53

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 experiment allegedly carried out by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century saw young infants raised without human interaction in an attempt to ...


23

It is possible for some people to think in a second language. And given that you are asking about possibility, to some extent anecdotes are evidence. Many children who change linguistic communities at a young age lose the ability to talk in their first language. This is particularly the case where the first language is different to the language in which ...


19

TLDR When two speakers become more similar in their speech this is called convergence or accomodation (opposite: divergence). This can occur on all levels of language, phonetics and phonology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. When mutual intellgibility is not an issue, accomodation mainly occurs when speakers like each other or want to appear likeable. ...


18

Is it possible to stop the conscious act of translating your native language to your second language or vice versa? Many people have already commented that they certainly experience thinking in several languages. While this sort of phenomenal insight is interesting in itself, one key idea from cognitive science research is that introspection is not ...


15

I think the answer is a qualified yes, humans can think without language. Ultimately though it depends on what you mean by "think." There is a remarkably large number of deaf people who are not exposed either to a signed or spoken language even in developed countries. These people often invent their own gesture systems, referred to as home sign systems. ...


14

This is called semantic saturation, or semantic satiation; studies of event-related potentials (brain waves) suggest that it is negatively correlated with N400 amplitude (the subjective experience of satiation increases as the N400 amplitude decreases) without any change to upstream sensory components. As N400 amplitude indexes initial lexical integration--...


13

According to current models of human concept learning, the answer to your question is both. Think of a simplified domain in which every object consists of only several features, and therefore can be visualized as a point in some multidimensional feature space. For example, the features that define objects might be its size, shape, color, and weight. ...


13

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 from daily life (The EAR). They report that (emphasis mine): The data suggest that women spoke on average 16,215 (SD = 7301) words and men 15,669 (SD = 8633) ...


13

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-called fluency-increasing (FI) condition in stutterers and reduces stuttering by more than 90%. Some of the few, subtle acoustic differences between song and ...


12

Using the English language, given two sentences that say the same thing, what makes one more readable than the other? Usually terseness while retaining clarity and removing ambiguity. The exact same things make code more readable. Remove everything that doesn't add anything, but don't remove things that do add information. And avoid ambiguity. In code, we ...


11

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 question stems from an underlying assumption that most people think in their primary language (or possibly switch if they are fully bilingual). This was certainly ...


10

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 were the length of the word and the predictability of the word due to contextual constraints. Both cases apply on the word 'the', because it is short and ...


8

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 on the ability of skilled readers to understand the text. Because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but as a whole, it would work for any ...


8

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 something apparently rather difficult more easily than expected. However, the difficulty will be greater for second language learners at earlier stages of study. ...


7

The accepted answer by @krysta may not be the full story: it depends on the way words are repeated. I understand from @tsykora's question that words are repeated without a separation (syllables are produced at a fixed pace). Kounios et al. used spoken words (mean length of 544 milliseconds) that were repeated several times at a fixed interval of 800 ...


7

This is my current area of research (I'm a Ph.D. student in computer science and cognitive science). Like you said, there are a large number of readability/complexity metrics, but very little research trying to quantify what makes a piece of code psychologically complex. For more information on qualitative studies and models, I'd highly recommend the 2001 ...


7

Certainly. It depends on the type of learning process of a person. One can be better at remembering images, so he might access the images first when trying to define an object/event/etc. This can be thought of as having a photographic memory. The main reason why most people think with words is because it is a much more sophisticated and structured ...


7

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 we don't acknowledge them at all, it will come off as rude or arrogant. Maybe we fear that if we don't even look at the other person, we're basically pretending ...


7

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-priming where a target word is primed with a briefly presented stimulus (usually a mix of target's letters). This lead to a model of word recognition that ...


7

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 name—and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. The more scientifically accepted name for this cognitive bias seems to be '...


6

Motherese may play a role in emotional development. Soken and Pick write: "Concurrent with the exaggerated speech of motherese, there are probably exaggerated facial displays, allowing infants to explore the particular aspects of the face... Child-centered displays may serve as opportunities for learning about affective events." Walker-Andrews (1997) also ...


6

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 be amplified by social isolation, as the sad cases of June and Jennifer Gibbons aka "Silent Twins" and the "San Diego twins" Poto and Cabengo illustrate. The ...


5

I noticed that too. And it's not only the accent but the usage of words (different for lawyer and for a farmer), the sounds the person is making, movements and gestures. I think it has something to do with "calibration" of your communication with your "opponent". to get the best possible results when the brain thinks it's possible. Notice how you do the ...


5

This question is pretty broad, but perhaps these studies address your question. In 2006, Daniel Oppenheimer won an Ig Nobel prize for his paper Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly, which demonstrated that using overly-complex words when a simpler word would suffice resulted in ...


5

It is hard to imagine what evidence might be found of thoughts existing without language. Even feral children encounter language (either verbal or nonverbal) through limited contact with people or animals, and lab animals communicate nonverbally with researchers, even if only through their environments (the researcher observes the animal's behavior, and the ...


5

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 capacity. At present the general approach seems to be summed up: "Cognitive science suggests that the brain has selective resources with limited capacity" (Emily ...


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