Boosting cognition in older adults by means of foreign language learning

Berg, van den, F., Rossi, E., Keijzer, M. & Kroll, J., 21-Jun-2019.

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  • Boosting cognition in older adults by means of foreign language learning

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The rapid aging of the world population co-occurs with an increase in age-related cognitive decline. For seniors, cognitive decline may result in memory problems, a decline in executive functioning, and therefore a higher vulnerability for old-age disorders such as dementia and depression. Because a bilingual experience has been hypothesized to enhance cognitive functioning, to aid in building cognitive reserve, and to eventually attenuate cognitive decline, foreign language learning could serve as a tool to prevent old-age disorders in elders (Antoniou et al., 2013). Yet, only a few studies have attempted to investigate the cognitive effects of third-age foreign language learning, but benefits are not consistently found (Klimova, 2018). By employing a pre-test/intervention/post-test design, we aim to further investigate effects in cognitive functioning related to foreign language learning in a group of 65-80-year old healthy seniors. The intervention consists of a 10-day online Spanish course, during which participants are exposed to the language in an implicit manner. Finally, we examine event-related potentials elicited in response to spoken Spanish words before and after approximately 8 hours of learning to capture the neural signature of language learning in the early stages. Our study's goal is to provide implications for neuroplasticity and healthy aging.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21-Jun-2019
EventTabu dag 2019: International Linguistics Conference - University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 20-Jun-201921-Jun-2019


ConferenceTabu dag 2019
Internet address


Tabu dag 2019: International Linguistics Conference


Groningen, Netherlands

Event: Conference


  • third-age language learning, healthy aging, cognitive functioning, individual differences, lexical processing, event-related potentials (ERPs)
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  1. Tabu dag 2019

    Floor Berg, van den (Participant)


    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conferenceAcademic

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