Tamar H. Gollan, Ph.D.
Dr. Gollan received her B.A. from Brandeis
University, a Ph.D. in clinical and cognitive neuropsychology from the
University of Arizona, and completed an internship in clinical neuropsychology
at UCSD, and post-doctoral fellowships at UCSD and Pomona college where she
taught classes on Cognitive Science and Cognitive Neuropsychology. Dr. Gollan
is a faculty member of the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical
Psychology, and also mentors undergraduate research as part of the Faculty
Mentor Program and the McNair Program for students who are underrepresented in
graduate education. Dr. Gollan’s research is funded by an R01 from NIDCD.
Bilinguals seem to effortlessly control which language they speak. They almost never switch languages by mistake, and yet they can also switch fluently back and forth between languages when speaking in bilingual contexts. How do bilinguals maintain such effective control over language selection, and to what extent does language control rely on domain-general executive control? Do older bilinguals have more difficulty juggling two languages, and how does Alzheimer’s disease change a person’s ability to speak two languages? Bilinguals don’t seem different from monolinguals, but they know roughly twice as many words as monolinguals, and Dr. Gollan’s research suggests that this doubled load produces subtle but significant differences between bilinguals and monolinguals. Dr. Gollan’s research aims to discover how the language processing system manages the juggling associated with bilingualism to reveal the cognitive mechanisms that allow speakers to produce error free speech.
Diagnosing cognitive impairments in bilinguals is more complicated than in monolinguals. Bilinguals perform differently from monolinguals on many of the most commonly administered measures of neuropsychological functioning, and these tests were developed for use with monolinguals and therefore fail to consider aspects of performance that are unique to bilinguals. Test performance differences may erroneously suggest an "abnormality" when in fact they simply reflect the normal consequences of bilingualism. The clinical goals in Dr. Gollan’s research are 1) to determine whether performance differences between bilinguals and monolinguals will interfere with the detection of cognitive impairment in bilinguals, and 2) to develop tests that cater more specifically to assessment of bilinguals.
- Gollan, T.H., Starr, J., Ferreira, V.S. (in press). More than Use it or Lose it: The number of speakers effect on Heritage Language Proficiency, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
- Gollan, T.H., Schotter, E.R., Gomez, J., Murillo, M., Rayner, K. (2014). Multiple levels of bilingual language control: Evidence from language intrusions in reading aloud. Psychological Science, 25, 585-595.
- Prior, A., & Gollan, T.H., (2013). The elusive link between language control and executive control: A case of limited transfer, The Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25, 622-645.
- Weissberger, G. H., Salmon, D. P., Bondi., M. W., Gollan, T. H. (2013). Which neuropsychological tests predict progression to Alzheimer’s disease in Hispanics? Neuropsychology, 27, 343-355.
- Ivanova, I., Salmon, D.P., & Gollan, T.H., (2013). The Multilingual Naming Test in Alzheimer’s disease: Clues to the origin of naming impairments. The Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 19, 272-283.
- Gollan, T.H. & Goldrick, M. (2012). Does bilingualism twist your tongue? Cognition, 125, 491-497.