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Can a Second Language Help You in More Ways Than One?

1 Centre de recherche de l'Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, 4565 Queen-Mary Road, Montreal, Quebec, H3W 1W5, Canada;
2 École d'orthophonie et d'audiologie, Faculté de médecine, Université de Montréal, Pavillon 7077, avenue du Parc, local 3001-1, Montreal, Quebec, H3N 1X7, Canada

Special Issues: What are the mechanisms that occur in the brain that lead to the cognitive benefits of bilingualism and enriched environments?

In response to the review article written by Paap et al. [1], we will examine the reasons why one would expect some behavioral and cognitive advantages of bilingualism. Then we will explain why such advantages may not be apparent in certain experiments. We will conclude that bilingualism is a skill that can entail neuroplastic changes, thus improving cognitive load processing abilities. However, the extent to which bilingualism may or may not lead to cognitive advantages or disadvantages relates to several factors. Finally, we argue that the optimal approach in studying the potential cognitive advantages of bilingualism is to link behavior to brain function, as a given behavior may be subserved by different neural mechanisms in bilingual and monolingual populations, reflecting distinct processing strategies.
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