The Bilingual Neurocognitive Network: An investigation of Neuroplasticity and Cognitive Performance
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It has been suggested that the bilingual advantage is influenced by the greater demand placed on the neurocognitive network when handling two language systems, resulting in better cognitive performance. Neuroimaging findings indicate that the bilingual neurocognitive network is more efficient in completing certain tasks, while exhibiting less functional engagement, and remarkably, altered brain plasticity. The current study investigated the bilingual advantage in terms of cognitive performance relative to brain plasticity in the neurocognitive network of lifelong bilinguals. A VBM analysis measured grey matter volume in the left and right caudate nucleus, a subcortical region associated with language and cognitive control. Greater grey matter volume in the left caudate was hypothesized to correlate with the cognitive performance exhibited by senior bilingual adults.Findings revealed that senior bilinguals had more grey matter volume in the left caudate than the right caudate,and were more accurate and faster during the cognitive control task compared to monolingual senior adults. Grey matter volume in the left caudate of senior bilingual adults correlated with cognitive performance. The results of this study indicate a bilingual advantage that may arguably be associated with the grey matter volume of the left caudate nucleus.