Want to make your brain grow? Read this!

Image from McGill UniversityClever people are often said to have a ‘big’ brain – but one brain is surely no bigger than another.

A study from the University of Hong Kong has shown that you can add grey matter however – through ‘child-like’ learning. The research participants were shown different coloured cards, each of which was given a made-up name. They were asked to memorise these new names, and told they would be tested at a later date.

The participants were given MRI scans after three days of this ‘conditioning’ (five sessions totalling around two hours each) and the scans showed that new grey matter had formed in the left hemisphere of the brains. Language functions are normally found in the left hemisphere of the brain.

According to the article from Wired:

The key to the brain growth appears to be the change in perception, because the colours were given new names and the subjects learnt to associate those new names with the colours — as opposed to them simply learning a list of names, for example. This is supported by the fact that the areas of the brain responsible for processing colour, vision and perceptions were the ones that grew.

I wonder if this also applies to learning new languages?