Just what it sounds like. It seems like we already have a question on the detrimental effects of learning two or more languages. What are some psychological advantages to learning a second language?

  • Related: languagelearning.stackexchange.com/questions/158/…
    – fi12
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 23:20
  • The obvious answers to this are career and travel related, but I think the author is looking for more of a "what advantages can this offer your mind/body" style answer
    – Quill
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 23:21
  • 2
    I think this question needs to be made much more specific. As written, I'm fighting the itch to down vote for lack of research effort. Please indicate that some effort and thought was put into the question, by indicating that you realize that speaking a second language is an obvious benefit, for example. Perhaps follow @Quill's suggestion, and ask about the secondary benefits to one's mental agility, or something along these lines.
    – Flimzy
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 6:52
  • 1
    This feels a bit broad to me.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 10:09

1 Answer 1


According to this article in PNAS,

7-month-old babies exposed to two languages from birth were compared with peers raised with one language. In an initial set of trials, the infants were presented with an audio cue and then shown a puppet on one side of a screen. Both infant groups learned to look at that side of the screen in anticipation of the puppet. But in a later set of trials, when the puppet began appearing on the opposite side of the screen, the babies exposed to a bilingual environment quickly learned to switch their anticipatory gaze in the new direction while the other babies did not.

In addition,

In a recent study of 44 elderly Spanish-English bilinguals, scientists led by the neuropsychologist Tamar Gollan of the University of California, San Diego, found that individuals with a higher degree of bilingualism — measured through a comparative evaluation of proficiency in each language — were more resistant than others to the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease: the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later the age of onset. A bilingual brain is more alert, quicker and better able to deal with ambiguities and resolve conflicts.

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