Children certainly learn languages differently than an adult does. As a small child, you learn your mother tongue intuitively through "an intricate web of personal memories, images, sensory associations and affective reactions" (Pavlenko, 2005). The older you get, so the process of learning a languages changes. The organic ability to acquire a language is replaced by a systematic way of learning, which draws on conscious problem-solving capacities – their own level of intelligence – to accomplish the same task (DeKeyser, 2000).
That said, Thomas Bak, Ph.D., a neuroscientist from the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, tells the story of a woman he met when she was 92. With very little prior foreign language knowledge, she had began studying Russian at the age of 56. At age 75, she went on to write her Ph.D. thesis about Russian poets, and now at the age of 92 she is one of the most acclaimed translators of Russian poetry into English.
Any other questions?
One conclusion might be: research is never-ending. It is imperative that we refer to research findings at certain stages of our work and lives – and it takes more than a quick look to be able to maintain you are an expert on a subject.
Take intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), for example. Twenty years ago, everyone was talking about the major role they play in synchronizing circadian rhythms. Ten years after that, and following further research studies on subjects with rod and cone photoreceptor disorders, in addition to regulating the circadian rhythm, photosensitive ganglion cells were shown to mediate a degree of light recognition and may thus have some visual function in humans after all.
There is a considerable amount of lighting-related research is being carried out worldwide. Some on a purely academic level, and some extremely practice-oriented. For lighting designers it is not only the research on light and health, or light and alertness, wellbeing and performance that is of key interest. Some neuroscience researchers have also been investigating the influence of luminous intensity and colour temperature on human emotions, mood and behaviour. And others have been looking into passive communication through ambient light. Further indications, therefore, of how open-minded we need to be in order to be able to “deliver”.
Keep searching for a “Heart of gold” (thanks Neil Young!) – and keep re-searching for valuable input. The first recommendation could end in happiness – the second is a continuing, rewarding process, for yourself and others.