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Want sharpen your brain? Learn a foreign language

The elasticity of human brain may be enhanced by learning foreign languages, a new study suggests.

The more foreign languages we learn, the more effectively our brain reacts and processes the data accumulated in the course of learning, researchers said.
The neurophysiological mechanics of language and speech acquisition are underexplored when compared to the brain’s other functions. The reason for such scarce attention is the inability to study verbal function on test animals.
Researchers from the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Russia together with colleagues from the University of Helsinki in Finland carried out experiments where the brain’s electrical activity was measured with electroencephalography (EEG).
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The subjects had electrodes placed on their heads and then listened to recordings of different words in their native language, as well in foreign languages, both known and completely unknown by the subjects.
When the known or unknown words popped up, changes in the brain’s activity were tracked. Researchers focused on the speed at which the brain readjusted its activity to treat unknown words. Afterwards, the accrued neurophysiological data was compared to the subject’s linguistic background: how many languages they knew, at which age they started to learn them, and so on.

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