When you are listening to two people speak a foreign language, does it seem they are able to rattle off words at about 78 rpm? You feel like you are doing well at speaking about 33 rpm. Research was published in the January, 2000 issue of Nature Neuroscience. The findings of this research stated the primary language a person is raised with affects the way he or she thinks and processes information. Italian and British college students were studied and it was found the Italians read and process information faster, even when reading words from other languages.
These findings were of no great surprise to language experts who have stated for years that our primary language forms our minds and our perceptions. As an example western language is written and read from left to right and from top to bottom. It is believed that a Westerner will look a photograph starting with the top and moving downward to the bottom, where as people from Asian nations, who read from right to left and from bottom to the top process visuals differently than the Westerners.
The major breakthrough in this research, which was performed by Italian and British scientists, was that it brought what is believed to be the first proof that language has an impact on our brain physiology. The brain scans of the student showed Italians to have more active superior temporal regions, while the British have more active frontal and posterior inferior temporal regions.
The immediate importance of the study, according to the researchers, is in the teaching of the language and reading. They believe it to play a role in future anthropological research seeking to explain the differences between cultures.