Are Bilinguals Smarter?
I recently read an interesting article by the New York Times on bilingualism and the effects is has on a persons brain. Recent studies have shown that bilingualism, especially that developed as a child, has a tendency to strengthen that person's mental capabilities more so than monolinguals. This is different from many theories that emerged in the 90's saying children growing up in a multilingual household would have interference from more than one language. Scientists have found this is indeed true, multilingual households cause the brain interference from multiple languages, however that interference is now thought to be good.
Everyone has heard that mental puzzles like Soduku and word searches are good to exercise one's brain. Scientists now believe the same applies to the interference caused by multilingual households. Children growing up in that environment must switch back and forth between languages and words and must often act as translators. This constant barrage of information acts in the same way a Soduku or crossword does and helps keep the child's brain strong and well developed.
This breakthrough also explains why bilingual people tend to be better and certain kinds of mental tests, puzzles, and quizzes. Furthermore, the strain and exercise on the brain is thought to help prevent certain degenerative mental diseases like Alzheimers.
To read the full article, please see: