Older adults who have spoken two languages since childhood are quicker at switching between cognitive tasks than single-language adults, a new study finds.
The bilingual seniors also showed distinct patterns of brain activity not seen in monolingual participants, the researchers added.
“This study provides some of the first evidence of an association between a particular cognitively stimulating activity, in this case, speaking multiple languages on a daily basis, and brain function,” John Woodard, an aging expert from Wayne State University, who was not involved with the study, said in a statement.
Recent research has suggested speaking two languages could keep one’s cognitive flexibility, or the ability to adapt to new, often unfamiliar, situations, from declining, something thought to happen with age.
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