New research evidence suggests that bilingual adults have an advantage over monolingual adults in selected cognitive skills and that this advantage is maintained in older age. Yet, bilingual speakers are commonly excluded from studies of cognitive aging in this country. This proposed study will examine performance of bilingual individuals across the adult life-span on measures currently employed in our larger study, the Language in the Aging Brain lab (AG14345). Proficient bilingual individuals will be recruited and tested on measures of cognitive skills, such as executive function, and language skills, such as lexical retrieval and spoken language comprehension. The results of this study will allow us to comprehensively examine whether older bilingual adults do not demonstrate the cognitive decline found with monolingual older adults. Furthermore, the study will provide us with the unique opportunity to identify whether there is a dissociation between age-related changes in cognition and language by testing whether older bilingual individuals who do not show age-related differences on specific cognitive tests nevertheless demonstrate age-related language differences. This research study will include younger and older adults who speak a language other than English as their first language and therefore will allow us to generalize our conclusions about age-related language decline to a larger, more representative sample of the older population of today. Moreover, the results of this study will provide answers to questions concerning the causal relations among specific cognitive skills and specific language skills that have been shown to decline with age. ? ? ?
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|Kempler, Daniel; Goral, Mira (2008) Language and Dementia: Neuropsychological Aspects. Annu Rev Appl Linguist 28:73-90|