People

The Bilingualism Interest Group is composed of faculty members and students at Concordia University who share a common interest for bilingualism. 

Below is a list of all faculty members with a link to their website and a list of their representative publications related to bilingualism.

Krista Byers-Heinlein

My research investigates infants and toddlers growing up in bilingual environments and the mechanisms that they use to acquire two languages simultaneously. Some current projects compare speech perception and word learning in monolingual and bilingual infants. A related line of work investigates bilingual parenting, and how the language strategies used by bilingual families influence children's language learning.

Bilingual first language acquisition; infant & toddler second language acquisition; bilingual parenting & input; word learning; speech perception.




Karen Li

The focus of my research is on executive control processes and healthy aging. My students and I examine how such processes support complex cognitive activities such as multi-tasking, walking, balancing, and sensorimotor coordination. My interest in bilingualism is part of a larger area of study that asks how life experiences (e.g. musical expertise, exercise training, bilingual experience, activity levels) might enhance cognitive functioning in older adults. 

Laboratory for Adult Development and Cognitive Aging
Executive control; multi-task performance; motor control; training; cognitive compensation.





Virginia Penhune

My research program explores possible sensitive periods for musical training. Work in my lab has shown that adult musicians who begin training before the age of seven perform better on tests of musical skill and show structural differences in motor regions of the brain. New studies will test the sensitive period hypothesis in children and examine possible relationships with second language learning. 

Motor sequence learning; expertise; brain imaging; music perception and cognition; auditory-motor integration.




Natalie Phillips

My general area of research is adult human neuropsychology and the neuropsychology of aging, with an emphasis on integrating cognitive, neuropsychological, and electrophysiological (EEG/ERP) measures of brain function. I have a specific interest in examining executive control processes in bilinguals. We focus on bilingualism across the lifespan including younger adults, older adults, and persons with or at risk for dementia.

Bilingualism; executive function; cognitive control; aging; dementia; Alzheimer's disease; EEG/ERP.




Diane Poulin-Dubois

My research program concerns early language and cognitive development.  In the area of language development, my students and I are currently interested in how early word comprehension and production predicts later language skills and school readiness. My group is part of an international team (funded by NICHD) studying this issue in monolingual and bilingual children from US, Switzerland, Mexico, and Canada. We are particularly interested in the cognitive benefits of early bilingualism and in the long-term predictive validity of parental reports vs. laboratory-based measures of the lexicon.

Bilingualism, word learning; executive function





My research investigates the cognitive underpinnings of second language fluency and proficiency. Current projects include studies examining the automaticity of word meaning recognition, the nature of second language vocabulary, the place of attention in language processing, and the role all these have in shaping second language oral fluency. I am also involved in studies concerned with language barriers in healthcare for linguistic minorities and the role second language skills play in the process of acculturation.

Lab Website (coming soon)
L2 fluency; L2 proficiency; cognitive fluency; utterance fluency; L2 proficiency; language barriers in healthcare communication; vocabulary; mental lexicon; language and attention; motivation; language and identity; language and acculturation.