Friday, April 13, 2012

Back to flexibility — the buzz word in the world of cognitive science as well as social science. In our world of change, change, change, sticking to beliefs/formulated as children or young adults doesn't work. e.g. CEOs (just heard this Monday at a presentation) who have relied on administrative assistants to keep up with technology.

• Familiar only with Blackberries, these CEOs are flummoxed when required to deal with an i-pad or i-phone.
• In my own field of psychology, I maintained a firm grip on the belief that rational problem-solving thinking was the only, the best, the king; intuitive thinking was sub par. I was wrong for years.
• Buyers of hybrid cars often go back to the old standard gasoline cars in part because of familiarity.

Cognitive science has recently demonstrated that people who speak two languages are smarter than people who speak only one — primarily because they have learned brain flexibility. Interference can occur between the language systems, necessitating the brain to resolve the conflict, which ultimately strengthens the brain's function and flexibility.

" The bilingual experience appears to influence the brain from infancy to old age . . . " according to Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. Here's the link to the whole article:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-benefits-of-bilingualism.html

I'm searching for specific ways that we can acquire greater brain flexibility and help our kids, or students, our clients or coworkers gain more flexibility in their thinking even if they're monolingual. A fantasy? Perhaps.
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