For questions about the psychology and neuroscience of the production and perception of oral and written language.

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21
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2answers
1k views

Does language and/or culture affect an individual's cognitive capacity?

Some languages have multiple expressions to identify, address, comprehend, and interpret a single concept and/or experience. Are limits placed on understanding and describing aspects of cognition due ...
21
votes
3answers
8k views

Why do you sometimes write down one word while actually intending to write another?

I've caught myself writing (typing) "possible" instead of "possibly" a few times over the past few days, while I do intend to write "possibly". Only upon rereading the sentence I notice my mistake. ...
21
votes
1answer
323 views

How do emotions influence the language structures we use?

What are the verbal signs of subjectivity? I am doing research about the linguistic content of media (debates, talk-show, sport comments). It occurs that once the participant gets nervous or excited, ...
20
votes
2answers
4k views

Is there a term for trying to remember a word, but only remembering its first letter?

This happens to me frequently. I'll say, "Oh you know that guy... uhh... I can't remember his name. But he starts with a 'Z'." You can remember part of the word but not the whole word. Is there a ...
17
votes
8answers
4k views

Is it possible to think in a second language?

Those who have learned a second language are guaranteed to consciously think of words and their corresponding meaning in your native language or vice versa. This is common with more "complex" ...
17
votes
1answer
400 views

Does the effect of naturalistic exposure on second language acquisition vary with age?

A while back, I watched the movie The Terminal and the main character played by Tom Hanks learns to speak fluent English while he is stranded in the airport for more than a year. Which seems somewhat ...
14
votes
3answers
426 views

How does the brain learn what something is for the first time?

I'm trying to understand how the idea of what a thing is originates in humans. For example, in computer science, it is possible to know what an object is and what it does, by examining its "parent/...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

How is a young child able to learn language so easily?

It's a well known fact that the earlier children are exposed to languages the better, as young children have a better ability to learn new languages than adults. Why is this? At what age does a ...
13
votes
5answers
23k views

What causes some people to unconsciously imitate the accents of others?

Background: I often notice that when I talk with someone with an accent that I often unconsciously start to imitate their accent. Similarly, you see some people that very quickly after moving to a ...
13
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2answers
2k views

Why might a stutterer not stutter when talking to themselves, whispering, or singing?

Background: I'm a stutterer myself and have always wondered what caused my stuttering. There have been reports of the effects of certain genes and environmental factors that causes stuttering. But ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the effect of motherese on development?

Most cultures (Falk, 2009) have a special type of language that is used to talk to children: infant-directed-speech (IDL; or informally, motherese, baby talk). For instance, Fernald (1992) argues that ...
11
votes
2answers
7k views

Why does repeating one word over and over again sound weird to us after some time?

This effect seems to be observed with almost any word. I would say this phenomenon 'works' for longer and complex words better. When we repeat a word over and over again, it starts to sound very ...
11
votes
2answers
487 views

What are different ways to determine centroids of fMRI activation, their drawbacks and perks?

I'm reading an older article on bilingualism (Kim, Relkin, Lee, & Hirsch, 1997) for a seminar. They were interested in the spatial separation of two languages in early and late bilinguals. They ...
10
votes
3answers
453 views

What psychological factors account for code readability?

Readability is often intuitively synthesized. If you see some piece of code, you just know whether it is readable or not. But what are actual psychological, scientific explanations for this? There ...
9
votes
3answers
390 views

Is it easy in languages other than English to read a paragraph where all but the first and last letters of every word have been rearranged?

I was really surprised how fast I was able to read and comprehend following text: I cnduo't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan ...
9
votes
1answer
156 views

Learning a language by Immersion

Immersion is the process by which children learn their native language, but it can also be used in educational settings. Apparently in some countries, where the official language is not the language ...
9
votes
1answer
155 views

Does a split brain affect the inner voice?

