Learning languages is good for brain health – this statement has been supported by various research studies conducted by scientists all over the world. Learn in what ways studying foreign languages benefits our psyche.
Learning languages is good for brain health: Reasons to learn
Why do we learn foreign languages? To succeed in the professional area, to visit other countries or simply because we enjoy the sound of a particular language and the culture of those who speak it.
Meanwhile, experts from Online French Classes claim that learning a language is good for brain health, as it carries a considerable benefit for our psyche and enhances our development in general. We have all heard about extraordinary language learners – polyglots. But did you know that it is much healthier for our brain if we speak few languages not so perfectly instead of mastering only one of them?
When studying different languages, a person can expect a significant improvement in his/her comparative thinking and analytical skills. Moreover, language learning represents one of the greatest ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. As you can see, developing foreign language skills can have the benefits of unique cognitive training. So, what are the specific advantages of this training for our brain?
How can learning a language benefit your brain health?
Knowledge of several languages increases the speed of brain reaction
The more languages you know, the faster a neural network of coding information about new words is formed. That is, you consume and analyze the information way better and quicker. The speed of the brain’s responsiveness improves, as does the speed of information processing.
Such a conclusion was reached by a group of scientists led by a neurophysiologist Yuri Shtyrov, the former head of the laboratory of magnetoencephalography at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (Cambridge, UK).
During the research conducted by Shtyrov and his colleagues, it was recorded that participants who could speak several foreign languages displayed a higher level of the brain’s electrical activity. Code switching forces our brain to use a bigger number of neural connections and, as a result, increases the speed of cerebration. That is one of the numerous evidence that learning languages is good for brain health.
Memorizing new words motivates you to continue learning
According to Pablo Ripollés, a researcher at the University of Barcelona, the pleasure and excitement we feel when learning new words and expressions could be one of the major factors in the development of human speech. Ripollés’ conclusion was supported by his German and British colleagues.
Further studies using functional MRI indicated that the successful memorization of new words activates the so-called ventral zone of the striatum. The latter is responsible for both motivation and enjoyment we experience when completing tasks.
Great plasticity of the brain postpones the onset of dementia
It was first discovered in the 1970s that bilinguals (people equally fluent in two languages and using them in everyday communication) make decisions faster, concentrate quicker and switch attention easier.
Much later, in 2012, an extensive study by a group of scientists led by the Canadian professor Ellen Bialystok discovered some inspiring data. It was argued that bilingualism can delay dementia in the elderly. Bilingual people living with Alzheimer’s disease sufferers were diagnosed on average 3-4 years later than monolinguals.
The state of complete dementia occurred in bilinguals 5.1 years later than it did in the monolingual individuals. Scientists agreed that this was due to the vast experience of switching from one language to another. It stimulated brain activity, released extra brain power and slowed down the degradation process. Indeed, learning a language is good for our brain health.
Language skills increase intelligence
Those who speak two or more languages can boast of better cognitive abilities. Mastering several languages or, to put it another way, the brain coding system, trains people to apply knowledge from various areas to solve certain problems.
The study of Professor Thomas Buck and his colleagues from Daytona State College in which they compared monolinguals and bilinguals has shown that the latter can concentrate better and speak more fluently. Supporting Bialystok’s conclusion, Buck confirmed the relationship between foreign language proficiency and a later onset of dementia.
Studying foreign languages trains the skill of multi-tasking
According to the American psychologist Judith F. Kroll, it is easier for bilinguals to distinguish between important and minor tasks. Bilinguals are also able to work on multiple projects at the same time. Because bilinguals’ language systems intersect with each other, they experience constant switching from one language code to another. It is proven to be a form of brain training similar to that of solving puzzles or mathematical tasks. Remaining ordinary people, bilinguals quickly master specific skills that help them to solve problems in the shortest (and easiest) way possible.
Health is as important as our personal and professional development. Learning languages is good for brain health, so why not delve deep into the world of foreign cultures and word systems? Do not worry. Online tutors can support and guide you through the exciting jungles of mastering your language skills.