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EUTOPIA Languages Week 23 - Does Learning a Language Rewire Your Brain

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Location: Faculty of Arts Building (FAB), University of Warwick Campus/Or Online

12:00: Opening by Prof. Tiziana Lippiello.

12:30: Plenary Talk by Prof. Panos Athanasopoulos.

What is language good for? One obvious answer is communication, which helps us transmit information rapidly and understand the mental state of others, crucial for group cohesion and survival. Moreover, it is often said that learning a foreign language is an enriching experience that broadens our perspective and access to other cultures and ideas. Here, I will be taking these questions further: Does language tune our vision to specific aspects of reality? Does learning a new language change the way we see the world? Does thinking in a foreign language actually help people make better decisions? The current talk will bring together evidence from psycholinguistics and cognitive neuroscience to begin to sketch an answer to these questions, and thus highlight some of the ways in which language can enhance, or meddle with our thinking in some often surprising ways.

13:30: Discussion

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