The old year was beautiful. A neighbor in Ecuador.
Welcome to the new. A younger neighbor in Ecuador.
How great it is to know that there are ways to help both the young and old… be smarter.
Here is a secret to start the new year in a smarter way and enjoy Ecuador more. Become bilingual. This helps us use our brain in a better way whether young or old.
An NPR.org article entitled” “New Study Shows Brain Benefits Of Bilingualism” by Barbara J. King shows how bilingualism helps us as we age. Here is an excerpt: What exactly is it about the ability to speak in two languages that seems to provide this protective effect?
The constant need in a bilingual person to selectively activate one language and suppress the other is thought to lead to a better development of executive functions and attentional tasks with cognitive advantages being best documented in attentional control, inhibition, and conflict resolution.
Intriguingly, when a patient speaks three (or more) languages, no extra benefits accrue neurologically. Speaking a single language beyond one’s native tongue is enough to do the trick.
Being bilingual opens up new worlds of global connection and understanding, and almost certainly allows some degree of flexibility in personal expression, too.
Now we know, more concretely and convincingly than before, that there’s a brain benefit to bilingualism, too.
Another study shows that bilingualism helps the youth.
The abstract for the research paper “Ambiguous benefits: the effect of bilingualism on reversing ambiguous” figures by Ellen Bialystok and Dana Shapero says: Two studies are reported in which monolingual and bilingual children, approximately 6 years old, attempted to identify the alternative image in a reversible figure. In both studies, bilingual children were more successful than monolinguals in seeing the other meaning in the images. In the first study, there was no relation between the ability to reverse the interpretation and performance on the children’s embedded figures task, a task that superficially appeared to involve similar processes. The second study replicated this finding but showed that performance was strongly related to success in the post-switch phase of the dimensional change card sort task. In both cases, the meaning of an image must be reassigned, and bilinguals were better in both these tasks.
We have the gift of a new year ahead of us. Let’s celebrate this tonight. Tomorrow one way to begin a better year is to learn a new language.
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