Bilingual babies can distinguish between two languages

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Bilingual babies can accurately process two languages from just 20 months of age, according to a new study. Researchers found infants growing up with two languages have the learning ability to make sense of both of them from just listening. The moment they hear the switch their pupils dilate, researchers found - proving that it does not just blend into gobbledegook. This builds on previous research which found babies who are exposed to two languages have better brain power before they've even uttered a word and end up smarter for life. Researchers found babies infants growing up bilingual have the learning ability to make sense of two languages from just listening.

Bilingual people could be protected from Alzheimer's

Daily Mail - Science & tech

When it comes to lessening the effects of Alzheimer's, people who have spoken two languages since childhood delay the progress of the disease by 5 years, a study suggests. A study of 85 Alzheimer's patients found that being bilingual helped protect against the ravages of the disease. If found the brains of people who spoke two languages had greater connectivity in key brain areas โ€“ particularly in the part of the brain which governs'executive control'. The effect was greater in the people who had greater ability in the languages โ€“ with those who had used both languages more over their lifetimes showing less severe symptoms than those who had used them less. It is the latest finding that lends support to the theory of'cognitive reserve' โ€“ that while Alzheimer's cannot be cured, people who have had greater levels of education are able to overcome the wasting of the brain caused by Alzheimer's for longer.

What Time Feels Like When You're Improvising - Issue 61: Coordinates


Now tell me: How much time has passed since you first logged on to your computer today? Time may be a property of physics, but it is also a property of the mind, which ultimately makes it a product of the brain. Time measures out and shapes our lives, and how we live our lives in turn affects how we perceive the passage of time. Your sense of time is malleable and subjective--it changes in response to changing contexts and input, and it can be distorted when the brain is damaged, or affected by drugs, disease, sleep deprivation, or naturally altered states of consciousness. However, a new set of neuroscience research findings suggests that losing track of time is also intimately bound up with creativity, beauty, and rapture.

Being bilingual can be bad for your brain: Scientists say it can damage a person's ability to judge their own performance

Daily Mail - Science & tech

More than half of the world's population is bilingual and that prevalence is rising. Psychologists have been interested in how bilingualism shapes the mind for almost a century - and many say it can improve memory and attention. But new research suggests this may not be the case, and being bilingual could in fact be bad for your brain. In their studies, babies listened to words spoken in both Spanish and English, which is common in America. They are those who suggest that in order to speak in one language, bilinguals have to suppress the influence of the other.

Video shows how mice use their whiskers to see

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Mice, unlike cats and dogs, can move their whiskers to map out their surroundings. For the first time, researchers reconstructed the'whisker map' a mouse creates of its surroundings. While rodents use vision as well as auditory and olfactory cues to navigate, they also use their whiskers to navigate areas close to their face, as their near vision is blurry. 'It's not a body map but a spatial map of the area around the animal's head that is being scanned by the whiskers: a totally new thing that has not been shown before in any species,' said Dr Hillel Adesnik, a UC Berkeley assistant professor of molecular and cell biology and the corresponding author of the study. Researchers study rodent whiskers because the sensory nerves at the base of each whisker connect to well-defined structures in the cortex - the outer layer of the brain - called'barrel columns' because they're shaped like a barrel.