Bilingualism, Language and Cognition
What is more, we don’t use language in a vacuum – moment to moment, elaborate mental processes guide us through a complex environment. This includes our attention, memory, event perception and sense of time. In the Bilingualism, Language and Cognition area, we aim to understand these processes and how they influence the mental representation, processing and use of language.
We currently consist of four Psychology faculty members recognized in the scientific community, with a wealth of collective expertise and approaches to the study of bilingualism, language and cognition. Here are some of the topics we study: language production (Wendy Francis, Iva Ivanova), language use in conversation (Iva Ivanova), reading and language comprehension (Ana Schwartz), conceptual/knowledge representation (Wendy Francis, Ana Schwartz), grammatical representation (Iva Ivanova), memory (Wendy Francis, Ashley Bangert), attention (Ashley Bangert, Iva Ivanova, Wendy Francis), interaction between bilinguals’ languages in production (Iva Ivanova) and comprehension (Ana Schwartz), the impact of bilingual language experience on cognition (Wendy Francis, Iva Ivanova), event cognition and time perception (Ashley Bangert), and how some of these processes are affected by healthy and pathological aging (Ashley Bangert).
What is more, we work with colleagues from other departments (Linguistics, Rehabilitation Sciences, Education) to further expand our expertise. Ten of us form the Consortium for Scientific Research on Bilingualism, and we have frequent meetings often including our students to learn about each other’s latest research and brew exciting collaborative ideas. Together, our research laboratories use a variety of methodologies, including response time and error rate analysis, standardized assessments, eye tracking, EEG and acoustic analysis, and we implement a variety of advanced analytic and statistical techniques. We also have an affiliation with Magnetic Resonance Imaging facilities that can be used for research.
You might have realized already that it is an exciting time for our area. We continue to grow, and we are becoming a nationally and internationally recognized hotspot for bilingualism research. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a better place to study bilingualism: We are located right on the U.S. – Mexico border, and the city of El Paso and its sister city Ciudad Juárez are one of the world’s largest binational communities, a metroplex of 2.7 million residents. (And, don’t worry – El Paso is one of the safest U.S. cities.) This makes it easy to recruit Spanish-English bilinguals with a diverse range of experiential and proficiency characteristics, as well as English and Spanish monolinguals from the same community for comparison.
To experience these exciting times and the fascinating world of bilingualism, apply to our Ph.D. Program. You can apply to work with a member of the Psychology department (especially our most junior members), but you can also be co-directed by a member of the Consortium for Scientific Study of Bilingualism that is from another department. When reviewing applications, we consider everyone’s unique research experience on an individual basis. Our mission is to train world-class scientists with a broad range of content and methodological knowledge and expertise in cognitive psychology and language research. We look forward to welcoming you to El Paso!
Explore our Website
- Learn more about our area's faculty and current graduate students.
- See our laboratory facilities and learn about the research we do.
- Check out the Bilingualism, Language and Cognition Curriculum.
- Prospective graduate students should read our Application Information. We strongly encourage you to contact faculty to see if your research interests are a good match with ours, and if you have any questions about the application process.
- Take a look at the UTEP Department of Psychology homepage to learn more about our faculty and other graduate programs.