Bilingualism and Reserve: Etiology of Successful Aging

Federico Gallo*, Andriy Myachykov, Yury Shtyrov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In bilingualism research, there is a rapidly growing interest towards potential neuroprotective mechanisms against age-related cognitive decline, supported by dual and multiple language use. In this brief review, we discuss existing evidence, which generally suggests that bilingualism may foster neuroplastic changes resulting in beneficial consequences for the brain both at the structural level and at the functional one during later stages of life. First, we outline the interplay between the neural function and the bilingual experience. We then propose how bilingual and multilingual experience may protect the mind and the brain from the age-related cognitive decline and its consequences. We continue by discussing the notions of cognitive and brain reserve and contextualize existing findings from bilingualism literature with regard to this newly proposed reserve framework. We highlight how bilingualism-induced neural and cognitive changes may pave the way for the development of the neural foundations of reserve: both at the neuroanatomical and at the cognitive levels. We conclude our review by proposing possible models of bilingualism-induced successful aging.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Cognitive Research, Artificial Intelligence and Neuroinformatics - Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Cognitive Sciences, Intercognsci-2020
EditorsBoris M. Velichkovsky, Pavel M. Balaban, Vadim L. Ushakov
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9783030716363
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event9th International Conference on Cognitive Sciences, Intercognsci 2020 - Moscow, Russian Federation
Duration: 10 Oct 202016 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
Volume1358 AIST
ISSN (Print)2194-5357
ISSN (Electronic)2194-5365


Conference9th International Conference on Cognitive Sciences, Intercognsci 2020
Country/TerritoryRussian Federation


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