Gigi Luk

Academic title(s): 


Gigi Luk
Contact Information
Email address: 
gigi.luk [at]
Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology

Gigi Luk's research on the cognitive and neural consequences of bilingualism extends across the lifespan. She leads a research program that examines how diverse language experiences shapes development and learning. Using neuroimaging and behavioral methods, Luk studies bilingualism as an interactional experience that shapes cognition. In addition to investigating the science of bilingualism, Luk has examined how to harness scientific findings on bilingualism to improve educational experience for children from diverse language backgrounds. In particular, she has established a research program investigating: (1) effective ways to examine bilingualism and learning; (2) how bilingualism and executive functions interact to influence literacy outcomes; and (3) brain mechanisms underlying learning new information in children and adults. Luk obtained her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from York University, Canada in 2008. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rotman Research Institute at the Baycrest Center before joining the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011. In January 2019, she join the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill.


Postdoctoral Fellow, Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Center

Ph.D., Developmental and Cognitive Processes, York University 

M.A., Developmental and Cognitive Processes, York University

Sp. Hon. B. A., Psychology, York University

Areas of expertise: 

Cognitive development


Language development 

Literacy acquisition 


Lifespan development 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Functional and structural neural networks

Office hours: 

By appointment.

Current research: 

Dr. Luk current research investigates:

1. How does contextual factors in the environment, such as social perception of bilingualism, language immersion experience, and music experience shape language acquisition and cognitive development?

2. What is the relationship between language and reading comprehension in bilingual children? 

3. What are the neural mechanisms underlying learning new information that are modulated by language experience?


Awards, honours, and fellowships: 

National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship (2013-2014)

Graduate supervision: 

Human Development

Dr. Luk is currently accepting applications at the MA and PhD level. Volunteer and part-time RA opportunities are also available. Please email me directly with your CV and research interests.

Selected publications: 

* Graduate student or postdoctoral researcher as co-author

Huang, Y.*, Ballinger, S., & Luk, G. (2024). An exploratory study of mainland Chinese parents’ ideologies about bilingualism and bilingual education. Journal of Multilingualism and Multicultural Development.

Ozernov-Palchik, O., Pollack, C.*, Bonawitz, E., Christodoulou, J. A., Gaab, N., Gabrieli, J. D. E., Kievlan, P. M., Kirby, C., Lin, G., Luk, G., & Nelson, C. A. (2024). Reflections on the past two decades of Mind, Brain, and Education. Mind, Brain, and Education.

Anderson, J. A. E., Yurtsever, A.*, Fisher-Skau, O.*, Cherep, L. A.*, MacPhee, I.*, Luk, G., & Grundy, J. G. (2024). Examining the consistency in bilingualism and white matter research: A meta-analysis. Neuropsychologia, 108801.

Dass, R.*, Smirnova-Godoy, I.*, McColl, O.*, Grundy, J. G., Luk, G., & Anderson, J. A. E. (2024). A Content Overlap Analysis of bilingualism questionnaires: Considering diversity. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1–7.

Feng, J.*, Cho, S.*, & Luk, G. (2023). Assessing Theory of Mind in bilinguals: A scoping review on tasks and study designs. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1–15.

Oh, J. H. J.*, Bertone, A., & Luk, G. (2023). Reading comprehension and cognitive correlates in multilingual children and adolescents. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, Advanced online publication.

Oh, J. H. J.*, Basma, B.*, Bertone, A., & Luk, G. (2023). Assessments of English reading and language comprehension in bilingual children: A systematic review 2010-2021. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, Online First.

Mancilla-Martinez, J., Oh, M. H.*, Luk, G., & Rollins, A. (2023). Special education representation trends vary by language status: Evidence of Underrepresentation in Tennessee. Journal of Learning Disabilities. Online First.

Hantman, R. M.*, Choi, A.*, Hartwick, K.*, Nadler, Z.*, & Luk, G. (2023). A systematic review of bilingual experiences, labels, and descriptions in autism spectrum disorder research. Frontiers in Psychology, 14.

Surrain, S.* & Luk, G. (2023) Perceived value of bilingualism among U.S. parents: The role of language experience and local multilingualism. Translational Issues in Psychological Science. Advanced online publication.

Luk, G. (2023). Justice and equity for whom? Reframing research on the “bilingual (dis)advantage.” Applied Psycholinguistics, 44, 301-315.

Rowe, M. L., Kirby, A. L.*, Dahbi, M.*, & Luk, G. (2023). Promoting language and literacy skills through music in early childhood classrooms. The Reading Teacher.

Oh, J. H. J.*, Bertone, A., & Luk, G. (2023). Multilingual experience and executive functions among children and adolescents in a multilingual city. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 26(2), 158–172.

Kirby, A. L*., Dahbi, M.*, Surrain, S.*, Rowe, M. L., & Luk, G. (2023). Music uses in preschool classrooms in the U.S.: A multiple-methods study. Early Childhood Education Journal, 51, 515-529.

Mancilla-Martinez, J., Oh, M. H.*, Luk, G., & Rollins, A. (2022). Language and special education status: 2009–2019 Tennessee trends. Educational Researcher, 51, 419-422,

Macdonald, D.*, Luk, G., Quintin, E.-M. (2022). Early reading comprehension intervention for preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder and hyperlexia. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 52, 1652-1672.

Smith, S. A.*, Leon Guerrero, S.*, Surrain, S.*, & Luk, G. (2022). Phonetic discrimination, phonological awareness, and pre-literacy skills in Spanish-English dual language preschoolers. Journal of Child Language, 49, 80-113.


For a list of publications, please visit or



Professional activities: 

Associate Editor for Child Development (2023-present)

Associate Editor for Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (2016-2021)

Editorial board members for International Journal of Behavioral Development (2016 - present), AERA Open (2015 - present), Journal of Educational Psychology (2020-present)

Program committee for Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD, 2019-2025)

Program co-chair for the SRCD 2023 Biennial

Research Advisory Council on Multilingual Learners, Massachusetts Department of Education (2017 - 2018)



Selected talks and presentations: 

Luk, G. (2024, March 12). Examining Multilingualism at the Interaction of Development and Learning. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Luk, G. (2024, March 1). Achieving Equity and Justice in Research for Linguistically Diverse Populations. PsychoShorts. University of Ottawa. Ottawa, ON, Canada.

Luk, G. (2024, February 7). Examining the Developmental and Learning Aspects of Multilingualism. Inaugural series speaker for Bilingualism Matters. Graduate School of Education. University of California Irvine, US.

Luk, G. (2024, February 2). Examining the Developmental and Learning Aspects of Multilingualism. Colloquium series on Applied Human Development. Graduate School of Education. University of California Los Angeles, US.

Luk, G. (2023, November 17). Examining the Developmental and Learning Aspects of Multilingualism. AcqVA Aurora Guest Lecture, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Luk, G. (2023, October 18). Examining Multilingualism in the Intersection of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Education. UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics Research Seminar, University College London, Institute of Education, London, U.K.

Luk, G. (2023, October 17). Examining Multilingualism in the Intersection of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Education. University of Reading Speaker series, University of Reading, Reading, U.K.

Luk, G. (2023, September 22). Examining Multilingualism in the Intersection of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Education. Transborder Cultures and Bilingualism Colloquium Speaker, University of Texas El Paso, El Paso, TX, US.

Luk, G. (2023, September 14). Language or Learning Differences? Considering Linguistic Diversity in Special Education. Linguistically Diversity Students with Disabilities (LDSD) Inaugurate series speaker. Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, US.

Back to top