In the Nature link provided, split brain reportedly alters the processing of sensory input (e.g., an aberrant performance on monocular visual tasks under laboratory conditions), and impairs motor ...
8
votes
2answers
80 views

What if people understand or interpret words differently in their mind?

Let's think about it, we have all adopted to learn the meaning of words through experiences or emotions. We didn't learn each and every word from a dictionary. What if I understand a word slightly ...
8
votes
2answers
243 views

Can the daily use of two or more languages impact cognitive capacity?

I've read the following threads: Is it possible to think in a second language? Does language and/or culture affect an individual's cognitive capacity? is it possible to think without language? ...
8
votes
2answers
170 views

How does a language deprived person think?

Question Let us say a person is deprived of language (of any form, including verbal and non-verbal) since birth to an age where normal adult brain functioning would be expected. Then how would they ...
8
votes
1answer
97 views

Have there been any studies into language development in the blind?

The title pretty much says it all. I'm looking for any studies or experiments into language development in those born blind. I'm interested as part of my investigations into AI on how language is ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Difficulty of expressing thoughts verbally

Some people find it difficult to express their thoughts verbally. They may often feel that their words don't give their thoughts enough justice, and that their thoughts could've been verbalized better....
7
votes
1answer
138 views

Any attempts at testing or modeling the 'cognitive conception' of language?

For those unfamiliar, the 'cognitive conception of language' refers to a claim made by some theorists that, in the words of Carruthers: "besides its obvious communicative functions, language also ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Body Language: Why do we give each other the grumpy/frowning fake smile?

I've recently become aware of this - I kinda knew I was always doing it, but just now it got me self conscious and thinking about it: When crossing paths with a stranger, you are supposed to be ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the average amount of new vocabulary adults retain when learning a second language?

What are the realistic/optimal (or maximal) number of words of vocabulary that can be learned (retained and later successfully accessed) by an adult learner of a foreign/second language? (Unit: Per ...
6
votes
4answers
374 views

is it possible to think without language?

I'm trying to fathom what it might be like for a person with aphasia and for one with agnosia. For a person with a visual agnosia I wonder this: if two unrecognizable objects are shown to them, and ...
6
votes
2answers
237 views

Do women talk more than men?

If you believe the stereotype, women are much more talkative then men. Is there a kernel of truth to this stereotype? I have seen media reports of studies trying to debunk this as a myth. However, ...
6
votes
1answer
389 views

Is there a lot of redundancy in written and spoken language?

I read years ago in a pop science book that written and spoken language can be shown to have a high level of redundancy. The speculation was that this served to allow error correction because language ...
6
votes
4answers
116 views

Why do people have different personalities when speaking different languages?

Edit: This study is much more relevant in terms of the question. This study suggests (according to article linked below) that a multilingual person can have multiple personalities, each tied to one ...
6
votes
1answer
115 views

Why do people who stutter have less difficulty singing than speaking?

From what I have read, stutterers tend to have much less trouble singing than speaking. Do we know why this is the case?
6
votes
3answers
60 views

Why does autism sometimes impede the ability to produce speech?

My seventeen year old brother is severely autistic and unable to communicate. He can produce sounds, and imitate words, but he doesn't respond to words in a way that suggests he understands them. His ...
6
votes
2answers
365 views

Is sub-vocalization when reading and writing merely a symptom of lack of fluency?

In reading & writing, I for one, find myself subvocalizing the statement to myself. This behaviour is language-independent. However, the effort and subvocalization involved is greater in any ...
6
votes
1answer
73 views

Do people low on agreeableness swear more?

Reading through a scientific report on Big 5 characteristics in everyday life, I found a -.28 correlation for Agreaableness and swearing. http://dingo.sbs.arizona.edu/~mehl/eReprints/EARlensmodelJPSP....
6
votes
2answers
276 views

How does syntax highlighting affect the learning of a new programming language?

What impact does syntax highlighting have on students' progress in learning a new programming language? I'm looking for studies along the lines of the following hypothetical experiment, which ...
6
votes
2answers
226 views

What is the neurobiological basis of the “inner voice” used for thought or reading?

