Institute of Education


Multilanguage and Cognition Lab

Understanding how multilanguage acquisition can reshape our mind.

The Multilanguage and Cognition Lab (MULTAC) is formed by a team of researchers interested in studying multilanguage acquisition and its effects on cognitive development across the lifespan. 

" Language is literally the stuff of life. The more you can speak of other people's languages, the more you can be part of their lives and enrich your own."
Our mission


Throughout history, philosophers, educators, health professionals, linguists and psychologists advocated either disadvantages or advantages of 'being bilingual'.

Still today, bilingual and multilingual school children in the UK are labeled as EAL (English as an Additional Language) pupils, which arguably implies a vaguely negative connotation or the categorisation of multilingual learners as having some sort of ‘special needs’.

Anecdotally, there are still cases in which educators discourage multilingual families to raise their children as multilinguals. We reject this argument, and instead encourage researchers in this field to engage with parents and educators. 

Today, it is estimated that a large majority of people in the world speak two or more languages, and that this majority is destined to grow as a consequence of migration flows and globalised employment opportunities.

Multilanguage learning

Multilanguage learning is an inevitable real life global phenomenon, and the impact of this escalating trend on cognition deserves careful and thorough analysis. 

At MULTAC, we adopt a sophisticated developmental approach, including quantitative, qualitative and neuroimaging methods to study the effects of a multilinguistic experience across the lifespan.

Lab members

UCL Institute of Education staff

Members from other institutions

  • Professor Peter Bright, Anglia Ruskin University
  • Dr Andrea Ceccolini, Independent researcher 
  • Dr Yarden Kedar, Beit Berl College
  • Dr Julia Ouzia, King's College London

PhD students

  • Orianna Bairaktari
  • Xuran Han
  • Katherine Oberc
  • Christopher Pelz
Research projects

Experimental research

Our lab conducts experimental research using modern technologies such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).


  • Raising bilingual children
  • Multilanguage acquisition across the lifespan
  • The impact of COVID-19 on early literacy and numeracy amongst disadvantaged pupils in Israel
  • Early Years Oral Language and Communication: Supporting improvements in professional practice and understanding of high quality adult/child interactions in the Early Years setting to improve attainment in Key Stage 1


Filippi, R., Ceccolini, A., Bright, P., (2021). Trajectories of verbal fluency and executive functions in multilingual and monolingual children and adults: A cross-sectional study. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology


Filippi, R., Ceccolini, A., Periche-Tomas, E., Bright, P., (2020). Developmental trajectories of metacognitive processing and executive function from childhood to older age. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1747021820931096

Filippi, R., Periche Tomas, E., Papageorgiou, A., & Bright, P. (2020). A role for the cerebellum in the control of verbal interference: Comparison of bilingual and monolingual adults. PloS one, 15(4), e0231288.

Filippi, R., Ceccolini, A., Periche-Tomas, E., Papageorgiou, A., Bright, P. (2020). Developmental trajectories of control of verbal and non-verbal interference in speech comprehension in monolingual and multilingual children. Cognition

Phelps, J., Filippi, R. (2020). The multilingual world: building a bridge between science and education. Educational neuroscience volume on lifespan, individual differences, and enhancing cognition. Denis Mareschal, Iroise Dumontheil and Michael Thomas. Psychology Press (Taylor & Francis)

Filippi, R., Periche-Tomas, E., Papageorgiou, A., Bairaktari, O., Bright, P. (2020). Multilingualism and Cognitive Development. The Oxford Handbook of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (Oxford University Press)


Ouzia, J., Bright, P., Filippi, R. (2019). Attentional control in bilingualism: an exploration of the effects of trait anxiety and rumination on inhibition. Behavioural Sciences.

Bright, P., Filippi, R (2019). Perspective on the Bilingual Advantage: Challenges and Opportunities. Frontiers in Psychology, 
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01346

Filippi, R., D’Souza, D. &  Bright, P. (2019). A Developmental Approach to Bilingual Research: The Effects of Multi-language Experience from Early Infancy to Old Age. Contemporary Studies in Bilingualism and Multilingualism (Masayo Yamamoto Eds). Sage Publications

Bright, P., Ouzia, J., Filippi, R. (2019). Multilingualism and Metacognitive Processing. In John W. Schwieter (Ed.) The Handbook of the Neuroscience of Multilingualism. Wiley-Blackwell


Filippi, R., D'Souza, D., & Bright, P. (2018). A Developmental Approach to Bilingual Research: The Effects of Multi-language Experience from Early Infancy to Old Age. International Journal of Bilingualism, 1-13

Filippi, R. (2018). Bilingual cognition and language: The state of the science across its subfield. First Language, 38, 669-671. doi:10.1177/0142723718802034

Papageorgiou, A., Bright, P., Periche Tomas, E., & Filippi, R. (2018). Evidence against a cognitive advantage in the older bilingual population. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1-10 doi:10.1177/1747021818796475

Mercure, E., Quiroz, I., Goldberg, L., Bowden-Howl, H., Coulson, K., Gliga, T., . . . Macsweeney, M. (2018). Impact of language experience on attention to faces in infancy: Evidence from unimodal and bimodal bilingual infants. Frontiers in Psychology, 9 ARTN 1943. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01943

D'Souza, D., & Filippi, R. (2018). Progressive modularization: Reframing our understanding of typical and atypical language development. First Language. 37, 518-529. doi:10.1177/0142723717720038

Naeem, K., Filippi, R., Periche-Tomas, E., Papageorgiou, A., & Bright, P. (2018). The Importance of Socioeconomic Status as a Modulator of the Bilingual Advantage in Cognitive Ability. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, ARTN 1818. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01818


D'Souza, D. & Filippi, R. (2017). Progressive modularization: reframing our understanding of typical and atypical language development. First Language Acquisition.


Folke, T., Ouzia, J., Bright, P., De Martino, B. & Filippi, R. (2016). A Bilingual Disadvantage in Metacognitive processes. Cognition, 150, 119-132

Kerrigan, L., Thomas, M.S.C., Bright, P., & Filippi, R. (2016). Evidence of an advantage in visual-spatial memory for bilingual compared to monolingual speakers. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition, 1-11


Filippi, R., Morris, J., Richardson, F., Bright, P., Thomas, M.S.C, Karmiloff-Smith, A., and Marian, V. (2015). Bilingual children show an advantage in controlling verbal interference during spoken language comprehension. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition, 18(03), 490-501.

Filippi, R. (2015). Antecollis: case report. Reactions, 1573, 182-17.


Filippi, R., Rasetti, M., Lenzi, M., Bright, P. (2014). Possible effects of pramipexole on neck muscles in a patient with Parkinson's disease. Oxford Medical Case Report, 2014(1), 8-10


Filippi, R., Karaminis, T., Thomas, M.S.C. (2013). Bilingual language switching in production: empirical and computational studies. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition, 17, 294-315


Filippi, R., Leech, R., Thomas, M.S.C., Green, D.W., and Dick, F.,  (2012). A bilingual advantage in controlling language interference during sentence comprehension. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition, 15(04), 858-872


Filippi, R., Richardson, F., Dick, F., Leech, R., Green, D.W., Thomas, M.S.C., and Price, C.J.  (2011). The right posterior paravermis and the control of verbal interference. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(29): 10732-10740


Richardson, F., Thomas, M.S.C, F., Filippi, R., Harth, H., and Price, C.J. (2009). Contrasting effects on vocabulary knowledge on temporal and parietal brain structures across lifespan. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 83, 109-113.

" To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world."

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