Does the Language We Speak Affect Our Perception of Reality?

Recently, Lera Boroditsky, an assistant professor of psychology, neuroscience, and symbolic systems at Stanford University, and her colleagues, tested the influence of language on thought. They compared English speakers, Hebrew speakers and Kuuk Thaayorre speakers, an aboriginal community in northern Australia, each of whom has different way of dealing with directions. They were all asked to place images such as a crocodile growing up or a banana being eaten in a chronological order. English speakers placed images from left to right; Hebrew speakers placed them from right to left; Kuuk Thaayorre speakers placed them from east or west, which means that if they were facing south, the images were placed from left to right, but if they were facing north, they went from right to left. Not surprisingly, the researchers found that Kuuk Thaayorre speakers were better at staying oriented and figuring out where they were even in unfamiliar spaces. Boroditsky writes that the influence of their directional language goes even further to “…time, number, musical pitch, kinship relations, morality, and emotions.”

Original article: http://bigthink.com/philip-perry/does-the-language-we-speak-affect-our-perception-of-reality

Image: http://www.vancitybuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/shutterstock_208347706-984×500.jpg

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About Soomin Kim 14 Articles

Soomin is a Composition major from Seoul, Korea and the rest of her family lives in the Philippines. She speaks English and Japanese (but no kanji), and is studying Spanish. She loves learning new languages because she believes that language is the most powerful way to understand and explore the culture. She enjoys traveling with her friends during vacations, which makes her spend all the money she has saved for a semester. In her free time, Soomin likes to collect vintage clothes, watch movies and Korean TV shows, listen to music, and read books.

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