Language training leads to global cognitive improvement in older adults: A preliminary study

Patrick C. M. WONG, Jinghua OU, Celestina W. Y. PANG, Ling ZHANG, Chi Shing TSE, Linda C. W. LAM, Mark ANTONIOU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: We report a preliminary study that prospectively tests the potential cognitive enhancing effect of foreign language (FL) learning in older adults with no clear signs of cognitive decline beyond what is age typical. Because language learning engages a large brain network that overlaps with the network of cognitive aging, we hypothesized that learning a new language later in life would be beneficial.

Method: Older adults were randomly assigned to 3 training groups: FL, games, and music appreciation. All were trained predominately by a computer-based program for 6 months, and their cognitive abilities were tested before, immediately after, and 3 months after training.

Results: FL and games, but not music appreciation, improved overall cognitive abilities that were maintained at 3 months after training.

Conclusion: This is the 1st randomized control study providing preliminary support for the cognitive benefits of FL learning. Copyright © 2019 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2411-2424
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume62
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Citation

Wong, P. C. M., Ou, J., Pang, C. W. Y., Zhang, L., Tse, C. S., Lam, L. C. W., & Antoniou, M. (2019). Language training leads to global cognitive improvement in older adults: A preliminary study. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62(7), 2411-2424. doi: 10.1044/2019_JSLHR-L-18-0321

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