louisaLouisa did her BA in German as a foreign language. Even though she enjoyed teaching tremendously, she also wanted to learn more about linguistic research, which is why she is currently enrolled in the ReMa Language and Cognition here at the RUG. She is involved in the PhD projects "Learning to preserve" and "Language learning never gets old" as a research assistant. Her research interests are neurolinguistics, bilingualism and second language acquisition, especially when they are connected to cognitive reserve and healthy aging.


Learning to preserve: Foreign language training as a cognitive “vaccine” to prevent old-age disorders?

In this project we assess the effect of a bilingual experience, in terms of a foreign language training, on cognitive flexibility: the ability to change your behaviour and thoughts according to new, changing or unexpected events. Besides that, we evaluate the unique role of foreign language training versus other cognitive training programs or social engagement aspects involved in any training for seniors. We study the changes in the brain as a result of these training programs and focus on cognitive flexibility and the effect on the health of elderly people at risk for depression and cognitive decline.

Language learning never gets old - implicit and explicit language learning in seniors

This project extends the recent work of bilingualism as a possible anti-ageing tool to monolingual seniors by introducing the bilingual experience later in life. Mixed results have been found in the few studies investigating the effects of language training for seniors, most likely due to several pitfalls in their designs Therefore, we developed a new method to overcome these issues. We look into the cognitive effects of language learning in older adulthood using behavioural tasks as well as neuro-imaging. Additionally, the PhD project investigates seniors' language learning needs and wellbeing in regards to foreign language learning for the first time.

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Prof. dr. Merel Keijzer



+31 50 36 37537


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