Ellen Bialystok

The Psychology of Bilingualism is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Ellen Bialystok, Professor of Psychology at York University. Ellen Bialystok is a world-leading expert on the effects of bilingualism on cognitive processes across our lifespan.

This wide-ranging conversation examines how Ellen discovered differences in the development of essential cognitive and language abilities for bilingual children, the use of different brain networks by monolingual and bilingual young adults performing simple conflict tasks, and the postponement of symptoms of dementia in bilingual older adults, and many more fascinating aspects of bilingualism. 

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, The Plastic Revolution, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

  1. Focusing on Bilingualism – From pedagogy to battling stereotypes
  2. Becoming Scientific – Inklings of plasticity
  3. Out of the Minds of Babes – Focusing attention from the earliest moments
  4. Differences and Definitions – Statistically significant results, and defining bilingualism
  5. Multitasking and Focusing – Real-world applications of bilingualism’s advantages
  6. In the Brain – What’s happening inside
  7. The Art of Measurement – The power of fMRI
  8. Bilingualism, Extended – The challenge of isolating relevant factors
  9. Bilingualism and Dementia – Surprising results and current puzzles
  10. Public Policy Implications – The societal benefits of bilingualism
  11. Open Questions and Speculations – Ongoing mysteries and the problem with projections

Howard came to the conversation with an incredible mastery of the issues, knowledge about my work, and insight for where things need to go next, so he was able to create a coherent picture of a complex body of research…. wonderful resources for both students and the interested public.” — Ellen Bialystok



Available in electronic format on all major booksellers, including:




The Psychology of Bilingualism is also part of the five-part Ideas Roadshow Collection, Conversations About Psychology, Volume 2, which is available in both paperback and electronic format.