Have you ever been dying to learn a second language but you just haven’t had the motivation to do so? There are so many reasons why learning a language can prove beneficial: increased employment opportunities, more vacation places, larger dating pool. Well, if you aren’t convinced yet, here’s another reason why you should learn another language: it will make your brain bigger.
Studying and learning a second language challenges and stimulates your mind. Bilingual people have been known to have more gray matter in their brains, and even a better ability to multi-task. The benefits of being bilingual are vast and many, and can range from an increase of creativity potential, to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
A study from Sweden’s Lund University also came to recently light suggesting that fluency in another language also led to a larger cerebral cortex and hippocampus. The study was more focused on the cerebral cortex, though, as it’s the region of the brain that controls memory, reasoning, planning, and visual processing – basically the most important functions of the brain.
The experiments held by the Swedish researchers went on for 13 months, involving 2 groups of students in which the first group, previously monolingual, started learning a language along with their usual set of classes, while the other group did not.
MRIs were taken at the beginning of the experiment, and after the 13-month duration, MRIs were taken again for comparison. The brains of the group learning a second language (specifically, the cerebral cortex) were notably larger while the other group showed little difference.
Researchers speculate that this increase in the cerebral cortex may even assist the brain in older age, when vision and memory degenerate. So, as mentioned in the beginning of this article, if you’ve been meaning to study a second language but just haven’t gotten the motivation to, this is it. If you’re daring enough, you’ll maybe even want to learn a third.