1
   

Knowing Two Languages May Slow Effects of Aging on the Mind

 
 
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2004 12:59 am
Quote:
Bilingualism May Keep the Mind Young

Knowing Two Languages May Slow Effects of Aging on the Mind


By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
on Monday, June 14, 2004


June 14, 2004 -- Two languages may be better than one when it comes to keeping the mind young. A new study shows that being fluent in two languages may help prevent some of the effects of aging on brain function.


Researchers found that people who were bilingual most of their lives were better able to stay focused on a task amidst a rapidly changing environment compared with people who only spoke one language.


The ability to keep one's attention on a task is known as fluid intelligence, and it is one of the first aspects of brain function to deteriorate as people get older.


Researchers suggest that that the ability to stay focused and to manage attention while ignoring irrelevant information may involve some of the same brain processes involved in using two languages. This means bilingualism may offer a wide range of benefits for keeping the mind sharp and fighting the effects of aging.


Bilingualism May Counter Effects of Aging

In the study, which appears in this month's issue of the journal Psychology and Aging, researchers compared the reaction time of a task performed by a group of bilingual and monolingual middle-aged (30- to 59-year-olds) and older (60- to 88-year-olds). The task measured brain thinking processes known to decline with age.


For example, in one test the participants watched flashing squares on a computer screen and were asked to press a particular colored key when they saw a square in a certain location of the screen. Half of the squares were presented on the same side of the screen where the correct key was located and the other half of the squares were on the opposite side of the screen to where the correct key was located.


Then the number of squares was also increased and other distractions were introduced to analyze reaction time.


Researchers found that in all phases of the testing, both younger and older bilingual adults performed the task faster than those who only spoke one language, regardless of positioning of the squares or the speed in which the squares were presented.


More importantly, researchers say that the bilingual participants were also less distracted by unnecessary information.


All of the bilinguals in the study had used their two languages everyday since they were 10 years old, and researchers say that the life-long experience of managing two languages may prevent some of the negative effects of aging on processing of distracting information.

SOURCES: Bialystock, E. Psychology and Aging, June 2004; vol 19: pp 290-303. News release, American Psychological Association

from: WebMDHealth
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,191 • Replies: 13
No top replies

 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2004 03:07 am
Innaresting.....wish I spoke German better, nicht wahr?
0 Replies
 
Relative
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2004 03:53 am
Heh, I cannot go without distraction for 5 minutes, and I 'speak' two languages seemingly simultaneously. Sometimes while typing a message I am speaking to another person in Slovenian. But then again, I don't know if the benefits are only for SPEAKING or also TYPING..

Relative
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2004 04:02 am
Interesting study, but I am skeptical. Correlation is not synonymous with causality. I think that the researchers would have to factor in many other variables, before they could definitively exhibit the relationship between bilingualism and agile minded aging.

For instance, one might postulate that many people who speak two languages interchangably may be more intelligent, better educated, more likely to engage in mind expanding activities in general, etc. The bilingualism may simply be one part of a whole constellation of activities that keep the brain "supple".

IMO, the best way to determine causality is by designing a research study that involved a stratified random sampling, with a number of variables taken into account.

http://www.ryerson.ca/~mjoppe/ResearchProcess/StratifiedSampling.htm
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2004 05:46 am
Phoenix, I agree wholeheartedly with what you just said, and as a matter of fact I was going to say almost the exact thing, with the exception that my variation would have been much more eloquent.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2004 06:14 am
Gus- I am happy that I beat you to it................you have stolen my thunder too many times! Laughing
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2004 09:54 am
Cool!
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2004 10:17 am
sozobe wrote:
Cool!


"Kühl", "frais", "fresco", "frio" .... you certainly wanted to add :wink:
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2004 10:47 am
That study makes a lot of sense, especially when taken in context with a number of other studies which have lately been released indicating that an active mind ages more slowly.

I'd often commented that a friend of the hamburgers, who had Alzheimer's, was never much interested in anything other than her appearance. I always thought that her very limited range of interests were a factor in her deterioration. Looks like the researchers are finding that there is more than anecdotal evidence for this view.

Immer was neues and tolles!

Je parle Anglais.
Ich spreche Franzosich.
I speak German.

(back in the 70's my aunt got me a pin that said that ^^^)
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2004 11:27 am
The brain, like the muscles, needs exercise to be fit.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2004 11:31 am
Muscles, too? Laughing
0 Replies
 
NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2004 04:34 pm
C'est vrai. Je suise 44 maise je suis tres jeune. Mon francais n'est pas mal pour un American. Now I need to work on my Japanese.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2004 05:32 pm
hehehehehe
i just noticed phoenix's link to one of my alma maters


and for our friend NickFun,

Quote:
I'm turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
I'm turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so


<waves>
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2004 07:07 pm
i guess they'll have to hit me over the head with a shovel to get rid of me. hbg ... reminds me of the german saying : ... dem totengraeber von der schaufel gesprungen ...(try saying this three times ! ) ... sort of : jumped off the gravediggers shovel ... that might be fun.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Immortality and Doctor Volkov - Discussion by edgarblythe
Sleep Paralysis - Discussion by Nick Ashley
On the edge and toppling off.... - Discussion by Izzie
Surgery--Again - Discussion by Roberta
PTSD, is it caused by a blow to the head? - Question by Rickoshay75
THE GIRL IS ILL - Discussion by Setanta
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Knowing Two Languages May Slow Effects of Aging on the Mind
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 11/30/2022 at 04:24:55