Forget the “multitasking”, learn another language and know another culture

What we do on a day-to-day basis affects positively or negatively our intellectual functioning. Every continuously repeated daily action can have repercussions on brain functioning. The daily learning modifies the stroke of our neurons. In fact it is a two-way path: certain learning will produce a certain neuronal change and that neuronal change will facilitate that certain learning, and perhaps others.

Thus, our daily efforts to learn something, to memorize, to find the solution to a problem will be rewarded with an organic structure that serves as a support. If these efforts are not made or are not done, that structure weakens or simply is not created. For example, recent evidences indicate that situations of multitasking (being on Facebook, while trying to read something, playing and answering a message on WhatsApp) have negative effects on reading ability. If all the mental effort is dedicated to multiple easy and short-term tasks, no intellectual resources will be generated that allow concentration and deep attention. By spending more time doing multiple tasks at the same time, what we are generating are paths for scattered, superficial and short-term attention.

However, being able to shift attention from one situation to another can have advantages, when it is done in a profound way. An example of this happens in bilingualism. In this case, when a person has two languages, he acquires in passing the ability to change from one system (language 1) to another system (language 2). Thus, a bilingual person is constantly directing their attention between the two language systems. In addition, he acquires a way of thinking that will give him advantages when he tries to understand something: he has learned to be flexible. He has learned, for example, to see that a word can be in different categories depending on the language. By having another language, you can expand the wealth of the world you perceive and build.

It is important to note that bilingualism is more likely to occur in a multicultural environment or situation, and … good news: scientific evidence indicates that multicultural experiences favor better intellectual performances. For example, it has been seen that the greater the creativity, the greater the multicultural experiences (living in another culture, having friends from other cultures, liking for foreign food, speaking other languages, etc.).

Intellectual abilities are favored with diversity, not dispersion. If you want to improve some intellectual faculties, the way, among other ways, is to increase your concentration in less things, in finding yourself with the different.

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