Many people talk about how trendy it is to learn a new language. However, only a few people know about the facts and research that really demonstrate the cognitive benefits of learning a second language.
Does speaking two or more languages enhance your decision-making?
In 2012, an issue of Psychological Science published the findings of researchers at the University of Chicago about cognitive benefits of learning a second language. Their findings suggested that humans are more likely to take better decisions when they are thinking in a second language.
Now, what happens to your brain when you learn a new language? Well, when humans are thinking in the language that appears natural to them, they are more in touch with their inner risk-averse psychology. This prevents them from taking risks and gaining higher returns. The research found that people make more logical decisions when their aversion to losses is reduced because of thinking and speaking in a second language.
In another experiment, researchers studied students who gained a little proficiency in Spanish. Each student was given $15, in one-dollar bills. They had to take one dollar out for a bet to win $1.50. It was observed that those who knew just English had more fear of losing $1 (only 54% of them took the bet), while those who knew Spanish as a second language, and were thinking in Spanish, were more inclined towards taking the bet (71% of them participated).
How are you better able to multitask by knowing multiple languages?
Research has shown that when you learn a new language, your brain switches between two languages, the act of switching makes you better at multitasking. When you switch between languages in speaking, writing, and processing information, you make your brain used to juggling between tasks. This is how you become better at multitasking.
Does Being Bilingual Improve Your Memory?
When you learn a new language, what really happens is that you are memorizing the vocabulary and grammar rules of another language. This strengthens your brain muscles, and makes your brain retain information longer. Thus, you experience improved memory by learning a second language.
Learning another languages does not only make you appear smarter, but it also strengthens your brain which impacts your decision making and helps with multitasking and memory.
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