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How to Let Go of Negative Thinking

The most positive minds are still going to have negative thoughts every now and then. Here are practical tips to help you let go of negative thinking and not let it turn into a vicious cycle.
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Steven Pinker: World is Actually Less Violent Today; Why?

Steven Pinker: World is Actually Less Violent Today; Why? | Psychology |

Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker was the guest at the Kentucky Author Forum on Oct. 2, 2012, interviewed by NPR's Neal Conan. Pinker is a Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition and is the author of numerous books, including The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature, and most recently, The Better Angels of Our Nature.

In The Better Angels of Our Nature, Pinker examines human violence through the centuries. We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In the book, Pinker argues that violence in the past was actually much worse than now. Tribal warfare was nine times as deadly as war and genocide in the 20th century. The murder rate of Medieval Europe was more than thirty times what it is today. Slavery, sadistic punishments, and frivolous executions were unexceptionable features of life for millennia, then suddenly were targeted for abolition. Wars between developed countries have vanished, and even in the developing world, wars kill a fraction of the people they did a few decades ago. Rape, battering, hate crimes, deadly riots, child abuse, cruelty to animals—all substantially down.

Via Charles Tiayon
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What's in an accent? - Language Insight

What's in an accent? - Language Insight | Psychology |
It's time for language learners to give up trying to nail the perfect accent. Instead, it's intelligibility that counts.

To truly speak a language fluently, do you need to have the accent too? It’s certainly something that even experiencedinterpreters can struggle with, particularly as there are so many dialects and regional accents for every language.


Anne Merritt, an English as a foreign language lecturer based in South Korea, writes in the Telegraph that the key to speaking a second language well lies in pronunciation, rather than accent. In fact, she says that battling to perfect an accent “sets you up for failure”.

She explains that it is notoriously difficult to learn an accent different from your own and speak it flawlessly. As any actor who has attempted a regional accent knows, it will almost always be criticised by the people who grew up speaking with that accent. Just ask Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway, who attempted a Yorkshire accent in the 2011 movie One Day. The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin said at the time that it was “impossible to tell” how good Hathaway’s performance in the film was, as every line of dialogue she speaks in it is “masked by one of the most honkingly rubbish Yorkshire accents you’ve ever heard”.

It’s what you say, not how you say it

Luckily, Ms Merritt says being able to speak another language complete with the authentic accent is not essential, and instead people should focus on pronouncing the words in the correct way. She gives five tips for this:

1) Listen and repeat

2) Learn the language’s stress patterns

3) Use a mirror to watch how your mouth moves

4) Practice words in sentences, as context can alter the pronunciation

5) Record your practice sessions and listen back to identify areas for improvement

Her advice for getting to grips with speaking a language fluently includes listening to songs and watching movies recorded in that language in order to mimic the way people speak. She also suggests listening to podcasts, as they can be played at a slower speed in order to hear in detail how a particular sound is made.

It has long been thought learning to speak in a perfect foreign accent is an impossible goal in adulthood. However, a study by linguistics professor at Canada’s Simon Fraser University Murray J Munro and linguist at the University of Alberta Tracy Derwing revealed it is possible to nail the pronunciation. The key is making the goal communicating clearly with people, rather than speaking with an authentic accent.

Time reports that the linguists suggested replacing the “nativeness principle” – the idea of mimicking an accent perfectly – with the “intelligibility principle”, where it’s how understood you are that guides your learning. The authors pointed out that with the correct pronunciation it is possible to understand people speaking a foreign language, even if their native accent is heavy.

Via Charles Tiayon
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Rescooped by Anja Seidel from EFL and Psychology!

7 Theories of What The Wizard of Oz Is Really About

7 Theories of What The Wizard of Oz Is Really About | Psychology |
Over the years, both book and movie have fueled a number of elaborate theories as to the story’s deeper meanings.

Via Cadu Souza
Cadu Souza's curator insight, March 8, 2013 6:25 AM

Really cool!

Barbara Kerr's comment, March 11, 2013 11:07 AM
Yes! Very cool article! Certainly a powerful story, whatever it means!
Rescooped by Anja Seidel from Amazing Science!

While still in the womb, babies begin learning a language from their mothers

While still in the womb, babies begin learning a language from their mothers | Psychology |

Babies only hours old are able to differentiate between sounds from their native language and a foreign language, scientists have discovered. The study indicates that babies begin absorbing language while still in the womb, much earlier than previously thought.

Sensory and brain mechanisms for hearing are developed at 30 weeks of gestational age, and the new study shows that unborn babies are listening to their mothers talk during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy and at birth can demonstrate what they've heard.


"The mother has first dibs on influencing the child's brain," said Patricia Kuhl, co-author and co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington. "The vowel sounds in her speech are the loudest units and the fetus locks onto them."


Previously, researchers had shown that newborns are born ready to learn and begin to discriminate between language sounds within the first months of life, but there was no evidence that language learning had occurred in utero.


"This is the first study that shows fetuses learn prenatally about the particular speech sounds of a mother's language," said Christine Moon, lead author and a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. "This study moves the measurable result of experience with speech sounds from six months of age to before birth."

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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