Don’t try so hard

MIT Study

A study from MIT shows that trying harder can actually make some aspects of learning more difficult.

Most of us recognise that Children have a far easier time learning languages than Adults (and of course some researchers with lots of time on their hands have proved it!) – But, the real question is why?

One reason is that, believe it or not, Adults more developed cognitive ability may actually trip us up. As adults we tend over analyse what we are trying to learn – spot patterns and rules. While this is of course useful – it’s certainly not optimal.

How Children & Adults Learn

Children learn more through direct experience and observation – in fact it seems that there is a whole “Procedural Memory” system that allows children to literally absorb things like how to ride a bike and subtle language rules with apparently little effort.

As Adults we are generally better at picking things up that are going to immediately helps us – so words like Greetings, things we want to eat etc. This is great, but it will never get us to the point of sounding like a native. To do that, we need to recover our child-like ability again.

The solution

One way is to distract ourselves with a complex task while learning new words. This helps to shut down our more cognitive function by keeping it busy and so allowing our procedural memory process to kick in.

Another, as in the Lingo Links books, is to present words which are not related so that the cognitive organising function get bamboozled!

The Lingo Links method is (of course) a great way to get us into more procedural learning as it by passes the rational learning method using unusual and absurd word associations. It’s takes away the “trying to learn” element which can create such a block for some.

One suggested course of action is to take drugs to inhibit the more literal processing of our brains – I’m not in favour of this (unless it’s alchol related) especially when there are easy viable alternatives!




We’d all love to be able to pick up languages like Kids again & Lingo Links gives us a leg up in that direction.

In my experience the confidence you gain from having words immediately at your finger tips by using Lingo Links really makes a huge difference. Also, there is no substitute for solid Motivation – I’m going to talk about that in my next newsletter.

For now – Happy Learning

All the best, James