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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Foreign Language Learning in Aarhus, Denmark

I'm currently in Denmark having meetings and working on the experimental design for a language learning research project where we are investigating the relationship between brain function and language learning ability. I've recorded a few videos and took a picture or two. Take a look at the raw video footage if you're interested in a "taste" of the Copenhagen shopping district on a rainy day. ENJOY! (this one has gone a wee bit viral) (this one is good but has a long intro)

Approximately a year ago I started collaborating with Danish investigators on a concept to investigate what the brain function looks like in people who can quickly learn new foreign languages, what it looks like in people with difficulties, and what possible ways we can employ to improve the situation for those with difficulties.  The early planning stages have lead to a successful grant application and we now have finances to move our language research project, led by Alexandra Kratschmer at Aarhus University, forward. This project involves multiple organizations, some of which include: Aarhus University (, MINDLAB (, Peakmind (, the University of Victoria (, the AU Insitute for Asthetics and Culture (, Vrije  Universiteit Amsterdam (, and Canterbury Christ Church University (

In addition to simply investigating foreign language learning, we will be investigating how tailored neurofeedback methods can be used to affect foreign language learning ability. Soren Andersen, of Peakmind, will be providing expertise for the neurofeedback component of the study.

We will be using the EEG modeling methods I developed at the University of Victoria (MOST - EEG) to begin to identify systems of the brain that are active during language reception and production at at various stages of learning.  Our hope is that we will see at least 2 different learning strategies based on classification of our brain function data.  In addition, we hope to see how changes induced by neurofeedback methods affect the brain function associated with these different strategies.

As it stands, the team on this project is as follows:

AU/Inst. For Æsthetics and Culture:
Alexandra Kratschmer
Ocke-Schwen Bohn
Jocelyn Hardman

University of Victoria:
Philip Michael Zeman

Søren Bo Andersen

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam:
Hannie van Hooff

Canterbury Christ Church University:
David Vernon

I've posted a few pictures of Denmark below.  Enjoy!

Are these Danishes?