Research has shown that a music-related hobby boosts language skills and affects the processing of speech in the brain. According to a new study, the reverse also happens -- learning foreign languages can affect the processing of music in the brain.
Research Director Mari Tervaniemi from the University of Helsinki's Faculty of Educational Sciences investigated, in cooperation with researchers from the Beijing Normal University (BNU) and the University of Turku, the link in the brain between language acquisition and music processing in Chinese elementary school pupils aged 8-11 by monitoring, for one school year, children who attended a music training programme and a similar programme for the English language. Brain responses associated with auditory processing were measured in the children before and after the programmes. Tervaniemi compared the results to those of children who attended other training programmes.
"The results demonstrated that both the music and the language programme had an impact on the neural processing of auditory signals," Tervaniemi says.