Are drugs the answer to learning languages? British Academy/Guardian Debate





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Published on Jul 30, 2014

Are drugs the answer to learning languages?

Thursday 10 July 2014, 7-8.15pm
Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albermale St, London, W1S 4BS

Chaired by Robin McKie, Science and Technology Editor, The Observer

Scientists have discovered that drugs previously used to treat mood disorders can dramatically enhance your capacity to learn. If you could take a pill to boost your ability to learn a language, what are the moral, practical, social and medical implications? How else can these drugs be used? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

This panel, chaired by Robin McKie, looked at the research behind the claims, talked through the consequences of this potential new era for language learning and asked your opinions of what this would mean to you.


Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, FBA, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University


Chair: Robin McKie, Science and Technology Editor, The Observer

Henk Haarmann, Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Maryland

ShaoLan Hsueh, founder, chineasy.org

Daniel Tammet FRSA, writer and essayist

Professor Barbara J Sahakian FMedSci, University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry and MRC/Wellcome Trust, Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute


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