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Article Date: 21 Feb 2011 – 1:00 PST


Once likened to a confusing tower of Babel, speaking more than one language can actually bolster brain function by serving as a mental gymnasium, according to researchers.


Recent research indicates that bilingual speakers can outperform monolinguals – people who speak only one language – in certain mental abilities, such as editing out irrelevant information and focusing on important information, said Judith Kroll, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Penn State. These skills make bilinguals better at prioritizing tasks and working on multiple projects at one time.


“We would probably refer to most of these cognitive advantages as multi-tasking,” said Kroll, director of the Center for Language Science. “Bilinguals seem to be better at this type of perspective taking.”


Kroll said that these findings counter previous conclusions that bilingualism hindered cognitive development.


“The received wisdom was that bilingualism created confusion, especially in children,” Kroll told attendees at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington D.C. “The belief was that people who could speak two or more languages had difficulty using either. The bottom line is that bilingualism is good for you.”


Read in Full: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/216983.php



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