Submitted by kwa on Thu, 04/09/2015 - 18:02
Learning Language is a Workout for the Brain
We are our brains for the most part.
"Like physical exercise, the more you use specific areas of your brain, the more it grows and gets stronger"
Whether or not you believe in a soul, you cannot deny with all the scientific evidence that the brain is extremely vital to our well-being.
Studies have shown that a small change to our brain such as an injury or a drug can affect us immensely. Movies like Limitless fantasize about unlocking brain potential and movies like Reqiuem for a Dream show us the potential damage of introducing chemicals to our neural networks.
Myth: You Are Born with a Set Intelligence.
When Alfred Binet came up with the IQ test, people were convinced that intelligence was unchanging and could be quantitatively measured like grams or rice or Newtonian force. This was over 50 years ago. Our understanding of biology, especially neurology, has jumped leaps and bounds since then.
The above results show that more neural pathways were created by learning a second language.
Our brain goes through a lot of development from when we are born until we are about 25-30. At this point, our brain is fully matured, but can still form neural networks. The above diagram is an experiment that has been replicated many times in different fashions, showing that there are more neural networks created for those who learn a second language.
So You're Telling Me Learning a Second Language Makes Me Smarter?
Yes. This study by Li Lab, Penn State found that learning a second language significantly changed the brains anatomy in a positive manner for both the old and young alike. This is consistent with many other studies.
""those using a foreign language were twice as likely to respond with the utilitarian approach that is more in the service of the common good of saving more people"-University of Chicago study
Actually, a lot of studies were already done in Japanese and the results are the same. This study even found that Japanesebilinguals are better at identifying color. Isn't that amazing? Learning a second language literally changes the way you see the world.
But Learning a New Language is So Hard!
Good. If it was easy, it wouldn't be worth it.
What's important is that you know it's possible. But like working out, the harder you have to work at it and the more you have to sweat, the more you are getting out of it. Check out LingoVideocast to see different languages or our Youtube channel to get started with some content.