Mandarin makes you more musical – and at a much earlier age than previously thought. That’s the suggestion of a new study from the University of California San Diego. But hold on there, overachiever parents, don’t’ rush just yet to sign your kids up for Chinese lessons instead of piano. In a paper published in.. read more →

Babies’ ability to soak up language makes them the envy of adult learners everywhere. Still, some grown-ups can acquire new tongues with surprising ease. Now some studies suggest it is possible to predict a person’s language-learning abilities from his or her brain structure or activity-results that may eventually be used to help even the most.. read more →

Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto throws a white lab coat over her peach cardigan and grey skirt before giving a quick tour of the Brain & Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging at Gallaudet University, where she is the scientific director. The walls of the space, which includes an observation room, conference room and neuroimaging laboratory, are covered in.. read more →

Language is the hallmark of humanity-it allows us to form deep relationships and complex societies. But we also use it when we’re all alone; it shapes even our silent relationships with ourselves. In his book, The Voices Within, Charles Fernyhough gives a historical overview of “inner speech”-the more scientific term for “talking to yourself in your head.” Fernyhough,.. read more →

An international research team led by Carnegie Mellon University has found that when the brain “reads” or decodes a sentence in English or Portuguese, its neural activation patterns are the same. Published in NeuroImage, the study is the first to show that different languages have similar neural signatures for describing events and scenes. The research team.. read more →

Conventional wisdom suggests it may well be easier to learn a second language as a child than as an adult. But for adults who do take the linguistic leap, what sort of factors influence how well they acquire another tongue? In a new study published this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from.. read more →

In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a group of researchers delve into “the Pollyanna principle”-the concept that people subconsciously lean toward the positive. Named after the optimistic heroine of Eleanor H. Porter’s sugar-sweet 1913 novel Pollyanna, the principle was developed in 1969 by researchers who posited that humans tend to use positive words more often.. read more →

Newborn babies have many monumental tasks before them, a key one being the acquisition of language. In our first few years, we must learn to recognize characteristic sounds, distinguish separate words, interpret more complex word combinations, and eventually assign meaning to what we hear. For infants raised in bilingual environments, speech perception develops in a.. read more →

Nina Kraus, a biologist at Northwestern University, has spent the better part of her professional career researching how sound affects the brain. At Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Lab, Kraus and colleagues measure how the brain responds when various sounds enter the ear. They’ve found that the brain reacts to sound in micro seconds, and that brain waves.. read more →

University of Tübingen researchers have found evidence that common descent of human populations is reflected both in their cranial features and their linguistic affiliations over vast geographic distances. The formation of different languages and language groupings appears to have happened in the same broad period and geographical locations as the development of facial features in.. read more →