How a Second Language Rewires Your Brain

While studying a second language is known to be more difficult in adulthood, recent research shows that even adult brains can mimic the brain patterns of native speakers. 

What's the Latest Development?

Using an artificial 13-world language called Brocanto2, scientists have concluded that even adult brains, which struggle to pick up new languages, can mimic the brain patterns of native speakers. Scientists at Georgetown and the U of Illinois divided a group of participants into two categories, one which received immersion-level instruction and one which did not. The results showed that adults who were more immersed were better able to identify errors in the language and that their brain patterns more closely approximated those of native speakers. 

What's the Big Idea?

After a time, both groups achieved the same level of proficiency in the language, equally identifying when an error had  been made. But their brains were never evenly matched. "Only the brains in the immersion training group processed language like native speakers' brains would." Perhaps more interestingly, after five months without exposure to the language, the brains of both groups became more similar to that of native speakers. The research suggests there are benefits to taking pauses when learning a second language. 

Photo credit:

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

Why the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner won’t feature a comedian in 2019

It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Culture & Religion
  • The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
  • The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
  • Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Keep reading Show less

Juice is terrible for children. Why do we keep giving it to them?

A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.

Pixabay user Stocksnap

Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you. 

Keep reading Show less

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Keep reading Show less