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Lifelong bilinugals may have more efficient brains

February 4, 2013

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From CNN.

Neuroscientists have been discovering mounting evidence that being fluent in more than one language protects against age-related cognitive declines.  But there’s still the major question: Why?

Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to get a closer look at the brains of both bilinguals and monolinguals, comparing how their activity differs during specific tasks.  This new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Neuroscience,  expands upon previous ideas that bilinguals tend to show superior task-switching abilities compared to monolinguals. The study was led by Brian Gold of the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

Methods

Scientists recruited 110 people who all took a survey about language background, abilities and frequency of usage. “Lifelong bilinguals” were defined as people who are fluent in two languages, specifically those who spoke English and another language every day since age 10 or younger.  There was a variety of languages represented among the bilinguals, which adds to the strength of the experiments, said Judith Kroll, professor of linguistics and psychology at Pennsylvania State University, who was not involved in this study.

Please read more here.

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