First Posted: Jan 13, 2015 08:44 PM Learning A Second Language After 10 Boosts Your Brain Power (Photo : Flickr)
Previous studies have suggested that the sooner a new language is introduced to a child, the better. When children are just babies, their brains are like sponges, soaking up new words and syllables.
Yet new findings published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reveal that learning a new language after the age of 10 may be even better for the brain.
For the study, researchers examined 45 participants around the age of 30 who lived in the United Kingdom for at least 13 months. Twenty participants had started learning English as a second language around age 10, while 25 participants only spoke English.
The study results showed that those who began learning English around 10 had significant improvements in white matter structure when compared to those who grew up speaking only English. Furthermore, researchers found certain improvements in the brain's "higher levels of structural integrity" boost language learning and semantic learning.
"Everyday handling of more than one language functions as an intensive cognitive stimulation that benefits specific language-related brain structures by preserving their integrity, and therefore it protects them against deterioration in older age," said lead study author Christos Pliatsikas of the University of Kent School of Psychology, in a news release.
Researchers reiterated how the findings show improvements in the brain's white matter structures when learning a second language at a significantly earlier age.