Tag Archives: Brains

Bilingual Brains and The Difference in Processing of Languages

 Bilingual Brains and The Difference in Processing of Languages

As a polyglot (haha I love using that word), a lot of my friends always ask me whether I have to translate between two languages when I’m thinking and speaking or if I just think in the language that I am communicating in. My answer has always been that I usually just think in the different language, but I didn’t understand the neurological reason that  as to why I thought this. Until now!! Researchers from the University of Arizona were able to show that rather than calibrating to different tones and languages, those of us who were born to learn multiple languages process these languages in different regions of the brain. Scientists, specifically looked at the “pa” vs. “ba” variation in Spanish which are perceived to be the same by monolingual English speakers.  Compared to control (monolingual English speakers) the bilingual participants in the study labled the ‘pa’ vs. “ba” sound differently when told which language they were about to hear. I think it’s interesting that the research is showing that rather than having a dominant language (which was the competing theory), bilinguals can switch back and forth between two languages just like people with either language as their primary mode of communication.  Polyglots are definitely fancy!

(I think my description of the controls is a little hazy, but if you are interested you should check out the link from sciencedaily:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130520163859.htm

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Music and why our brain likes it so much.

http://science.time.com/2013/04/15/music/

Based on fMRI and PET studies, it has been shown that music activates the same dopamine pathways in the brain that some of the most important activities such as eating and sex  do. Coupled with previous theories, researchers believe that it is the pattern recognition and analysis element involved in listening to music that activates these reward pathways in the brain. So the next time you have a song stuck in your head, take satisfaction in the fact that your brain is solving patterns and is proud of it! Brains are Fancy!