The brain of is a muscle the more you use it the better it will work and will be able to handle more burden as long as you keep challenging it. As a child, it is considered very beneficial to learn more than one language. It makes the brain sharper and enables you to learn more in your life in the later stages than the children who did not learn a second language.
Learning a second language is not only beneficial for a child’s brain but it also changes the brain of an adult for better. It also sharpens learning skills in adults and improves and increases the white matter. Many studies and researches have been conducted in order to find out the link between the white matter and language learning skills.
One of the researches was done in University of Washington in which first-year college students, who were 20 years old on average and had just arrived from China in US, were recruited by the research team. The 79 volunteers in the study had passed the university’s minimum English requirement, and 44 of them immediately entered a three-week immersion class intended to help international students improve their English skills.
The students enrolled in the course showed immediate improvement in white matter even after just one day. There was an increase in the connections of the brain’s language circuitry as compared to the students who weren’t enrolled in the English language learning program.
The gene COMT affects the brain and the way it learns new things and the COMT genotype determines the level of change in the white matter of the brain. The researchers found that the two specific forms of COMT gene (Methionine/Valine) or (Valine/Valine) were the reason behind the increased brain connectivity and white matter change. Whereas the students in the language class who had COMT gene (Methionine/ Methionine) did not show any change in the white matter of the brain.
The researchers in this experiment found out that combination of the COMT genotype and the white matter measure was so powerful on language learning that it accounted for 46 percent of total variance in the students’ final scores.
So we can conclude the article by inferring that learning a second language even as an adult will increase the brain activity and white matter as well as it is determined by the COMT genotype that how much success you will have in getting a high score in your second language course.