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#23 - Greetings From the Lab

Learning Foreign Languages Enhances the Brain’s Elasticity

Learning Foreign Languages Enhances the Brain’s Elasticity (Courtesy of ShouldWe)

Learning foreign languages enhances the brain’s elasticity and its ability to code information. That’s what scientists from the Higher School of Economics (HSE) have discovered and recently published in Scientific Reports. According to the study, the more foreign languages we learn, the more effectively our brain reacts and processes the data accumulated in the course of learning.

Researchers carried out an investigation, in which 22 students—10 male and 12 female, with the average age being 24—participated. The subjects had electrodes placed on their heads and then listened to recordings of different words in their native language and in foreign languages. When the known or unknown words popped up, changes in the brain’s activity were tracked.

The experiment showed that the brain’s electrical activity of those who already knew some foreign languages was higher. According to the researchers, the more languages someone knew, the faster the neuron network coding the information on the new words was formed. So loading the mind with more knowledge boosts the brain’s elasticity. This could be of crucial importance in treating speech impediments after strokes, for example.

About the Author

Celia Sampol has been a journalist for 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national media (Agence France Presse, Liberation). She's the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine.

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