News

    Font Size:
  • L
  • M
  • S
2015.1116

Does leaning a language change your brain?

Most people have the experience of leaning a foreign language, but do you know that language learning may change the structure of the brain? The Aim for the Top University Project held a series speeches on “words, culture and civilization” and invited Li Ping, the professor of Psychology, Linguistics, and Information Science & Technology to deliver a speech. Professor Li discussed the activation of the brain from the angle of language learning.

On his speech of “Neuroplasticity and Learning: Brain Changes from second language experiences”, Professor Li firstly pointed out the interaction between neuroscience, language and even culture. He said something about infants learning a language and the brains of adults are already structured compared to infants, so it’s harder for adults to learn a second language.
He also talked about his research of observing the activity of brain by magnetic resonance imaging scanning. The distribution of protein in the brains of participants changed before and after they learn a language. The research suggests that learning a language does affect brains and different parts of the brain reacts differently.
Is people who learn a second language smarter? Professor Li shared a Canadian research that bilingual speakers shows Alzheimer’s symptoms 4 to 5 years later than those who speaks one language. This study has risen a huge debate. Li said that there’s no proof that leaning a second language prevents Alzheimer’s disease, but by observing the MRI images, he found that those who speaks only one language rely more and more on their frontal lobe so the parietal lobe and the inferior parietal lobule are less used. Hence, it’s referred that through language learning, the brain can be activated.
Professor Li demonstrated the virtual leaning platform developed by the University of Pennsylvania and The Aim for the Top University Project. The user can enter a virtual space and tape whatever they see, the pronunciation of the thing they tap will be played, which is an interesting way to learn. He concluded that through the study, the change of the brain differs person by person according to how they learn. Better learning method can be developed.