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Being Bilingual Is Good for Your Brain

Toggling back and forth between two languages is like doing P90x for your brain.

Looking for a reason to splurge on some Rosetta Stone DVDs? It turns out that being bilingual is actually really good for your brain. For the past 40 years cognitive neuroscientist Ellen Bialystok has studied the effects of knowing two languages on the mind. It turns out that all that translating back and forth in your head is some serious exercise for the brain's synapses.

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Step Away from the Smartphone

It's a New Year. Maybe it's a good time to re-evaluate our ever more complicated relationship to technology.



I received an email from a friend today which, he wrote, interrupted "my year-long vow of digital semi-silence as a cellular-and-social-media-free human.” Reflecting on the hours spent on the various gadgets that surround me, I thought, 'Maybe I should take that vow in 2011.'

New York Times reporter Matt Richtel would likely think that was not a bad idea, having spent the past year on the series, Our Brain on Computers, a provocative and often jarring collection of articles exploring how the constant use of our devices impacts not only our behavior but our thought processes and even our neurology. Richtel, who won a Pulitzer in 2009 for his series of the dangers of multitasking while driving, has in the course of his research, spoken to numerous scientists who recognize the merits of technology but not unconditionally. As Richtel explained it to Teri Gross in an interview on Fresh Air earlier this year, "When you check your information, when you get a buzz in your pocket, when you get a ring — you get what they call a dopamine squirt. You get a little rush of adrenaline," he says. "Well, guess what happens in its absence? You feel bored. You're conditioned by a neurological response: 'Check me check me check me check me.' "

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Digital Nation Wants You To Know You're No Good At Multitasking

Technology is an ever-present temptress, calling to us at every occasion to make a call, check a fact online, or text a long lost love. We...

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