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Whether bilingualism acts positively against neurocognitive decline is intensely debated. Although some reasons for it might be ideological, variability in sampling procedures and experimental design represent potential sources of inconsistency among studies. In this paper, we contend that bilingualism renders the extra-years of life of an increasingly long-lived population cognitively healthy, but only under specific conditions such as continuous practice and immersion in bilingual environments. We thus disagree with some authors’ recommendation that bilingualism be removed from consideration as a neuroprotective factor. We suggest, at the same time, that bilingualism should not be treated as axiologically superior to other environmental measures that promise to contrast the progressive loss of functional independence with increasing age. We conclude by emphasizing the need to evaluate the protective effects of L2-learning on the aging brain in a multimodal intervention perspective, thereby dissociating the effects of bilingualism from those of other cognitively stimulating factors.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: cognitive decline; dementia; bilingualism
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