Brain Learns New Words in 15 Minutes

... if it hears them over and over and over
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2010 2:52 PM CST
It takes the brain about 15 minutes to make a new word familiar, if it's repeated often enough in that span.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – It takes the brain just 15 minutes to learn a new word, new research suggests. The trick is hearing it, oh, say 160 times in 15 minutes, the Telegraph reports. If that happens, the brain creates a neural network that is "virtually indistinguishable" from those surrounding familiar words, Cambridge scientists found. (They used electrodes attached to subjects' brains to measure activity.)

Scientists had previously thought the word-learning process took much longer. "What this suggests is that practicing language is important," says the lead researcher. "Every little helps." The findings could eventually help in the rehabilitation of stroke patients or others with brain injuries.

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