Let’s face it: learning a new language is always a good idea, regardless of how many you already know. Training your brain by gathering new information is always a nice way of maintaining it at an optimal level of health. Scientists are once again ready to lend us a hand for that matter, as they found a great way of improving the language learning abilities for any individual.
Researchers proved that small amounts of electrical stimulation through specially designed earpieces can improve the participants’ ability to recognize foreign languages.
Stimulating the vagus nerve is the key
By stimulating this nerve using the earpieces, the participants were better able to identify and distinguish between four Mandarin tones.
Fernando Llanos, a postdoc researcher from the University of Pittsburg’s Sound Brain Lab and the lead author of the new study, speaks about future applications of the method:
“Showing that non-invasive peripheral nerve stimulation can make language learning easier potentially opens the door to improving cognitive performance across a wide range of domains,”
Matthew Leonard, co-author and an assistant professor of neurological surgery from the University of California (San Francisco), declared:
“In general, people tend to get discouraged by how hard language learning can be, but if you could give someone 13 percent to 15 percent better results after their first session, maybe they’d be more likely to want to continue,”
The discovery opens the path for extending the learning sessions with stimulation so that future participants will be exposed to more difficult to recognize tones. The scientists involved also believe that the method of using small electrical stimulation to get people to learn faster is completely non-invasive and safe.
The new study was published in the journal Science of Learning here.