Faculty » Judith F. Kroll

You are walking on campus or sitting at a café and suddenly become aware that you are eavesdropping on a conversation that is taking place in two languages at once. Sentences may start in English and then switch to Spanish and then back to English again.  If you are a bilingual speaker of Spanish and English this may come as no surprise but if you are a monolingual speaker of one of these languages alone, you may wonder how the speakers are able to move so easily from one language to the other.  Not only can these bilingual speakers switch from one language to the other but they can understand each other and they rarely make errors of speaking the wrong language.

Although proficient bilinguals are impressively skilled, many adults find it difficult to acquire a second language past early childhood.  The research in our lab examines each of these problems.  How do bilinguals juggle the two languages without making errors? What enables adult learners to acquire a second language successfully? We use behavioral and neuroscience methods to investigate each of these issues.  What we have learned is that even skilled bilinguals cannot easily turn off one of the two languages.  Instead, both languages appear to be active and the interactions between them change not only the second language, but also the native language.  We are particularly interested in how individuals develop the skill to control their use of the two languages and how speaking two languages may benefit cognition more generally.

Selected Publications

Kroll, J.F., Gullifer, J., & Zirnstein, M. (in press). Literacy in adulthood:  Reading in two languages. To appear in Montanari, S., Nicoladis, E. (Eds.), Lifespan Perspectives on Bilingualism.  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Bice, K., & Kroll, J. F. (2015). Native language change during early stages of second language learning.  NeuroReport, 26, 966-971.

Bialystok, E., Kroll, J. F., Green, D. W., MacWhinney, B., & Craik, F.I.M. (2015).  Publication bias and the validity of evidence: What’s the connection?  Psychological Science, 26, 944-946.

Bjork, R. A., & Kroll, J. F. (2015).  Desirable difficulties in vocabulary learning. American Journal of Psychology128, 241-252.

Kroll, J. F. , Dussias, P. E., Bice, K., & Perrotti, L. (2015). Bilingualism, mind, and brain. In M. Liberman & B. H. Partee (Eds.),  Annual Review of Linguistics, 1, 377-394.

Kroll, J. F. , Bobb, S. C., & Hoshino, N. (2014). Two languages in mind:  Bilingualism as a tool to investigate language, cognition, and the brain. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23, 159-163.

Kroll, J. F., & Bialystok, E. (2013). Understanding the consequences of bilingualism for language processing and cognition. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25, 497-514.

Misra, M., Guo, T., Bobb, S. C., & Kroll, J. F. (2012). When bilinguals choose a single word to speak: Electrophysiological evidence for inhibition of the native language. Journal of Memory and Language, 67, 224-237.

Morford, J. P., Wilkinson, E., Villwock, A., Piñar, P. & Kroll, J. F. (2011). When deaf signers read English: Do written words activate their sign translations?  Cognition, 118,  286-292.

Guo, T., Liu, H., Misra, M., & Kroll, J. F. (2011). Local and global inhibition in bilingual word production: fMRI evidence from Chinese-English bilinguals. NeuroImage, 56, 2300-2309.

Linck, J. A., Kroll, J. F., & Sunderman, G. (2009). Losing access to the native language while immersed in a second language: Evidence for the role of inhibition in second language learning. Psychological Science, 20, 1507-1515.