Hi everyone. Welcome to our week seven office hours. This is our last one where we actually discuss new material, and week eight will come up very shortly, and we'll just kind of discuss some wrapping up thoughts that people have had. But, this is the week in which we focus on cognitive control in a bilingual population. So we have a few questions for you Dr. Hernandez and if you wouldn't mind answering them we'll go ahead and dive right in. >> I'd be happy to. >> All right, so the first question has to do with switching between programming languages. Would you expect something like cross language intrusions to occur? >> Well, I mean it's interesting that you talk about. Programming languages and switching. So, we know that if we take it to another domain. So if we look at ASL English bilinguals, the work that's been done with them, that there doesn't seem to be much interference, between American Sign Language and ingots, spoken English. And the idea is that. Because they're in two different modalities. One's more visual-spacial. The other one's more auditory-spoken, or mouthed or written for those who are deaf. Then there's not interference between those two. So, if were go, if were to go to programming languages, well, they're both in the same. modality. Right? They're written languages. And so I would expect there to be interference, or intrusions between those two. The other thing we know is there've been a few, well one study that I know of that's been published looking at programming and comprehension of code snippets. It's done by a group series, number of researchers, some in Germany, some in the U.S. and what they found was that basically language areas seem to be active on the left when interpreting these pieces of code, which is somewhat not. Were not entirely surprising, because it is, does have language in it. >> Mm-hm. >> It's not just like language, but it does have language in it. So, I would expect there to be interference between these two different languages. >> Mm-hm. >> Yes. >> and. Do you think that bilinguals might show an advantage in learning, a programming language? >> Well the, the question kind of reminds me of this hyper-polyglot issue which came up, which was that hyper-polyglot. Lots of those who can learn more than the 11 languages generally have a really good feel for the language, and they also understand the rules of a language analytically. So they can step outside of language. My sense is if a bilingual were, were to become proficient enough such that they could actually step outside of language. Then they might, in fact, be able to understand rules analytically. And, therefore, if they go back to programming languages, may have an advantage. >> Mm-hm. >> But there's no guarantee, because it could be a bilingual who's grown up with two or three languages from a very young age. Has a very intuitive feel for them. >> Mm-hm. >> Obviously, can write and read and that, but may not be so consciously aware of all these different rules and differences and just speaks them, in which case they don't step out of language, they just step into it, whichever what they happen to be speaking at that moment. So, not necessarily. Really. >> Mm-hm. >> I would think that not necessarily. It could but necessarily. >> This is actually similar to what we were just discussing right before we started the video in terms of math education. If a bilingual can really step out and see it in terms of rules, as opposed to a very linguistically focused view. They might show an advance. Advantage is math as well. If you can just think of it in terms of abstract rules. >> I mean, math is a tricky thing [LAUGH] as we were having this very long conversation just a minute ago. But, but I mean the tricky part about math is that there, there's some debate about it. Again I'm not an expert in this area, but there's some debate about. You know, is it based on numbers? You know, counting. Or is it based on you know, spacial representations? You know, which one of those is it? And, and of course there's a combinatorial part of it so I don't know, I kind of take a pass on math. It, it's it's, it seems to have some obviously links to language. But it's not entirely like language. >> Mm-hm. >> Either. >> Hm, so kind of similar to the programming issues >> Yeah, it could be. And I would think that programming and math ability, probably would go somewhat hand in hand. But again, we do have the issue of symbolic representation. >> Uh-huh. >> So in math you have symbols that represent, you know, quantities or properties of something, and in programming you have the same thing. >> Uh-huh. >> You have different sequences of words and symbols that come to represent things, and that have to be arranged in certain ways with certain rules. But it's, so it's not entirely language, but it is based somewhat. In some piece of language. >> Mm-hm. And so let's move on and talk about switching between languages. So some of the posters have noticed that when they're speaking, sometimes they just switch completely unconsciously, and they're completely fluid in their switch without even realizing that they've switched. Would you be able to maybe comment on that? That phenomenon. >> It reminds me a lot of Julia Festman's work. She's done some work looking at switcher this is non switchers. And essentially has found that if you ask people. Maya knows this, but for those of you listening to this Maya and I talked a lot about this study. For those so, so what she finds is that when people have to. They're presented with series of pictures in which they're forced to switch, from one language to the other. And the non-switchers will basically stick to whatever language you tell them. So whenever their cued for one language, they'll produce the item in that language. And when they're cued for the other language they'll produce the item in the other language. But the switchers will be those who will just slip. Every so often, so they're told, produce this picture in, you know, Polish, and they produce it in Russian. >> Right. >> For example. And so they just, they make a, they make a mistake, that's what's called an intrusion. So, in some ways I kind of think about that, and it would seem to me that. You know, if we're trying to retrieve a word, and the word is based on a particular context, right. So, there's the frequency of the word, how often we've heard it, not just the frequency out in the world, but how often we might have heard that word. There is the context where we are, to whom we're speaking, of course. >> Mm-hm. >> If it's someone who will understand the code switch or not. If, the the other person's a monolingual and we code switch, and of course we know English had permeated lots of languages now. I mean, do you'd have to translate the word Skype into every language? It's probably just called Skype maybe with slightly different pronunciations. So that's not really a code switch but if it's someone who's a monolingual. When we're talking about chairs and we switch into, and pull out the word chair they may not understand what we're talking about. So we have to figure out who we're talking to. All of those factors determine which word is likely to be produced. So in the right situation it could happen. Them without thought, and that just happens to be because we, somehow associate that language with that particular word so it happened quite effortless, effortlessly. >> Mm-hm. And so kind of relating to that what about people who work as translators or interpreters? What might their brain look