We like to think of ourselves as rational creatures, absorbing information, weighing it carefully, and making thoughtful decisions. But, as it turns out, we're kidding ourselves. Over the past few decades, scientists have shown there are many different internal and external factors influencing how we think, feel, communicate, and make decisions at any given moment. One particularly powerful influence may be our own bodies, according to new research reviewed in the December issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Cognitive scientist Daniel Casasanto, of The New School for Social Research, has shown that quirks of our bodies affect our thinking in predictable ways, across many different areas of life, from language to mental imagery to emotion ...
Tag Archives | Language
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Talk about gender confusion! A recent study by University of Alberta researchers Elena Nicoladis and Cassandra Foursha-Stevenson in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology into whether speaking French influenced how children assigned gender to objects yielded some interesting observations. Nicoladis and Foursha-Stevenson found some differences between the unilingual English children and the bilingual French-English children they surveyed. Some of the more startling results from the Anglo crowd? Cows are boys. Cats and stars are girls.
Le culture or la culture: our bias
The researchers showed objects or images to the children participating in the study and asked them whether the objects seemed to be masculine or feminine in nature. While the unilingual children seemed to identify most objects as masculine, many younger bilingual children were willing to consider that, globally speaking, some objects could be feminine in nature even though, Nicoladis says, “their categorizations didn’t correspond very well to whether the objects were masculine or feminine in French.”
As to how Bessie may have inadvertently became Bernie, Nicoladis says that there is an explanation as to why the children may have chosen masculine more often than feminine, even for cows: it reveals a bias embedded in the language.
Every social movement I have been involved with, or covered as a journalist, develops its own language of liberation, its own alphabet, and its own buzzwords, rhetoric and discourse.
Here are some of the key words I heard/retained in covering the Occupy Wall Street movement. I am sure there are many words, phrases, and slogans I overlooked, never heard or forgot. Send your favorites to: email@example.com.
These are words that power a struggle and speak to the internal processes that attracted so many to take part, as well as the issues that drive it and the obstacles that face it. They are some of the phrases, terms, sayings and expressions that the occupiers use in their conversations to define themselves and discuss their mission.
A. Adbusters, Anarchy, Arrest, Activist, Action, Anger, Angry, Atrium, Assembly (Freedom of,) Arab Spring, Autonomy, Anonymous. All Night, All Week, Austerity, Autumn Awakening.
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Robert Pigott reports on the controversial new Bible translation into Jamaican patois for BBC News Magazine:
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The Bible is, for the first time, being translated into Jamaican patois. It’s a move welcomed by those Jamaicans want their mother tongue enshrined as the national language – but opposed by others, who think learning and speaking English should be the priority.
In the Spanish Town Tabernacle near the capital, Kingston, the congregation is hearing the word of God in the language of the street.
At the front of the concrete-block church, a young man and woman read alternate lines from the Bible.
This is the Gospel of St Luke in Jamaican patois – or more precisely, “Jiizas – di buk we Luuk rait bout im”.
The sound of the creole, developed from English by West African slaves in Jamaica’s sugar plantations 400 years ago, has an electrifying effect on those listening.
Several women rise to testify, in patois, to what it means to hear the Bible in their mother tongue.
Jailbreak the Patriarchy genderswaps the world for you. When it’s installed, everything you read in Chrome (except for gmail, so far) loads with pronouns and a reasonably thorough set of other gendered words swapped. For example: “he loved his mother very much” would read as “she loved her father very much”, “the patriarchy also hurts men” would read as “the matriarchy also hurts women”, that sort of thing. This makes reading stuff on the internet a pretty fascinating and eye-opening experience, I must say. What would the world be like if we reversed the way we speak about women and men? Well, now you can find out!
Sarcasm levels are ever-increasing in our modern world — perhaps a century from now, communications will contain more sarcastic expressions than sincere ones. So what is the value of being tongue-in-cheek? It involves more intelligence and creativity than straight-talk, and machines cannot (yet) understand or imitate it with complete accuracy. Thus irony may be our last and best weapon in the inevitable war against the robots. Smithsonian Magazine reveals:
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For the past 20 years, researchers from linguists to psychologists to neurologists have been studying our ability to perceive snarky remarks and gaining new insights into how the mind works. Studies have shown that exposure to sarcasm enhances creative problem solving, for instance.
Sarcasm detection is an essential skill if one is going to function in a modern society dripping with irony. “Our culture in particular is permeated with sarcasm,” says Katherine Rankin, a neuropsychologist at the University of California at San Francisco.
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As words can be the soul’s window, scientists are learning to peer through it: Computerized text analysis shows that psychopathic killers make identifiable word choices — beyond conscious control — when talking about their crimes.This research could lead to new tools for diagnosis and treatment, and have implications law enforcement and social media.
The words of psychopathic murderers match their personalities, which reflect selfishness, detachment from their crimes and emotional flatness, says Jeff Hancock, Cornell professor of computing and information science, and colleagues at the University of British Columbia in the journal Legal and Criminological Psychology.
Hancock and his colleagues analyzed stories told by 14 psychopathic male murderers held in Canadian prisons and compared them with 38 convicted murderers who were not diagnosed as psychopathic. Each subject was asked to describe his crime in detail. Their stories were taped, transcribed and subjected to computer analysis.
Psychopaths used more conjunctions like “because,” “since” or “so that,” implying that the crime “had to be done” to obtain a particular goal.
Greg Howard writes in Slate:
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If someone called us these names to our faces, or even if we overheard them, how would we react? Ask them to stop? Throw a punch? Walk away? All of the above, and in that order? Now what would we do if those words popped up on our Facebook wall, Twitter feed or cell phone? Would we … laugh?
According to a recent national Associated Press-MTV poll of young people between 14 and 24, most teens and young 20-somethings think it’s alright to use slurs among friends or when joking around in cyberspace. Seventy-one percent say that people are more likely to use slurs online, and 51 percent encounter discriminatory words and images on social networking sites. Only half of those surveyed said they would probably ask someone using such language online to stop.
Most say they feel more comfortable with slurs online because people are just trying to be funny or cool.