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Learning foreign languages may sharpen our brain


London: Learning foreign languages enhances our brain’s elasticity and its ability to code information, a study has found.

The study mentions that the more foreign languages one learns, the more effectively brain reacts and processes the data accumulated in the course of learning.

Researchers carried out experiments among 22 students (10 male and 12 female) where the brain’s electrical activity was measured with EEG (electroencephalography).

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.

When the known or unknown words popped up, changes in the brain’s activity were tracked and the researchers especially focused on the speed at which the brain readjusted its activity to treat unknown words.

The experiment showed that the brain’s electrical activity of those participants who had already known some foreign languages, was higher.

“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,” said Yuriy Shtyrov, researcher at the University of Helsinki in the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“When we achieve better insight into the principles of creating and strengthening neuron networks, we will be able to harness these mechanisms, speed them up and improve the learning process,” Shtyrov added.

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