Most of the worlds’ population has some skill in speaking a second language. In Norway for example, the vast majority have good English language skills. Early research into bilingualism suggested that learning a second language had detrimental effects on language skills – even in the first language.
However, more recent research suggests that the regular use of two (or more) languages, confers cognitive benefits in attention and task switching in non-language tasks, and might even have a protective effect on cognitive function into old age. In this talk I will introduce experimental research on bilingual language processing and review evidence concerning the associated advantages and disadvantages.