A neuroscientist discusses the Sanskrit effect
A hundred young men in yellow robes sat cross-legged on the ground, chatting to each other in the face of the line. At a sign of their teacher, the hall quieted down. Then they began to recite. There was no pause or error. From memory, the side of the room recited a line of text and the other side of the room answered the next line. The voice of the bass and baritone is filled with clanging rhythm, clearly hearing each word, moving with their right hand to mark tones and accents. Hypnotic effect, the old sound echoes in the room, full brain and body. Twenty minutes later, they all stopped. This is just a demonstration. Shukla Yajurveda, one of India’s oldest Sanskrit texts, has a complete record of six hours.
It took me years to learn and translate Sanskrit, and I was fascinated by its apparent influence on ideas and memory. In the ancient learning methods of India, the text memory is standard: traditional scholars, or pandi, mastered many different types of Sanskrit poems and prose texts; Tradition holds that the correct memory and recitation of ancient words, namely the catchphrase, enhance memory and thinking.
I also noticed that the more Sanskrit I studied and translated, the better my verbal memory was. Students and teachers often mention my ability to repeat instructors’ sentences when I ask questions in class. Other Sanskrit translators tell me similar cognitive transformations. So I’m curious: does this tradition really have a language specific “Sanskrit effect”?
In 2011, when I entered the cognitive neuroscience PhD program at the university of Trenton, I had the opportunity to start investigating this question. India’s vedic Sanskrit teacher has spoken for years and accurately recited the oral texts of more than 3,000 years ago, ranging from 40,000 to 100,000 words. We want to understand how such strong verbal memory training affects the physical structure of their brains. Through the india-trent advanced research partnership (ITPAR), we recruited professional vedic bats from several government-funded schools in the Delhi area; Then we used structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the national brain research center in India to scan for pandits and controlled brains with age, gender, handheld, eye dominance and multilingual matching.
What we found in structural MRI scans was significant.
Many areas of the rat brain were significantly larger than the control group, with more than 10 percent of gray matter in both hemispheres and a significant increase in cortical thickness. Although the exact cellular basis of gray matter and cortical thickness measurements is still under investigation, the increase of these indicators has always been associated with enhanced cognitive function.
Language is the most interesting memory, which is on the right side of the hippocampus prentice (an area of the brain, in the short-term and long-term memory plays an important role) in the subcortical structures nearly 75% than ck have more gray matter. Our brains have two seahorses, one on the left, one on the right, and without them, we can’t record any new information. Many memory functions are Shared by two seahorses. For model, however, whether it is sound, the space or the visual aspects, on the right side is more specialized, so large gray matter increased, we found in the hippocampus, on the right side of the hippocampus makes sense: accurate reading requires highly accurate coding and sound. The bats also showed a significant thickening of the right temporal cortex, which is associated with speech and sound.
Our study is a preliminary study of the brains of Indian trained Sanskrit elephants. Although the initial research focused on the comparison between the structure of the brain groups, but not directly solve the problem of Sanskrit effect (this requires the function of the detailed research and memory across languages, we are currently seeking funds), but we found some specific verbal memory intensive training. Is it possible that these pandits’ dramatic increase in the gray matter of critical speech memory means that they are unlikely to be as devastating as alzheimer’s disease? We don’t know yet, though the anecdotal evidence from ayurvedic doctors in India suggests that this may be true. If so,
If so, training may need to be accurate. One day, I was shooting four senior class teachers to demonstrate different reading speeds. In one meeting, four people suddenly stopped. “What’s the matter? ‘I asked. “One of us has made a small error,” answered and said, “I don’t mind,” I said, “yes, but we did this,” they start from the very beginning the recitation.