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Can cute cats help you learn a language?

Posting in Technology

 

cute-kitten-cat-photo-flickr.jpg
Last year we reported on research from Japan that found that people who looked at cute animal photos performed better on cognitive tasks. Now, one company is applying that research to make it easier to learn a language.

Memrise, an online learning company, did its own analysis to see which mnemonic devices worked best among its users. As you might expect, "The pattern began to emerge that pictures of cats always featured disproportionately among the most effective," Ben Whately, chief operating officer at Memrise, told BBC.

That led Memrise to develop a spinoff project, CatAcademy, an app that uses cute, funny cat photos to help users learn Spanish -- think of a cross between Rosetta Stone and LoLCats. CatAcademy connects a cat photo with key words and phrases to aid language memorization. The app bases its setup on five principles:

-For one, visualization helps you store vivid memories.
-Cute cats help with attention and mood.
-Funny photos make phrases more memorable.
-Repetition helps solidify the memory.
-So does the adaptive testing used in the app.

For now the app is just for learning Spanish, but the company has a plans to add other languages, including English, Chinese, and German.

Finally, your online cat obsession is good for more than just laughing and wasting time.

Read more: BBC

Photo: Flickr/Merlijn Hoek

— By on December 3, 2013, 3:43 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure