Connection between language and smell


According to a study conducted by researchers at Stockholm University and Northwestern University in Chicago, language is connected with the sense of smell. The researchers conducted a study where participants decided whether a word such as “lemon” matched with an object that was presented just before the word. The researchers presented the object visually or through smell, evoking brain activity. The results demonstrated that the brain reactivated the region in the olfactory system where smells are translated into linguistic expressions, to in order to determine the meaning of the words.These findings may help explain why it is so difficult to recognize smells and  can help with the detection of early stages of dementia.

Original Article:

Learning a new language can cause the same pleasure as eating chocolate


A recent study in Barcelona’s Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute and Otto von Guericke University has found that learning new meaningful words activates a core reward center in the brain, the ventral striatum. This area stimulates pleasure in the brain and is also activated when eating chocolate and gambling. The researchers conducted trials on 36 adults who participated in gambling simulations and language-based test. The scientists looked at MRI scans of the participants’ brains and discovered that both language-based and gambling-like tests activated the same parts of the brain. The results also demonstrated that those with higher myelin concentrations, which is connected to the reward area, were able to learn more words. The findings of the study could help promote possible treatments for people with disorders connected with language learning.

Original Article:

Accents in sign language


Accents appear when an isolated group of speakers exaggerate their shared language over time. This causes idiosyncrasies that allows them to identify outsiders, and allow outsiders to identify them. Like any other language, Sign language has its own grammar and idioms, which means that it also has its own accents. There are 130 distinct sign languages worldwide each of these carry an accent. A distinctive regional accent among people in the southern states is that they tend to touch their lower face and chest a lot when they sign. However, the difference between certain signs are not only based on the regions, it can also be dependent on the group of people. Sign language speakers have accents that vary based on their age, ethnicity, and whether or not they’re hearing or deaf. There is also variation in sign language speed. These variations allow the presence of character and richness in a language while conveying information about a person.

Original Article:

Bilingualism effects on the brain


Have you ever wondered how bilingualism effects the brain? Recent studies have demonstrated that there are several things that occur differently in a bilingual brain. The posterior parietal lobe appears to be larger among bilinguals, this section of the brain is related to the acquisition of a second language. This section is more stimulated if the second language is learned at a younger age. The process to acquiring a language is different when learning a second language at a different stage of your life. Studies have also demonstrated that certain words in the second language, are able to activate brain areas, such as the motor and premotor cortex. These areas in the brain are stimulated only during physical activities, demonstrating a union between the body and language. Bilingualism in the long run has demonstrated benefits in learning but it also displays cognitive reserve for later on in life, which will delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Original Article:

Bilingualism makes brain more fit to cut distractions


A research team led by Roberto Filippi of Anglia Ruskin University conducted a study which reconfirmed that bilingualism makes your brain more “fit” and better able to cut through distractions while accomplishing a task. The study was composed of 40 children, 20 of them were bilingual, while the rest only spoke English. The participants were asked to answer questions while being distracted by audio clips spoken in Greek and English. The study’s results demonstrated how bilingual children did significantly better than the monolinguals in concentrating on the task. According to Fillippi the acquisition of two languages in early childhood provides a beneficial effect on cognitive development and may help later on in life.

Original Article:

Newborns cry in their native language


Scientists from the University of Würzburg, as well as researchers from the Max-Planck-Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris developed a study which discovered that German and French newborn babies cry in their native language. The researchers focused on German and French languages because of the differences in the intonation of each language. In French, the stress lies towards the end but in German it’s usually at the beginning. This difference in intonation would also produce a difference in melody and rhythm. As a result, French newborns produced cries with a rising melody contour, while the German newborns cried with falling contours. This means that the cry melody of German infants was most intense at the start, meanwhile the French infants’ cry intensifies towards the end. The results gathered from the study demonstrate how newborns were able to  reproduce exactly the same intonation patterns that are typical of their respective mother tongues. More in depth research will be conducted on this and whether the cry melody can be a potential risk indicator for later language development.

Original article: