I’ve found it strange that some people are not convinced of the advantages of having a bilingual brain and being bilingual or trilingual. In this second part, we’re going to be highlighting the cognitive ones.
Bilingualism has positive effects at both ends of the age spectrum: Bilingual children as young as seven months can better adjust to environmental changes, while bilingual seniors can experience less cognitive decline. And the benefits can been in students who’ve studied with Idiomas Advantage!
It’s interesting to note that up to 1970s, bilingualism in children was often seen as being a disadvantage and to be the cause of a variety of learning difficulties from dyslexia to slowing down learning in general.
In the 21st century, neuropsychology and neurolinguistics as well as more recent studies using brain imaging technology have uncovered many cognitive benefits of being multilingual.
Firstly, It would appear that having at least two sets of languages strengthens the 4 main cognitive processes: memory, attention, perception and emotional skills, including being able to take another person’s perspective and be better at solving mental puzzles and sorting games. Other research points to benefits in the development of other executive functions, such as planning and maintaining attention, inhibitory control, task switching and resolving conflict.
Studies have also shown that bilingual children achieve higher scores than monolinguals on a number of tests of cognitive ability, including mental flexibility, working memory, non-verbal problem-solving tasks, understanding the conventional origin of names, distinguishing between semantic similarity and phonetic similarity.
A third area that bilinguals seem to benefit from is a delay and lessening in the deterioration of cognitive competencies by improving the cognitive reserve, that is, the protective effect of mental and physical activity carried out throughout life in the face of healthy aging. The onset of symptoms in people suffering from dementia may be delayed by just over four years.
A further surprising benefit of bilingualism that speaking several languages you are twice as likely to recover your normal cognitive functions after a stroke. In one study, 40.5% of bilinguals recovered normal cognition, compared to 19.6% of monolinguals.
So, even if you weren’t raised as a bilingual in a bilingual community or family, the benefits of speaking another language regularly at a high level can bring a multitude of cognitive and social benefits right through to old age. This is why you should sign up for a language course with idiomas advantage right now!!