Could funny cats help you learn Spanish?

black cat

Photo taken by Andrea Lainé

You can barely visit YouTube these days without stumbling upon a funny cat video, and their immense popularity has been recognised time and time again in the global media. Now, one company has found that these cute critters might have a purpose other than making us laugh which could even help us improve our language skills.

App developers at Memrise created an experiment to see whether or not a link existed between funny images and our ability to recall phrases, with the results analysed to discover what sort of picture appeared to aid memory the best. Amazingly, it was found that the ever-popular funny cat pictures triumphed.

Ben Whately, chief operating officer at Memrise, said that the cat pictures created ‘disproportionately’ higher levels of phrase retention than any others tested, which is very interesting from a language learning perspective.

The fantastic news is that the company has now created an app based on this research. It is called CatAcademy, and it works by displaying a humorous picture of a cat with Spanish phrases in the hope that the link between the humour and the phrases will increase retention levels and enhance the benefits users get out of their language learning.

Research has shown that the link between imagery and memory is very powerful, and it is not unlikely that the mere fact that we find the pictures funny could make us feel more inclined to spend more time learning the language and using the app. Japanese research stated that the ‘cute factor’ of these images helps us to remember, which can only be good news for anyone who has struggled to stay focused when trying to learn a new language.

The cat meme trend has clearly proved successful in this instance, but are there any other four-legged friends you would like to see in a language learning programme?

Read more about the funny cat research>>

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