Bonjour Brain, Work Out With A New Language
Learning a new language changes your brain, both structurally and functionally, no matter the age of the learner.
Learning a new language changes your brain, both structurally and functionally, no matter the age of the learner, say Penn State researchers.
“Learning and practicing something, for instance a second language, strengthens the brain,” said neuroscientist Ping Li.
“A very interesting finding is that, contrary to previous studies, the brain is much more plastic than we thought,” said Li, about the study published recently in the journal Cortex.
“We can still see anatomical changes in the brain [in the elderly], which is very encouraging news for aging. And learning a new language can help lead to more graceful aging.”
Li and colleagues have begun working on interactive ways to teach language using virtual 3-D-like environments with situation-based learning to help the brain make some of those new connections more effectively. They believe this could lead to behavioral and physical changes similar to the patterns of learning a language as a child.