Monday, April 30, 2012

Being Bilingual Brings Mental Health Benefits

Individuals who are bilingual appear to have superior sound-processing skills, Northwestern University researchers reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This finding suggests that bilingual individuals might possess an enhanced ability to pay attention, the researchers believe.

Being able to speak two languages likewise seems to reduce, in children, negative internalizing states such as anxiety, loneliness, and poor self-esteem, and negative externalizing behaviors such as arguing, fighting, or acting impulsively, other researchers have found. The reason, they hypothesized, may be because bilingual youngsters understand two cultures, and this understanding in turn helps them appreciate diversity and get along with their peers and teachers.

More information about this study of bilingual children can be found in Psychiatric News.

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