Learning languages makes us smarter. And it still guarantees “superpowers”. Study reveals that becoming bilingual can alter sensory perception and amplify hearing.
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Learning a second language can change the way people integrate vision and hearing to make speech meaningful.
The revelation comes from a study from Northwestern University (United States).
In it, scientists found that a bilingual person and a monoglot can hear two different things, hearing the same thing.
Apparently they are more likely to experience what is known as the "McGurk effect".
What makes them hear completely different sounds when speech conflicts with what they see.
"A bilingual and monolingual listening from the same speaker can hear two completely different sounds."
The explanation is from one of the study's authors, Dr. Sayuri Hayakawa.
"It shows that language experience affects even the most basic cognitive processes."
When people hear a speech sound (for example, "ba") that conflicts with what they see (for example, "ga"), they often get a completely different sound (for example, "da").
This is most likely to occur in those who speak more than one language.
The experience of language can change sensory perception.
What makes bilinguals are more likely to integrate the auditory and visual senses.
In fact, what looks like a gain comes from compensation.
Multiple languages “compete” for brain space, making it harder for bilingual people to process what they hear.
This makes them more dependent on sight to make sense of the sound.
Research has shown that a bilingual experience can affect domains ranging from memory to decision making.
Previous research has shown that polyglots have more efficient brains.
Which would explain why they are more immune to signs of cognitive decline.
The study was published in the journal Brain sciences.