All posts in “Linguistics”

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: brain size and extinction risk; chocolate on the brain; impulses towards retribution; the online spread of Ebola fears; the legacy of Harper Lee.

Extinction vulnerability. Surprisingly, animals with larger relative brain sizes may face greater risk of extinction. From Stanford University via Futurity

A chocolate a day. Regularly eating chocolate may help the brain retain mental sharpness. From Tom Jacobs via Pacific Standard.

Crime & Punishment. A philosopher offers a different vision for our country’s justice system, less based on punishment, and more on rehabilitation and empathy. From Neil Levy via Aeon.

Snowballing stress. With the help of the Internet, stress and fear have the ability to spread faster and further than other emotions. From Adrienne Berard via Nautilus.

Take a walk in someone else’s skin. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird reflects a respect not just for the arc of history, but for the hope that it does indeed bend toward justice. From Megan Garber via The Atlantic.


Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Ken Teegarden CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: replaying rewarding memories; writing the good and bad; cross-language brain interaction; animating the immigration debate; beyond “victimhood.”

Memory loop. Our brain replays memories of rewarding situations as we rest. From University of California, Davis via Psy Post.

Escaping “likability.” Author Tony Tulathimutte talks about getting away from writing “good,” morally upstanding protagonists. From Joe Fassier via The Atlantic.

Bilingual brains. Learning two languages reshapes the structure and networks in the brain. From Penn State via Psy Post.

Bordertown. A new animated show, set in the fictional Southwest, uses satire and comedy to explore opposing sides of the immigration debate. From Mandalit del Barco via NPR.

Transcending the “victimhood” narrative. One migrant shares his story of prolonged, painful initiation that shaped the man he is today. From Sarah Menkedick via Aeon.


Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Geof Wilson CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Martin Luther King Jr mural in classroom

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: lessons on social justice; generational shifts in thinking; how experiencing pain can increase empathy; non-verbal communication; catching friendly germs.

More than “a Dream.” Educators and activists advocate a fresh, more comprehensive approach to teaching about the black civil-rights movement and Martin Luther Kings, Jr.’s life. From Melinda Anderson via The Atlantic.

Cultural psychology. A study of British Bangladeshi migrants finds that migrant thinking styles can shift toward non-migrant thinking styles after just one generation. From Alex Mesoudi and Kesson Magid via The Conversation.

I feel your pain. Experiencing personal pain makes us more likely to feel sympathetic and understanding towards others’ suffering. From Danielle Levesque via Psy Post.

Ugh. Our brains recognize emotions conveyed through non-verbal vocalizations faster than emotions conveyed through words. From McGill University via Psy Post.

Community microorganisms. A new study found that the more chimpanzees interacted socially, the more their gut bacteria resembled each other’s. From Nathan Collins via Pacific Standard.


Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Joe Goldberg CC BY 2.0

Porcupines cross the road

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: prickly people; oral storytelling among African-American preschoolers; imaging emotions; the art of persuasion; the stories we tell ourselves.

The porcupine problem. As much as humans feel a drive for companionship, our different natures and qualities often repel us apart. From Michael Fitzgerald via Pacific Standard.

Show and tell. A study of African-American preschoolers finds a unique link between oral storytelling skills and reading development. From Dave Shaw via Futurity.

The brain’s signature. Advances in brain imaging allow researchers to accurately predict and read human emotions. From Dartmouth College via PsyPost.

Natural smooth-talkers. Research has found that we regularly underestimate our ability to persuade other people. From Melissa Dahl via Science of Us.

Story of my life. According to narrative psychologists, the stories we tell ourselves become important aspects of our personality. From Julie Beck via The Atlantic.


Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Denali National Park, CC BY 2.0

Communication break-down

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: communicating in the workplace; our illogical preference for large groups; happiness indicators across political lines; the limitations of history class; cooperation and game theory.


Speaking a shared language. Successful communication involves more than self-expression. Tips on how to navigate value conflicts in the workplace and communicate in terms that resonate with your audience. From Jason Hreha via Big Think.

The bigger the better. The psychology behind why we assign more value to items when they’re placed in larger groups. From Coglode.

If you’re happy and you know it. New research on facial expressions and language choice suggests liberals and conservatives may express happiness in different ways. From Tom Jacobs via Business Insider.

History is written by the winners. How can high schools move away from models that promote one “set” historical narrative and make space for multiple histories and accounts? From Michael Conway via The Atlantic

Work with me. Since cooperation creates more benefit and makes our lives easier, why then don’t we cooperate all of the time? From Alexander J Stewart via PsyPost.


Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Jurgen Appelo, CC BY 2.0

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter (Dec 19)

Among this week’s #GeekReads: Why worriers are so smart; how culture “kindles” the physical sensation of spirituality; a reason to (re)discover the joy of giving this holiday season.


The gift of giving. In spite of the stress and financial strain of holiday gift-giving, psychology research suggests that gift-givers experience more joy than gift-receivers.

Why worry warts are smart. New research suggests that there is a link between anxiety and intelligence.

If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t trust it. The smarties over at Cognitive Lode explain why words that are easier to say are more trustworthy – which they’ve dubbed the speak-easy effect.

Feeling spiritual. Culture shapes how a person physically experiences their faith. Thai Buddhists and evangelical Christians experience different spiritual sensations – what the folks at Futurity call “cultural kindling.”

A resolution for resolutions. Give up on resolutions this New Year. Instead, focus on optimizing what’s right rather fixing something wrong with your life.

Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.


Note: While we never stop geeking out, #GeekReads will be on vacation for the rest of December. We’ll be back the week of January 5th. Happy Holidays!

Image: flickr/JD Hancock, CC BY 2.0

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