Singapore University of Social Sciences

Bilingualism, Language and the Brain

Bilingualism, Language and the Brain (PSY360)


In this course, students explore how language experience affects the way we think and represent information. There will be a focus on topics in bilingualism, such as cross-linguistic and cross-cultural effects on thought, and the content will build upon cognitive concepts. Students will reflect in detail about the multidimensional nature of bilingualism, and how bilingual speakers can differ greatly on factors such as age of acquisition, proficiency and switching behaviour. The course will also cover key debates in bilingualism research, such as the presumed advantages and disadvantages of bilingualism in cognition, and effects of linguistic distance (i.e. extent of similarity between languages) on bilingual language processing.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every January


  • Language and how we think
  • Cross-linguistic and cross-cultural effects on thought
  • Bilingual language acquisition
  • Bilingualism factors
  • Cross-linguistic effects in language processing
  • Bilingual language control
  • Bilingualism and cognitive control
  • The bilingualism debate
  • Codeswitching
  • Bilingual language representation
  • How is bilingualism defined?
  • Evaluating bilingualism research

Learning Outcome

  • Examine factors of bilingualism in language acquisition and language usage.
  • Illustrate the influence of bilingualism on cognitive processes.
  • Judge the real-life implications of bilingualism in areas such as emotion, learning and decision making.
  • Question how bilingualism is measured and defined across different research studies.
  • Apply bilingualism/language concepts and findings to everyday contexts.
  • Evaluate the relevance of research findings across different language environments or cultural conttexts.
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