A study by a research team appointed by the European Commission finds that multililngualism may benefit brains in a variety of ways:

  • learning in general
  • complex thinking and creativity
  • mental flexibility
  • interpersonal and communication skills
  • delay of age-related mental diminishment

“It is obvious that enhanced memory can have a profound impact on cognitive function,” says David Marsh, specialized planner at the Continuing Professional Development Centre of Jyväskylä University, who coordinated the international research team behind the study. ” This may be one reason why the multilingual shows superior performance in handling complex and demanding problem-solving tasks when compared to monolinguals. They seem to be able to have an advantage in handling certain thinking processes.”

Apparently learning a language as a discreet subject does not work as effectively as embedding second-language learning into other subjects. The methodology of the study is unclear to me, but I haven’t read the whole report.


Image from Nature magazine