Why Bilinguals Are Smarter
By YUDHIJIT BHATTACHARJEE
March 17, 2012
SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.
The collective evidence from a number of … studies suggests that the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function — a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, solving problems and performing various other mentally demanding tasks. These processes include ignoring distractions to stay focused, switching attention willfully from one thing to another and holding information in mind — like remembering a sequence of directions while driving.
Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-benefits-of-bilingualism.html
Read a recent Edutopia post by Dr. Judy Willis, "Neuroscience and the Bilingual Brain," at http://www.edutopia.org/blog/neuroscience-bilingual-brain-judy-willis-md
Read another related blog post by Ina Damm Muri at http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/smart-takes/scientists-explain-bilinguals-are-smarter/24416?tag=nl.e660