5 Jun

Over at Dangerous Minds we find a post on the Los Angeles Alligator Farm. Between 1907 and 1984 you could have your child photographed riding on an alligator.

A little internet searching shows that this ill advised practice has not died out:

The Higher Efficiency of the Bilingual Brain

2 Jun

A paper in The Journal of Neurolinguistics: “Interference Control at the Response Level: Functional Networks Reveal Higher Efficiency in the Bilingual Brain.” Here is the abstract:

The bilingual advantage in interference control tasks has been studied with the Simon task, among others. The mixed evidence from the existing studies has led to contradictions in the literature regarding the bilingual advantage. Moreover, fMRI evidence on the neural basis of interference control mechanisms with the Simon task is limited. Previous work by our team showed that equivalent performance on the Simon task was associated with different activation maps in elderly bilinguals and monolinguals. This study aims to provide a more in-depth perspective on the neural bases of performance on the Simon task in elderly bilinguals and monolinguals, by adopting a network perspective for the functional connectivity analysis. A node-by-node analysis led to the identification of the specific topology that characterized the bilingual and monolingual functional networks and the degree of connectivity between each node across groups. Results showed greater connectivity in bilinguals in the inferior temporal sulcus, which plays a role in visuospatial processing. On the other hand, in monolinguals, brain areas involved in visual, motor, executive functions and interference control were more connected to resolve the same task. In other words, in comparison to the monolingual brain, the bilingual brain resolves visuospatial interference economically, by allocating fewer and more clustered regions. These results demonstrate a larger global efficiency in task performance in bilinguals as compared to monolinguals. Also, the provided evidence filters out the task-specific so-called bilingual advantage discussed in the literature and posits that bilinguals are strategically more efficient in a given performance than monolinguals, thus enhancing our understanding of successful aging.

You can read about the Simon Task here.


“How I learned 8 Languages”

31 May

Psychedelic-assisted therapy,

29 May

I am still traveling, in the mean time you may be interested in this piece from Rolling Stone.

Nature or nurture?

27 May

Off to Boston!

24 May

Posting might be light through the weekend. I am off to the Association for Psychological Science convention in Boston. I’ll be presenting on the psychology of yoga practitioners.

A bit of Boston trivia, in order to use the public transportation system you need a Charlie card. The card’s name comes from a famous campaign song:

Learning facts

22 May

I am feeling prophetic. The other day I blogged about Jonathan Rochelle’s anti-memory claim.

Today, the very capable  Daniel Willingham makes an argument similar to mine in Sunday’s New York Times:

It’s a grave mistake to think Google can replace your memory.

Here’s a similar piece Willingham wrote for the American Federation of Teachers. And here’s a link to his books.

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