Cross-linguistic differences and their influence on multilingual profiles

4. Bilingual literacy and education

5. Cognitive neuroscience of second language learning


Compulsory materials

There is no required textbook for this class. A list of required readings selected from scholarly articles and book chapters will be provided at the beginning of the course. You may, however, like to use the following book to get a more in-depth view of some of the topics presented:

Grosjean, F., & Li, P. (2012). The Psycholinguistics of Bilingualism. John Wiley & Sons.

Basic bibliography

Bialystok (2009). Bilingualism: the good, the bad and the indiferent. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (2009), 12:3-11.

Campbell, J.I., & Epp, L.J. (2004). An encoding-complex approach to numerical cognition in Chinese-English bilinguals. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 58(4): 229-244.

Dijkstra, A. (2007). The multilingual lexicon. In Gaskell, G. (Ed.), Handbook of Psycholinguistics (pp. 251-265). Oxford University Press.

Duñabeitia, J.A., Perea, M., & Carreiras, M. (2010). Masked translation priming effects with highly proficient simultaneous bilinguals. Experimental Psychology, 57(2):98-107.

French, R.M., & Jacquet, M. (2004). Understanding bilingual memory: models and data. Trends in Cognitive Science, 8, 87-93.

Hernandez, A., Li, P., & MacWhinney, B. (2005). The emergence of competing modules in bilingualism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9 (5), 220-225.

Kroll, J.F., & De Groot, A.M.B. (2005). Handbook of Bilingualism: Psycholinguistic Approaches Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress.

Mechelli A, Crinion JT, Noppeney U, O¿Doherty J, Ashburner J, Frackowiak RS, Price CJ. (2004). Neurolinguistics: structural plasticity in the bilingual brain. Nature, 14, 431:757.

Price CJ, Green DW, von Studnitz R. A functional imaging study of translation and language switching. Brain 1999; 122: 2221¿35.

In-depth bibliography

Cenoz, J., & Valencia, J. F. (1994). Additive trilingualism: Evidence from Basque Country. Applied Psycholinguistics, 15, 195-207.

Costa, A., Miozzo, M., & Caramazza, A. (1999). Lexical selection in bilinguals: Do words in the bilingual's two lexicons compete for selection? Journal of Memory and Language, 41, 365-397.

Dijkstra, A. & Van Heuven, W.J.B. (2002). The architecture of the bilingual word recognition system: From identification to decision. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 5, 175-197.

Green, D.W. (1998). Mental control of the bilingual lexico-semantic system. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1, 67-81.


Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (Cambridge Journals Online) is an international peer-reviewed journal focusing on bilingualism from a cognitive science perspective. Areas covered include: bilingual language competence, perception and production, bilingual language acquisition in children and adults, neurolinguistics of bilingualism in normal and brain-damaged subjects, and non-linguistic cognitive processes in bilinguals.


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