|Learning a foreign language helps the brain.|
According to the study, the neurophysiological mechanics of language and speech acquisition are underexplored when compared to the brain's other functions. The reason for such scarce attention is the inability to study verbal function on test animals.
Researchers carried out experiments where the brain's electrical activity was measured with EEG (electroencephalography). Twenty-two students in total (10 male and 12 female) participated in the investigation, with the average age being 24. The subjects had electrodes placed on their heads and then listened to recordings of different words in their native language, as well in foreign languages, both known and completely unknown by the subjects. When the known or unknown words popped up, changes in the brain's activity were tracked. Researchers especially focused on the speed at which the brain readjusted its activity to treat unknown words. Afterwards, the accrued neurophysiological data was compared to the subjects' linguistic background: how many languages they knew, at which age they started to learn it, and so on. Apparently, the ability of the brain to quickly process information depends on one's "linguistic anamneses."
The experiment has shown that the brain's electrical activity of those participants who had already known some foreign languages, was higher. The author of the study, Yuriy Shtyrov commented that the more languages someone mastered, the faster the neuron network coding the information on the new words was formed. Consequently, this new data stimulates the brain's physiology: loading the mind with more knowledge boosts its elasticity.
Read more at Science Daily