Education Technology

Scientists Used Sci-Fi Inspired Brain Hack to Improve Language Learning Abilities by 13%


Learning a brand new language may also be like pushing a stone in the hill, just to make it roll to the other side. Surprisingly, but kids are way stronger than adults in pushing that stone. Many researches show that children are far better at learning new languages compared to olders. But new information has something new to provide to adults struggling for that different tongues!

A new study conducted by Science of Learning shows that small quantities of electrical stimulation significantly improved the word what learning abilities from the adult participants. The experiment ended via specially made earpieces, and also the effects lasted despite the stimulation was stopped. The report says the vagus nerve from the participants was stimulated in the experiment through the earpieces. This improved remarkable ability to recognize in addition to distinguish the tones of various tones of Mandarin.

Language learning abilities received a boost of nearly 13% in these adults. They performed 13% better at distinguishing an easy-to-differentiate pair of Mandarin tones than those who did not get the stimulation. However with more difficult tones, the result of the stimulation wasn't much noticeable.

\”Showing that non-invasive peripheral nerve stimulation can make learning easier potentially paves the way to improving cognitive performance across a wide range of domains,\” said Fernando Llanos, a post-doctorate researcher at the Sound Brain Lab of the University of Pittsburg.

The improvement in language learning abilities can be generalized and extended to learn sound patterns of numerous other languages. Matthew Leonard, the co-author from the study, said how people often feel discouraged feeling learning is difficult in adulthood. But if their experiments gave 13-15% better leads to just one session, it could make more and more people excited about foreign languages. Leonard is an assistant prof of neurological surgery at UC, San Francisco.

After the initial success in improving adult language learning abilities, the researchers are now busy testing if longer learning sessions using the earpieces can further boost the effect. This could make it easier for learners to distinguish between your more difficult-to-distinguish tones.

Apart from learning languages, the vagus nerve has been stimulated previously in other experiments too. In those days it was being tested for the treatment of epilepsy, while currently, some studies on this nerve will work to determine its impact on curing inflammatory diseases as well as depression. Only one thing is perfect for sure, these treatments could be way more invasive than the earpieces utilized in this language learning test.

Bharath Chandrasekaran is the senior author from the learning abilities study. He explained that their stimulation showed positive effects, however in a non-evasive way. This could make technology more scalable. It may have broader applications, as with the cases of post-stroke rehabilitation. Chandrasekaran may be the vice-chair of research at the Uni. of Pittsburg School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

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