Think back to high school. Did you take a foreign language? If so, how much do you remember? Could you say what you ate for breakfast today in that language? Exchange a few pleasantries? Thinking back, how well do you think you could speak in that foreign language even at the time you were learning it? If, like me, your answer is “not that well” and, like me, you wish your foreign language skills were better, this show is for you. In this week’s episode, we’re discussing language learning through the lens of memory science.
Our guests are Elise Hopman and Maryellen MacDonald. Elise is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at UW-Madison where Maryellen is a professor and Elise’s faculty mentor. The two co-authored a study on foreign language learning that appears in the April issue of the journal Psychological Science. The study, which involved developing an artificial language spoken by fictitious monsters, tests theories of memory, learning, language and education, and its results suggest that if you remember little from your high school French class, it might be for reasons beyond your control.
Learn more about the research done at the UW-Madison Language and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab