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  • April 19, 2011
  • 09:41 AM
  • 1,540 views

The Return of the Phoneme Inventories

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Right, I already referred to Atkinson’s paper in a previous post, and much of the work he’s presented is essentially part of a potential PhD project I’m hoping to do. Much of this stems back to last summer, where I mentioned how the phoneme inventory size correlates with certain demographic features, such as population size and population . . . → Read More: The Return of the Phoneme Inventories... Read more »

  • April 9, 2011
  • 06:00 AM
  • 898 views

How old am I?

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0


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It’s my birthday!  But how old am I?  Well, that’s not such a straightforward question.  Even a seemingly well-defined concept such as age can be affected by cultural factors
First, my age in years is a bit of an estimate of the actual amount of time I’ve been alive, due to leap-years etc.  Second, a year is . . . → Read More: How old am I?... Read more »

Knodel J, & Chayovan N. (1991) Age and birth date reporting in Thailand. Asian and Pacific population forum / East-West Population Institute, East-West Center, 5(2-3), 41. PMID: 12343437  

  • April 8, 2011
  • 11:02 AM
  • 2,109 views

Colour terms and national flags

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Today, I wondered whether the number of basic colour terms a language has is reflected in the number of colours on its country’s flag. The idea being that a country’s flag contains colours that are important to its society, and therefore a country with more social tools for discussing colour (colour words) will be more likely to put more colours on its flag. It was a long shot, but here’s what I found:... Read more »

  • April 7, 2011
  • 07:23 PM
  • 2,070 views

The new semantic hub: the posterior middle temporal gyrus

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

Most of us agree that conceptual information is represented in a broadly distributed network throughout cortex, but there is disagreement about what the organizational principles of this knowledge might be (see debates between Alfonso Caramazza and Alex Martin or Friedemann Pulvermuller), as well as a debate about the system, or "hub", that binds all of this information together. Here I'm going to focus on the latter question.One hypothesis is that the anterior temporal lobe serves as the brain........ Read more »

  • April 5, 2011
  • 08:30 AM
  • 1,588 views

This Just In: Grow a Bigger Brain Without Getting Off the Couch!

by Sharon Neufeldt in I Can Has Science?

A couple of months ago, published an article demonstrating that aerobic exercise can increase the size of your hippocampus. Well, for those of you interested in growing your gray matter without breaking a sweat, this latest (unrelated) study is for … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • April 3, 2011
  • 04:36 PM
  • 1,738 views

Storytelling Gone Wild

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Humans everywhere are inveterate storytellers. Because storytelling, in the form of narrative, is found in all cultures and is structurally similar — with agents and action linked together by causation — there is excellent reason to think this ability is the result of intense selection pressure and is not simply a byproduct of other cognitive [...]... Read more »

  • March 29, 2011
  • 02:14 AM
  • 1,282 views

We won. They lost.

by Melanie Tannenbaum in ionpsych

Let’s start off this post with an exercise in imagination. Imagine that we happen to be big fans of the same team. First, imagine that our favorite team is the underdog in a major sports competition – say, the NCAA … Continue reading →... Read more »

Cialdini, R.B., Borden, R. J., Thorne, A., Walker, M.R., Freeman, S., & Sloan, L.R. (1976) Basking in reflected glory: Three (football) field studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34(3), 366-375. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3514.34.3.366  

Newman ML, Pennebaker JW, Berry DS, & Richards JM. (2003) Lying words: predicting deception from linguistic styles. Personality , 29(5), 665-75. PMID: 15272998  

  • March 18, 2011
  • 02:17 PM
  • 1,344 views

Cultural inheritance in studies of artifical grammar learning

by Sean Roberts in The Adventures of Auck

Recently, I've been attending an artificial language learning research group and have discovered an interesting case of cultural inheritance.... Read more »

A. Reber. (1967) Implicit learning of artifical grammars. Journal of Verbal Learning and Behavior, 855-863. info:/

  • March 18, 2011
  • 01:52 PM
  • 1,213 views

Cultural inheritance in studies of artifical grammar learning

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0


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Recently, I’ve been attending an artificial language learning research group and have discovered an interesting case of cultural inheritance.  Arthur Reber was one of the first researchers to look at the implicit learning of grammar.  Way back in 1967, he studied how adults (quaintly called ‘Ss’ in the original paper) learned an artificial grammar, created from . . . → Read More: Cultural inheritance in studies of artifical grammar learning... Read more »

A. Reber. (1967) Implicit learning of artifical grammars. Journal of Verbal Learning and Behavior, 855-863. info:/

  • March 18, 2011
  • 09:27 AM
  • 1,546 views

Emergence of linguistic diversity in the lab

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

I propose an experiment based on a theory from Nettle (1999) and an experimental paradigm by Roberts (2010) to look at the emergence of stable bilingualism.... Read more »

  • March 10, 2011
  • 05:54 PM
  • 1,769 views

On the relation between language and music

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

Much has been said on the relation between music and language. Most of it arguing for common computational foundations:...syntax in language and music share a common set of processes (instantiated in frontal brain area) - Patel, 2003...some aspects of structural integration in language and music appear to be shared -Fedorenko, et al., 2009All formal differences between language and music are a consequence of differences in their fundamental building blocks (arbitrary pairings of sound and meani........ Read more »

Patel, A. (2003) Language, music, syntax and the brain. Nature Neuroscience, 6(7), 674-681. DOI: 10.1038/nn1082  

  • March 9, 2011
  • 02:51 PM
  • 1,714 views

Action understanding "from the inside"? Or is it just sensory learning?

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

As I noted previously, Rizzolatti and colleagues have backed off the claim that mirror neurons enable action understanding via strict motor simulation. Instead they emphasize that the really important mirror neurons code the "goals of the action":By matching individual movements, mirror processing provides a representation of body part movements that might serve various functions (for example, imitation), but is devoid of any specific cognitive importance per se. By contrast, through matching t........ Read more »

  • March 9, 2011
  • 07:45 AM
  • 2,353 views

Guest post: Language on the left?

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

The human brain is split into two halves, the left and the right hemisphere. But to what extent are language functions found mainly in one hemisphere, and why this might be? In the first in a series of posts from scientist bloggers, Professor Sophie Scott describes how there are two sides to language in the [...]... Read more »

  • March 7, 2011
  • 10:53 AM
  • 1,203 views

Emergence of linguistic diversity in the lab

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0


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There is a huge amount of linguistic diversity in the world. Isolation and drift due to cultural evolution can explain much of this, but there are many cases where linguistic diversity emerges and persists within groups of interacting individuals.  Previous research has identified the use of linguistic cues of identity as an important factor in the . . . → Read More: Emergence of linguistic diversity in the lab... Read more »

  • March 3, 2011
  • 07:29 PM
  • 1,973 views

National Languages Curriculum

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

My daughter attends a public elementary school in NSW where the children are taught French for one hour each week. In 2009, she was away from her school for one year and did not receive any French instruction during that … Continue reading →... Read more »

Clyne, Michael. (2005) Australia's Language Potential. UNSW Press. info:/

  • February 26, 2011
  • 12:59 PM
  • 1,108 views

Imitation and Social Cognition (III): Man’s best friend

by Michael in A Replicated Typo 2.0


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In my two previous posts (here and here) about imitation and social cognition I wrote about experiments which showed that

1)  young children tend to imitate both the necessary as well as the unnecessary actions when shown how to get at a reward, whereas wild chimpanzees only imitate the necessary actions.

And that

2) both 14-month old human infants . . . → Read More: Imitation and Social Cognition (III): Man’s best friend... Read more »

Range F, Viranyi Z, & Huber L. (2007) Selective imitation in domestic dogs. Current biology : CB, 17(10), 868-72. PMID: 17462893  

  • February 26, 2011
  • 07:59 AM
  • 1,545 views

Where is home?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Many of the people close to my heart are transnationals such as myself. Belonging is a frequently discussed topic in my circles, and often a topic that is surrounded by considerable angst. Where do we belong? Is it really worth … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 17, 2011
  • 05:08 PM
  • 2,522 views

Long-term English language learners

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

When I first started teaching in Australia, I had a Korean-Australian student in one of my undergraduate classes who sounded like most of the other students in my class, like a native speaker of Australian-English. The daughter of Korean immigrants, … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 13, 2011
  • 07:09 PM
  • 3,005 views

Do you speak Swiss?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

A most amazing book has just landed on my desk: Do you speak Swiss, edited by Walter Haas, is the final report on a Swiss National Research Project devoted to Linguistic Diversity and Language Competence in Switzerland. Initiated by the … Continue reading →... Read more »

Walter Haas (Ed.). (2010) Do you speak Swiss? Sprachenvielfalt und Sprachkompetenz in der Schweiz. Nationales Forschungsprogramm NFP 56. NZZ Libro. info:/

  • February 11, 2011
  • 12:11 PM
  • 1,652 views

The Arched Metatarsal of Australopithecus afarensis

by Kambiz Kamrani in Anthropology.net

Carol Ward1, William Kimbel, and Donald Johanson have published a paper in Science on the arch seen in a newly discovered fourth metatarsal of Australopithecus afarensis (AL 333-160). A lot of the popular press are publishing misleading headlines that this … Continue reading →... Read more »

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