John Secor, professor of French at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, has been speaking two languages since he was a small boy in Canada.
He’s also a musician and singer and when he’s playing with a group, he finds he’s better able to hear multiple voices and switch beats and parts than some of his monolingual band mates.
“I have noticed this [advantage] in myself compared to others,” said the 57-year-old Secor.
New research published Tuesday in The Journal of Neuroscience helps explain why Secor’s mental reactions are so sharp, even in middle age –- the brains of people who are bilingual work more efficiently than people who speak only one language.
Neuroscientists have been accumulating strong evidence that knowing, and constantly using, a second language starting in childhood can significantly delay a decline in brain power. University of Kentucky in Lexington researchers wanted to know why some people’s brains seem protected.
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