Learning a New Language Later in Life Helps Keep Your Brain Healthy
It's never too late to learn a new language. In fact, it's probably most beneficial to do so later in life.
Have you been dying to learn Spanish, Mandarin, or Italian but fear that the window for picking up new languages has already closed in your life? While it's true the brain's ability to adapt and change things (known as neuroplasticity) decreases over time, Mo Costandi of The Guardian explains how older language learners possess their own certain advantages. He also goes over the ample research suggesting links between bilingualism and the delayed onset of dementia.
One of the big differences between the ways younger and older learners pick up language is how information is stored in the brain. Bilingual children store all their language information in the same location while an older learner, whose brains is already developed and set in its ways, utilizes different sectors for language activity. This means that learning a new tongue later in life stimulates more segments of the brain. Doing so is valuable for health because the brain, as with all body parts, needs exercise to ward off decrepitude.
So while learning a language later in life is more difficult than in childhood, doing so is perhaps most beneficial when your brain's functions are beginning to decline. Doing so could help ward off conditions such as Alzheimer's. This means that if you're a 74-year-old monolinguist who's always wanted to dabble in Croatian or something, there's no better time to start than now.
For more, keep reading at The Guardian
Photo credit: Howard Sandler / Shutterstock
VR's coolest feature? Boosting compassion and empathy.
- Virtual reality fills us with awe and adrenaline — and the technology is only at a crude stage, explains VR filmmaker Danfung Dennis. It's capable of inspiring something much greater in us: empathy.
- With coming technological advancements in pixel display, haptics, and sound tracking, VR users will finally be able to know what it's like to really take another person's perspective. Empathy is inherent in humans (and other animal species), but just as it can be squashed, it must be practiced in order to develop.
- "This ability to improve ourselves to become a more empathetic and compassionate society is what I hope we will use this technology for," Dennis says.
We have to practice doing nothing more often.
- Constantly being busy is neurologically taxing and emotionally draining.
- In his new book, Jon Kabat-Zinn writes that you're doing a disservice to others by always being busy.
- Busyness is often an excuse for the discomfort of being alone with your own thoughts.
That's a sharp increase from the 1960s when it took the same share of scientists an average of 35 years to drop out of academia.
- The study tracked the careers of more than 100,000 scientists over 50 years.
- The results showed career lifespans are shrinking, and fewer scientists are getting credited as the lead author on scientific papers.
- Scientists are still pursuing careers in the private sector, however there are key differences between research conducted in academia and industry.
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