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Dr Fraibet Aveledo – University of Reading

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  • Bilingualism

    Can bilingualism enhance cognitive processes?

Dr Fraibet Aveledo

Dr Fraibet AveleFraibet Aveledo imagedo is a researcher in psycholinguistics and a lecturer in the modules Child Language Development and Bilingualism.

Her first steps in child language development started while studying for her master's and she progressed to undertaking her PhD in Bilingual First Language Acquisition. Fraibet is mainly interested in analysing how language works and interacts with other cognitive functions in the brain, as well as how children acquire language, and how multilingual people process languages.

Bilingualism and the brain

Regarding how bilingualism affects the brain, Fraibet says "the majority of people in the world today are bilingual and yet we are just learning how we process languages when we speak more than one. One hot issue today is how being bilingual can affect other cognitive aspects in the person's mind. Particularly, there has been an important number of studies analysing the controversial hypothesis of whether bilingualism can enhance cognitive capacities and could even delay the onset of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's."

Fraibet has been undertaking research into Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and whether being bilingual improves some cognitive tasks in people with MS. This research project is conducted in Madrid together with professionals from the University of Reading and neuropsychologists from the Gregorio Marañón Hospital.

"As far as we know this is the first time that the effect of bilingualism in MS has been analysed. We are hoping to increase our knowledge on the subject and be able to help to improve psycholinguistics aspects on evaluations and therapies for these patients."

Fraibet's research was published in Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism in January 2020.

Read more about this research: Bilingualism protecting against cognitive decline press release

Teaching Beyond the textbook

All these up-to-date research problems are taught and discussed in Fraibet's modules. She makes sure that students learn beyond the textbook from those who are researching, and graduate well-informed about the very recent topics of research in the field.

"Students find it fascinating that bilingual speakers seem to have an advantage over monolinguals in some cognitive tasks: learning a second language is not only useful for finding jobs - some researchers are finding that it can delay the onset of Alzheimer's and Dementia."

Fraibet teaches the modules of Child Language Development, Language and the Mind, and Bilingualism in Year 2 and Year 3.

 

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