A recent study from Northwestern University has found that learning a new language benefits the brain by making it more ready to multitask and take on new brain challenging tasks.
Only 18 percent of Americans are estimated to be able to fluently speak two or more languages. However, learning a second language may not be as difficult as it seems.
Lead researcher Dr. Viorica Marian and her team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the effect on the brain of language comprehension tasks. The study was published in the journal Brain and Language.
Volunteers were asked to hear a word and then look at a corresponding photo. They would pick out the correct photo out of four, one of which had the correct workd and one of which had a similar sounding word. The goal of the experiment was to see how well the participants could recognize the correct word and ignore the similar sounding words. The results showed that the bilingual participants were better than monolingual participants at filtering out the irrelevant words.