I've recently experienced a number of hypnogogic near sleep states characterized by change in thinking (stage 1-2 sleep). I noticed that if I let go and get absorbed in the state, I can follow it. I ...
6
votes
1answer
168 views

Can non-verbal communication in interpersonal relationships be taught rather than acquired?

In my experience people living together in difficult circumstances (e.g. close friends, family members) often learn to relate to each other's non-verbal cues. For instance; A spouse may go shopping ...
6
votes
0answers
42 views

What are the pros and cons of teaching a toddler two languages simultaneously versus sequentially?

Would it cause any speech issues if I decide to teach my toddler English and Spanish at the same time? Or should I teach one language first and then the other one?
6
votes
0answers
39 views

Does the brain generate identical words in different languages similarly?

Saying (or even just thinking) a word or phrase results from activity in multiple regions of your brain. Of course, we can measure/'map' this activity to some degree; From wikipedia: EEG measures ...
6
votes
0answers
32 views

Why do I type “it's” when I know it should be “its” [duplicate]

I know the difference between "its" and "it's". When I read it, even in my own writing, I can see incorrect usages almost instantly. However, when I type, I often type "it's" when I should write "its."...
5
votes
3answers
214 views

How much information is lost when conveying an experience or emotion to another person?

Certain languages have words that do not literally translate into any another language. There is already a small loss of information in this sense. Emotions are a personal experience and the ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

How does language change the understanding of a complex concept?

For example, does breaking down a complex concept, initially described with scientific and uncommon terms, into less complex language degrade the understanding of the concept or can it maintain all it'...
5
votes
1answer
87 views

Technical term for the loss of words in your mother-tongue when speaking a different language

I am basically looking for two words which are, though, related to some degree. It might even be that ultimately the same word is the answer to both parts of this question. I split them up into two ...
5
votes
1answer
838 views

The effects of online chat on written language skills

With the advent of texting and online social networking. There has been a dictionary of new words and acronyms, based on abbreviations. I have noticed that I will misuse there, they're and their, hear ...
5
votes
1answer
81 views

Does knowing a word for an emotion cause a person to feel the emotion more frequently?

I am aware of the Frequency Illusion which makes it more likely for us to notice a new word if we just heard about it recently, but I was wondering if this is true for emotions as well. Logically, I ...
5
votes
1answer
264 views

How would self awareness be limited without languages

Is it possible to posses a self awareness without having any sort of language at hand, not even a personal sign system. How would such an languageless experience be like? I am not sure if this can be ...
5
votes
1answer
109 views

Learned dyslexia? adult predicament from childhood teacher´s incompetence?

I have a friend, over 30, who is convinced she cannot really read. Of course; she can read, but she struggles so much with sorting letters into words that she cannot absorb the content. Playing - say ...
5
votes
0answers
86 views

Do readers consider the passive voice as more authoritative?

In the middle of the last century (roughly from the 20s-70s) the passive voice dominated scientific writing; or should it be said that scientific writing was dominated by the passive voice? Nowadays,...
5
votes
0answers
58 views

How successful are modern (2015) sentiment analysis algorithms for identifying emotion?

I see a number of questions about implementing text sentiment analysis algorithms on StackOverflow, and am interested - how effective are sentiment analysis algorithms at identifying the mood/emotion/...
5
votes
0answers
85 views

What are the most well-understood vocal animal languages? [closed]

There are many examples of animal language that involve vocal pattens or "grammar". For example, there is the the Bee dance, bird songs, whale songs, dogs. Bird vocalization includes both bird calls ...
5
votes
0answers
114 views

Are there any cutting edge techniques that enable to acquire foreign language at relatively fast pace?

I am aware of immersion method as well as mnemonics such as the one Daniel Tammet's Born on a Blue Day. I read that Kim Peek's lack of corpus callosum enabled his brain to absorb information faster ...