57 votes
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If babies were isolated, would they develop their own language?

This question would require an experiment that cannot ethically be conducted, but it is interesting. Wikipedia has an article on historical attempts at language deprivation experiments: An ...
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13 votes
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Do women talk more than men?

Funnily enough, there was a Science article published on this (see here). In their sample of university students, Mehl et al. had participants wear a specialized device that recorded audio samples ...
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13 votes
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Why do people who stutter have less difficulty singing than speaking?

Short answer Singing increases the duration of voiced intervals in stutterers. Background Singing is an example of one of the most effective methods to decrease stuttering* (Stager, 2003). It is a so-...
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13 votes

Why does the brain skip over repeated "the" words in sentences?

A study by Rainer et al. (2011) has shown that words are skipped and apparently filled in mentally quite often (in the order of 8 to 30% of times). Two important factors that increased skipping rates ...
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12 votes
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How does a language deprived person think?

Probably in "visuospatial thinking". Thinking modalities: I assume here that you are asking about the modality of thinking. This is not a well studied area in cognitive science. I believe the ...
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8 votes

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?

The neologism used to describe this phenomenon is Typoglycemia. It relates to the cognitive processes behind reading written text. Randomising letters in the middle of words have little or no effect ...
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8 votes
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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?

The scrambled words game is very useful in persuading the less sophisticated to take a passing interest in their own cognitive processes! it is intriguing and also rewarding as it shows we can do ...
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8 votes

If babies were isolated, would they develop their own language?

While no cases of complete isolation of a group of children seem to exist, idioglossia (language invented and spoken by only one person or very few people) in twins is well documented and appears to ...
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7 votes
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Body Language: Why do we give each other the grumpy/frowning fake smile?

Since this (excellent) question has been around for a while without any answer, I thought I'd give my two cents. I think we do this as a gesture of respect to the other person. We may fear that if ...
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7 votes

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?

The ‘jumbled word effect’ is due to the special way in which the human brain encodes the positions of letters in printed words. Psycholinguists investigate this effect with a procedure called masked-...
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7 votes
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What is the name of the "Things are more visible once you learn about them" phenomenon?

The scenario you describe is sometimes called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one stumbles upon some obscure piece of information—often an unfamiliar word or ...
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  • 3,461
6 votes

Difficulty of expressing thoughts verbally

This is not a direct answer to the question, but a related construct that may be useful is alexithymia. Alexithymia is a personality construct describing relatively decreased ability to identify and ...
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6 votes
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Why do people have different personalities when speaking different languages?

That is a really interesting question. There are some studies that found that the emotional response is strong in one's native language compared to languages that are acquired later. For instance, a ...
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5 votes

Why does autism sometimes impede the ability to produce speech?

Difficulties with language is not actually a symptom of autism. Autism Spectrum Disorder involves difficulties in social communication and interaction, as well as restricted and repetitive interests ...
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5 votes

Using CBT for a justified fear?

The first option is to investigate exactly what his worries are and to put them in perspective. Often, people catastrophize their fears, imagining the worst possible scenario for a given situation. ...
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5 votes
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Can the daily use of two or more languages impact cognitive capacity?

A lot of research seems to have been done on the challenges multilingualism poses for the human brain, but not so much on how much actually meeting those challenges improves one's overall cognitive ...
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5 votes

Why do people have different personalities when speaking different languages?

Both of my parents and I are multilingual. We come from Czech Republic and have learned multiple languages through our lives as we moved around. I have noticed, even within myself that I "feel" ...
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5 votes

What happens if you lie to a child during language acquisition?

You would need a conspiracy of many people to prank a child with this kind of thing, because kids are really good at tracking the information value of sources. If you give a different random word ...
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5 votes
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Is mapping sound frequencies to the vertical axis universal?

Humans technically don't perceive frequencies, they perceive pitch. According to Wikipedia: the idiom relating vertical height to sound pitch is shared by most languages. citing a 1930 article by ...
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4 votes

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

(Unfortunately, the links appear to be broken, so I will reply to the title and bolded question.) Being forced to use a language you are unfamiliar with as a language technique is known as immersion ...
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4 votes

Is it better to say "Don't forget" or "Remember" in written encouragement?

I'd argue that Churchill's "Never, never, NEVER give up" didn't reputedly have this effect. With 'Don't forget' the 'don't' may well outweigh the infinitive verb in its cognitive effect, especially ...
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4 votes
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Does 3rd person reference to self change perception of self?

One way to think about this is called "self-distancing" (e.g., Kross & Ayduk, 2011), which has primarily been studied in terms of emotion regulation. Self-distancing is when you view your ...
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4 votes
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How did the concepts of left and right direction develop in the human mind?

There is a perspective called the "sociological imagination" that can be used to "frame," or interpret, perceptions. In part, this perspective involves an awareness toward the linkages between history ...
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4 votes
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What is the opposite of an insult for the purposes of triggering lasting positive affect?

The words we use have no inherent capacity to evoke negative or positive affect. Instead, how we appraise, reappraise, attend to, and reflect on those words determines our affective response (e.g., ...
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4 votes
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Do subjects with a missing cerebellum have a superior ability to verbalize motion sequences?

I think that this question is hard to answer because there is little known about the cerebellum, and few instances of people who have been born without one. There are only 10 known cases of complete ...
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4 votes

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

Quite certainly this is the case (even if you learn all words from a dictionary), but this is more of a philosophical debate. It is unclear what you are after when referring to 'pessimistic', '...
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4 votes

Is there any evidence that language is the limit of the world?

This is not quite your question, but it's the closest thing I know of. There's a significant amount of work suggesting that purely morphological attributes can shape conceptualization: looking at the ...
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