The motor cortex is a region of the brain that is known to control the spontaneous movements of the body. However, a team of neuroscientists have shown that it can also help translate foreign words into their native language. Their research has recently Journal of Neuroscience..
Participants in the study learned foreign language words by performing semantically relevant gestures during a four-day training session. After the training, participants were asked to listen to what they learned and translate it into their native language. Using neuroscience and technology known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), where magnetic pulses stimulate specific brain regions, we interfered with processing in the motor cortex during translation work. Scientists have found that this interference slows the translation of words learned in gestures. This deceleration was not observed in response to control TMS, which did not interfere with the processing of the motor cortex. Under additional control conditions, participants learned foreign language words by looking at pictures, but their translations were unaffected by TMS applied to the motor cortex.
The motor cortex contributed to the translation of foreign language vocabulary after a relatively short period of gesture-based training. This suggests that performing gestures can be a valuable tool for picking up new words in a foreign language more quickly. “Interestingly, this effect occurred with both concrete words: violin Abstract words like Democracy.. In summary, we found that the memory of recently learned foreign language words depends on the context of the sensorimotor experiences they experienced during learning, “explains lead author Brian Matthias. Relies solely on audio or visual information, such as studying written word lists. Our findings reveal why learning techniques that integrate the body’s motor system are usually superior to these other learning strategies. “