Dr. Dorit Segal

Discipline: Education and Psychology

Expert in: Bilingualism, ADHD

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Key words: Bilingualism, Attention, Language, Cognition  


I'm a researcher and speech and language pathologist, and I've always been fascinated by the interaction between language and cognitive control. My study examines how people filter out easily-accessible but irrelevant information. So far, I've explored how individuals with attention deficits manage to ignore distracting thoughts while reading digital texts, and how bilingual individuals try to turn off one of their languages when they speak the other (spoiler alert: they can't!). My current research focus lies in how people set aside their own knowledge when adopting other perspectives. I strongly believe that teaching and learning should be approached from a multidisciplinary perspective, incorporating scientific knowledge on language, cognitive control, and their interaction.

Innovation and research-driven modernity

Imagine a history teacher, an expert in the modern era of Europe, attempting to explain the topic to their students. To achieve this, the teacher must set aside their own knowledge and assess what the students know. Does the teacher's age impact their ability to accurately evaluate the students' knowledge? Does the language they speak play a role? In a recent study, my colleague and I explored these questions and uncovered some intriguing findings. As people age, they are less able to set aside their privileged knowledge, and the language they use does not appear to impact this process. These findings are relevant, not only to educational settings, but also to other contexts. They were presented at international conferences on language, bilingualism, and cognitive control.

The personal belief I hold as a researcher 

From my perspective, learning should be approached from a multidisciplinary standpoint, and teaching should be grounded in scientific knowledge of the learning process. During my PhD research, I initiated a collaboration between a researcher specializing in attention functions and another focusing on linguistic processing. This collaboration aimed to unravel the linguistic functioning of students with ADHD. I find these collaborations inspiring as they truly reflect the complexity of the human mind. As a clinician, I aspire to bridge the gap that exists between scientific knowledge and educational and clinical practice by translating my findings into practical guidelines.

My 20-word sentence:
My research, assessing variations in digital learning processes, examines how bilingualism and cognitive control mutually affect learning.