PhD Studentship - Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual

University of Sheffield

Fully Funded PhD Scholarship in Psychology at the University of Sheffield

This is one of many projects in competition for the current funding opportunities available within the Department of Psychology

Project title: Cognitive benefits of being bilingual

Primary supervisor: Claudia Von Bastian

Project description: Does being a native speaker of two languages have not only linguistic and social, but also cognitive benefits? Many previous studies indeed reported better cognitive performance in bilinguals than monolinguals, and some studies even suggested that bilingualism is associated with a delayed onset of dementia (e.g., see Bialystok, 2017 for a review). However, more recent larger-scale studies (including one in our lab, see von Bastian, Souza, & Gade, 2016) could not replicate such positive effects of bilingualism. This project aims at understanding what other factors may have driven earlier findings of benefits such as effects of immigration, acculturation, and the specific second language spoken. As bilingualism has been argued to have particularly large effects on children’s and older adults’ cognition, this project allows for (but does not necessarily require) working with individuals across the lifespan.


Bialystok, E. (2017). The bilingual adaptation: How minds accommodate experience. Psychological Bulletin, 143(3), 233-262. doi: 10.1037/bul0000099

von Bastian, C. C., Souza, A. S., & Gade, M. (2016). No evidence for bilingual cognitive advantages: A test of four hypotheses. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(2), 246-258. doi: 10.1037/xge0000120

Start date: 1 October 2018

Requirements: Applicants must have a minimum of a first class or high upper second-class undergraduate honours degree and a distinction or high merit at Masters level in psychology or a related discipline.

Funding: Tuition fees £4,194 per year Living Expenses £14,500.00

Science Graduate School

As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you'll be part of the Science Graduate School. You'll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You'll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit to learn more.

For further details and the application process please visit:

Closing date for applications is 5pm Wednesday 24 January 2018

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