Learning of a second foreign language is particularly beneficial not only for one’s curriculum but also for the brain, according to a new scientific research, which comes to confirm previous studies claiming that knowledge of foreign languages is a beneficial form of education of the brain, which enhances concentration, attention, memory, etc.
Researchers from the Northwestern University of Illinois, who published the study in the journal of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), concluded that bilingualism affects the brain and fundamentally alters the way the nervous system reacts to sounds, as shown by the laboratory experiments.
As the scientists found, when there was a relative quiet in the lab, two groups of people, those who spoke only their native language and those who also spoke a second one, had similar brain responses to sounds. But when the lab was deliberately flooded by sound stimuli and noises, then the members of the second language group managed much better to edit the sounds, to focus their attention to the voice of each speaker and to cut off the other noises in the background. The difference in the performance between the two groups of volunteers was visible in the brain waves.
Those who know foreign languages and, therefore, seem to have more efficient acoustic system, are more flexible and better able to automatically focus on sound stimuli and to efficiently process them.