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Research Seminar Series

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START DATE 15 March 2017
END DATE 15 March 2017

We are pleased to invite you to our weekly Research Seminar Series on March 15th from 4pm, at Middlesex University Dubai in the Oasis Theatre, Block 16, Knowledge Park. The Research Seminar Series was launched in 2008, and has featured more than 190 presentations to date. The seminars provide a forum for researchers to share their work. Presenters include faculty from Middlesex University Dubai and other universities in the United Arab Emirates, as well as researchers from other global institutions. This week’s presentation is:

Assessment of Bilingual Language Context and Its Effects on Interference Suppression

Angélique Blackburn

Texas A&M International University


Bilinguals often outperform monolinguals on tasks that require suppression of interference from irrelevant stimulus information, likely as a result of strengthening neural networks involved in managing interference between languages (Martin-Rhee & Bialystok, 2008).  However, not all studies have replicated this bilingual advantage, indicating that bilingualism alone may not be responsible (Hilchey & Klein, 2011).  To test this, the Assessment of Code Switching Experience Survey (ACSES) was designed to categorize bilinguals according to how they use their languages, specifically, how often they switch between two languages within a conversation (code switch; Blackburn, 2013).  Bilinguals with different code-switching experience were compared during sentence reading and interference suppression tasks to determine whether code-switching experience modulates both the ability to comprehend a code switch and the ability to suppress non-linguistic interference.  Results indicate that code switching experience impacts both language cognition and aspects of cognition that are not specific to language.  A survey of the field suggests that bilingual experience strengthens aspects of cognition specific to the way in which language is used by each bilingual.  Results are framed according to the Adaptive Control Hypothesis – that language control differs across bilingual contexts and repeatedly engaging each aspect of control differentially impacts the brain – and a new survey to assess time spent in each bilingual context will be discussed (Green & Abutalebi, 2013).


Angélique Blackburn is a cognitive neuroscientist with specializations in bilingualism and cognitive control. She received a Ph.D. in Neurobiology at the University of Texas at San Antonio and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology & Communication at Texas A&M International University.  She also has a M.S. in Neurochemistry from the Pennsylvania State University, and a B.S. in Chemistry and B.A. in Modern Languages from Winthrop University. She uses electrophysiology and other neurocognitive methods to study the long-term effects of language habits on cognition and how bilinguals are able to manage and switch between two languages with ease. She is the creator of the Assessment of Code Switching Experience Survey, a reliable and valid measure of code-switching behavior. In addition to professional outreach as a reviewer for Neuropsychologia, Applied Linguistics, and the Society for the Neurobiology of Language, she has been awarded the USAA Foundation and Presidential Awards, received Language Science Scholar recognition, and been funded by the Specialized Neuroscience Research Program Fellowship.

If you are interested in presenting at one of our future seminars, or would like to recommend someone, please contact:


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