Being Bilingual Makes You Smarter: Bilingualism Interferes With Learning The Mother Tongue (Doesn’t It

 Being Bilingual Makes You Smarter: Bilingualism Interferes With Learning The Mother Tongue (Doesn’t It

Why should you learn another language?

SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world.

But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people.

Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter.

51wva5j1CQL. BO2,204,203,200 PIsitb sticker arrow click,TopRight,35, 76 AA300 SH20 OU01  Being Bilingual Makes You Smarter: Bilingualism Interferes With Learning The Mother Tongue (Doesn’t ItIt can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.

This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century.

Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development.

They were not wrong about the interference: there is ample evidence that in a bilingual’s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the other.

But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn’t so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise.

It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles.

One recent study found that learning a language expands the brain, and another study found that bilingual brains tend to develop Alzheimer’s disease, on average, four years later than their peers.

Another study found that children who grew up in bilingual households have greater amounts of self-control and are better at learning abstract rules and ignoring unnecessary information – benefits that can be seen as early as in babies seven months old.

It is believed that the benefit arises because bilingual people need to hold multiple languages in their brain. That extra processing comes with increased control.

Learning Another Language Boosts Your Ability to Make Rational Decisions
Researchers from the University of Chicago found that learning a foreign language may boost people’s ability to make rational decisions.

Source: Medical Daily

BY MAKINI BRICE | OCT 25, 2012
Time to brush off that German textbook – and not just because you’ll be able to communicate with German speakers. Researchers from the University of Chicago found that learning a foreign language may boost people’s ability to make rational decisions.

If two situations are equivalent and impersonal, people have a greater aversion to risk if the situation is presented as a potential gain rather than a potential loss.

The study was made up of six experiments conducted on three continents in three languages: English, Korean, French, and Spanish. The studies examined two different cognitive biases, both based on how risk-averse humans are.

One was based on the idea that a loss will be overwhelmingly more painful than a gain would be joyful. The researchers gave participants $ 15 in single dollar bills, and offered people the following wager: if they correctly predicted a coin toss to be heads or tails, they would earn $ 1.50.

If they incorrectly predicted the outcome of the toss, they would lose $ 1.

Statistically, they should have chosen to bet the money every time, because chances were that they would make money.

But in their native tongues, participants refused to bet a significant amount of the time, only betting 54 percent of the time.

In their foreign languages – languages in which they were proficient, but not balanced bilingual – they took the bet 72 percent of the time.

Researchers also tested a second cognitive bias: if two situations are equivalent and impersonal, people have a greater aversion to risk if the situation is presented as a potential gain rather than a potential loss.

According to the blog Wired, in the scientists’ example, they posed the following example to doctors:

“The U.S. is preparing for the outbreak of an unusual Asian disease, which is expected to kill 600 people.

Two alternative programs to combat the disease have been proposed.

Assume that the exact scientific estimates of the consequences of the programs are as follows:

If program A is adopted, 200 people will be saved.

If program B is adopted, there is a one-third probability that 600 people will be saved and a two-thirds probability that no people will be saved.

Which of the two programs would you favor?”

In that scenario, 72 percent of physicians overwhelmingly chose Option A over Option B, because they would rather choose the safe strategy where people lived, over a risky strategy.

So researchers offered the same scenario, worded differently:

“The U.S. is preparing for the outbreak of an unusual Asian disease, which is expected to kill 600 people.

Two alternative programs to combat the disease have been proposed.

Assume that the exact scientific estimates of the consequences of the programs are as follows:

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