You Are What You Speak

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Does it ever seem as though people speak some foreign languages at 78 rpm, while your English-speaking brain is going at 33? There may be good reason. New research, to be published in the January issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, found that the primary language a person is raised with affects the way he or she thinks and processes information. The researchers studied Italian and British college students and found that the Italians read and process information faster, even when reading words from other languages. The findings come as little surprise to linguistics experts, who've long held that our primary language forms our minds and our perceptions. Since, for example, Western languages are written from left to right and top to bottom, it's believed that when glancing at a photograph, a Westerner will begin at the top left corner and end at the bottom right. People from Asian nations, who read from right to left or top to bottom, however, process visuals differently.

What's different about the current research, which was performed by a team of Italian and British scientists, is that it offers what's believed to be the first proof that linguistics have an impact upon our brain physiology. Brain scans of the students showed that Italians have more active superior temporal regions, while Brits have more active left frontal and posterior inferior temporal regions. While researchers said the immediate importance of the study lies in the area of teaching language and reading, it's sure to play a role in future anthropological research seeking to explain the differences between cultures. Unfortunately, there are no studies yet of what impact Pokemon-speak has on neurotransmission in young brains.