Judith Kroll, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor, Language Science School of Social Sciences
Language Science and Psychological Science
Phone: (814) 571-6453
University of California, Irvine
What happens to the mind and the brain when individuals learn and use more than one language? In most places in the world, speaking two or more languages is common, suggesting that bilingualism is not a special condition but one that reflects the ordinary adaptations that individuals make as they are exposed to language in all of its diverse forms. But the consequences of that exposure over the lifespan may be profound for understanding the conditions that guide new learning, for revealing the way that the domain general cognitive mechanisms associated with memory and learning are recruited by bilingual speakers when they juggle the two languages, and for providing neural protections in old age that moderate the effects of cognitive decline. The research in Dr. Kroll's lab uses the tools of cognitive neuroscience to understand how bilingualism might reveal the plasticity of the mind and the brain. The Kroll lab asks how language processes themselves change when two or more languages are in play and how those changes create consequences over the lifespan. A particular focus in the recent work is to understand how the complexity of language experience is reflected in the social and cultural networks in which bilingual learn and use each language. Among the recent discoveries, Dr. Kroll has learned that living in a linguistically diverse environment tunes the brain mechanisms that enable new language learning.
Key Research Areas:
Language Processing, Bilingualism, Second Language Learning, Psycholinguistics, Cognitive Neuroscience, Gender and Science