Have you tried learning a second language?
No, you’re not too old!
It’s not too late.
Thomas Bak, University of Edinburgh
speaking an extra language
slows the mental decline
that occurs with ageing.
IQ didn’t matter.
And how old you are didn’t matter.
Using data from the Lothian Birth Cohort study of people born in 1936, in and around Edinburgh, he found that almost one-third of those who had reached the age of 70 (262) had learned to speak at least one additional language; 65 people had learned it after the age of 18.
Cognitive test results at the age of 70 were compared with the test scores from when the participants were 11. The ‘extra language’ group performed better than would be predicted from their scores at age 11, indicating that the extra language itself is beneficial. Not only that, general intelligence and reading were also higher than expected.
Bak’s team found that the benefits to the ageing brain were comparable to physical activity, or not smoking.
Learning a new language protects the brain because speaking several languages constantly activates all the available words in each one before choosing the appropriate expression.
It’s a mental workout!
Which language will you choose?Reference: Journal reference: Annals of Neurology, doi.org/s3c. Cited: June 2014 by Catherine de Lange – New Scientist