like, when their doing their work? >> I think it would depend. I mean, if they're doing work in which they're translating something that they've never translated before, then I would expect that they would have quite a lot of activity. Perhaps even homologous right hemisphere, left hemisphere activity for this process. Because it can be quite difficult to do. >> Mm-hm. >> If they're, you know, like a priest translating mass. And they've done it a hundred times, they can basically do it in their sleep. They may be thinking about who knows what, nothing at all related to mass, their mind might be wandering completely. But, because they've done it so many times, they can just do it, you know, they say this row that, that, yeah, this is part of the mass, and they just keep doing it over and over again, and so they're not really, know they're using Text, obviously they're doing something, but it's not nearly as intense, so I think it would depend on what they're translating. >> Mm-hm. >> But I would suspect that it would be a fairly intense procedure, in terms of their brain activity. >> Mm-hm. >> Lots of language areas and lots of left and right hemisphere activity. >> Mm-hm. >> Well the last question has to do with control and bilingualism. Sort of like a chicken and egg kind of thing. If a child scores well on executive function tests. Would he then have an easier time, learning a second language? >> I guess I would rephrase the question, or rephrase the answer maybe. Executive control helps for anything. And I mean we need executive control for pretty much anything that we do. Obviously there are some things that are fairly automatic that require less executive control that, you know, we may do, like I was ex, giving an example, the priest has translated mass, you know, a hundred times, or a thousand time. Probably doesn't need much executive control, because can just automatically queue and know what's next, you know? And now I translate this part, and now I translate this part, now I translate this part, all I need to know is where I am in the mass, what's just been said? Kind of monitor slightly for that, and boom, I can just translate the next part because I've done it a million times, so it's not really a lot of work, doesn't require a lot of executive control. But for anything that we do that requires some adjustment, or some adaptability, executive control will come in to play. So developing executive control happens naturally, I mean, now the question is, well should we go out and train our kids on executive control tasks, and in fact, the military in the U.S. has tried to do this, right? The Department of Defense has tried to train people on executive control tasks, with the idea that they'll be better at, you know it'll be like brain training. Well, I mean the results are somewhat controversial because it seems like if you train somebody to count backwards from a thousand. You know, as a brain training. They get really good at counting backwards from a thousand. But that doesn't mean that they're really good at driving and using their cellphone, right. [LAUGH] So you can train executive function, and it's important. But it's trained very naturally in a naturally occurring context. And the question could be, you know, well, does bilingualism help executive control, or is executive control already good? And that's why you become bilingual. Everything affects executive control, and it's quite trainable, and, and we know it's reliant on systems that are quite plastic and, and later developing. And I think the, the best example of that is in fact my colleague, Hana Goyoshina. Is found that in Asian countries children or from Asian cultures, tend to have better executive control than those from Western countries, specifically the U.S. and Japan, has been, I think they've done some stuff in Vietnam as well. >> Mm-hm. >> And, and, what they find is that, the executive control is better in Asian cultures. And her kind of supposition and thought process, is that in Asian culture, it's very important to behave in a specific kind of way in a specific kind of situation with specific types of people. And so, if you're with someone who's an elder, then you act very respectfully, you don't show disapproval. Or disappointment, you kind of mask your emotions, what you may be feeling. And so that sort of suppression is a form of control, and because of that over time, they end up having an advantage relative to Western societies, where that's not as heavily emphasized. So that could be a form of executive control. training, right? Everything trains executive control, and so, the tricky part is figuring out what leads to those differences. >> Mm-hm. >> Is that really something, you know, we want to say is inherent to the individual or is it something that's environmental it's probably both? But there's a huge environmental component, because it's the latest developing area of the brain. It's affected by so many things, and by, by development, and I mean, you know, from, I mean even if you call it preconception, right? Because parental sort of dispositions can also play a role you know, age. So for a long time they thought that, you know, fathers could be any age. It didn't matter, right? It was just the woman, well it turns out. That's, that's not true as far as I can tell. I know science changes. It used to be you had to have margarine, now you have to eat butter, and they keep changing back and forth, now it's butter. But when I grew up you were supposed to eat margarine, and it turns out that's the worst kind of fat. But anyway, aside, forget margarine and butter, back to executive control. >> We have jam. >> That's right. so, so, now it turns out the science suggests that that's not true, the age of the father does play a role, and so the younger the father, the less likely to have, less likely to have problems, developmental problems that could be genetically sort of, traced. So again, all those things play a role. And they probably play a role in executive control, and so you could think that over time as you add up all these different influences. And you have an individual who has bet, better executive control, they're going to have a better educational outcome, and they're going to be better bilingual. But, again a la, a large component of that could be in enviromental. >> Mm-hm. >> And that includes interacting with people when infants are young, as opposed to sitting there in front of a TV, we know, all this type of interactions, seeing real things in the world moving around, all those types of interactions in the world lead to activity, or recruitment, of executive control area. In infants, such as tracking an object, could be something that would involve the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an area for adults that's involved for much more complex things. So yeah, it can play a role, but it is highly trainable. >> Mm-hm. >> And you don't need to. That just have them count back from 1,003, subtract three from 1,000 all the way back down, just have them interact in complex environments. A lot of human interaction, lots of games, lots of things like that, will train this ability. >> Right, and so even if there are differences in ability in children, any child, barring some sort of developmental disability, will be able to learn a second language. >> Yes. Absolutely. >> All right. Well that's all the time that we have for today, so thank you for joining us and answering these questions and tune in next week for our very final. And of course [INAUDIBLE].