Viorica Marian, Ph.D.
Viorica Marian, Ph.D., is chair of the department of communication sciences and disorders at Northwestern University and associate professor of communication sciences and disorders, psychology, and cognitive science. Dr. Marian received a Ph.D. from Cornell University and a master’s degree from Emory University. Her research focuses on bilingualism/multilingualism and the brain’s ability to accommodate multiple languages at the same time, with a specific emphasis on language processing, language and memory, and language learning. Dr. Marian directs the Bilingualism and Psycholinguistics Laboratory and uses cognitive, behavioral, and neurological measures to study human language capacity and the consequences of bilingualism for linguistic, cognitive, and neural function.
The Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual
Today, more of the world’s population is bilingual or multilingual than monolingual. In addition to facilitating cross-cultural communication, this trend also positively affects cognitive abilities. Researchers have shown that the bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities than the monolingual brain, thanks to its developed ability to inhibit one language while using another. In addition, bilingualism has positive effects at both ends of the age spectrum: Bilingual children as young as seven months can better adjust to environmental changes, while bilingual seniors can experience less cognitive decline.