Relatively speaking: do our words influence how we think? | Education | The Guardian
Personally, I think that the difference between perception and cognition becomes clear, when you just look at the definitions. Both words stem from latin;. Aug 27, To discover just how deeply words can influence perception, Lupyan The study demonstrates a deeper connection between language and. So important, in fact, that word choice can actually affect not just how we describe of human cognition, including space, time, causality, and our relationships with others. The Surprising Connection Between Your Stomach and Your Mind.
Whorf was of a different time: In the 18th and 19th centuries, writers such as Wilhelm von Humboldt believed that a culture's language encapsulated its identity, to the extent that different languages represented totally distinct worldviews. The late 19th century was the heyday for the idea that white culture was objectively the best, so you can see how this kind of theory really caught on.
However, if you see Whorf as both coming out of but also very different from that kind of thought, he turns out to be a real progressive. As part of a wider American group of thinkers alongside anthropologist Franz Boas and others in the early 20th century, Whorf opposed the idea of biological difference between peoples.
In emphasising cultural relativism, however, they emphasised the conditioned differences between them. Nowadays, it is hard to read any emphasis on human difference without a little side-eye — and quite right, too. As linguists such as Noam Chomsky began to redefine what it meant to study human language, linguistics generally swung from Whorf-style relativist positions to a more universalist approach, in which scholars tried to discover the general principles of language.
Since the 80s, however, investigations into linguistic relativity have flourished anew, but in a much more careful, subtle way. The study of the relationship between language and colour perception is one of the most striking areas of this research, not least because human beings are all of the same species and thus see with the same eyes — differences in defining colour must be something else.
Their Universality and Evolution, in which they argued that there were rules for how all people label colours: Research supporting a relativist view includes studies of the way in which the Namibian Himba people label colour according to only five categories.
The categories would be difficult for you to understand fully or reconstruct, in all probability: This splitting up of shades into groups seems to affect how long it takes for a Himba person to tell the difference between colours that might look very different to you but that are labelled the same for them. You can read more about the Himba in this study.
The universalist and relativist schools of thought are no longer so clearly split from or opposed to each other and, we can but hope, ideology permeates academic research less and less. There are some 7, languages spoken in the world, and they exhibit tremendous variance. How do we build complex knowledge?
What Is the Connection between Language and Perception?
How are we able to think about things that go far beyond our physical experience? Studies have found that speakers of such languages are remarkably good at staying oriented, even when inside a building. When asked to lay out a series of cards that included earlier and later events, members of the community will arrange the cards from east to west the direction of the sun no matter which direction they are facing.
English speakers, meanwhile, will lay them out left to right the way English is writtenwhile Hebrew speakers will lay the cards out right to left the direction of Hebrew script. There are practical implications to better understanding how language shapes the way we perceive reality.
In a courtroom, for example, the way in which English, Spanish or Japanese speakers recall events can be dramatically different—which, of course, can be candy to lawyers. English speakers usually describe events in terms of agents doing things: In one study, speakers of English, Spanish, and Japanese watched videos of two people popping balloons, breaking eggs, and intentionally or unintentionally spilling drinks.
Experiment 2 presents a situation in which visual search performance is disrupted by the automatic activation of irrelevant linguistic representations, a result consistent with the idea that linguistic and sensory representations interact at a late, response-selection stage of processing.
What Is the Connection between Language and Perception?
These results raise a cautionary note: While language can influence performance on a visual search, the influence need not arise from a change in perception per se. We use it to share our perceptual experiences, thoughts, and intentions with other individuals.
- Can Language Influence Our Perception of Reality?
- There was a problem providing the content you requested
- How Does Language Change Perception: A Cautionary Note
There is clear evidence demonstrating that language directs thought Ervin-Tripp,influences concepts of time and space e. More controversial has been the claim that language has a direct effect on perceptual experience. In a seminal study, Kay and Kempton found that linguistic labels influence decisions in a color categorization task.
In the same spirit, a flurry of studies over the past decade has provided ample demonstrations of how perceptual performance is influenced by language.
For example, Meteyard et al.