This week Around the Web is all about language and the mind. Let’s kick things off with another of those clever RSA Animate features, this time starring Steven Pinker as he discusses what language can tell us about social relationships.
- The phenomenon of Alien Hand Syndrome: after doctors cut her corpus callosum to treat her epilepsy a patient finds that her left hand often acts against her will. “I’d light a cigarette, balance it on an ashtray, and then my left hand would reach forward and stub it out.” She was featured in the BBC series, The Brain: A Secret History.
- Anthropology in Practice takes a pinch of folklore mixes a little evolutionary psychology and stirs in a heaping helping of Disney World.
“Come to my senses sometimes”
- Book review – Suffering and Sentiment: Exploring the Vicissitudes of Pain and Experience in Yap, an in-depth ethnographic study of the experience of physical pain.
- Metaphor shapes our perception of reality – portraying crime as a virus plaguing a city leads people to call for social reform, describing it as a beast preying on the city leads people to call for tougher law enforcement.
- Philosopher Alva Noe favors a view of consciousness as embodied cognition. “Consciousness is not something that happens in us. It is something we do.”
- Book review – High Society: Mind-Altering Drugs in History and Culture.
- NYT on the Jeapordy trouncing computer Watson. Mind Hacks has the run down.
- In the Atlantic linguist Ben Zimmer, for one, welcomes out new computer overlords. More links here.
Politics of Language
- Language Log writes on the deliberate affectation of a Southern accent in Republican Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty. There’s a follow up here.
- In my General Anthropology class I used selections from this PBS series, “Do you speak American?”. I might write up a full review on it at a later date.
An Evolutionary Perspective
- Primatology. net on the Vervet Monkey, which is known to produce predator-specific alarm calls. Here’s the second part of that entry.
- Does Language Log even know what they are talking about? Contemporary use of the word “even” reflects 16th Century origins.
- BBC on the spread of “OK” as documented by Allan Metcalf in OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word. Incidentally I had a professor in grad school who held that the word “okay” was African in origin.
Language on the Internet
- A cross-cultural investigation of Smileys – not all emoticons are the same.
- Check out the new online magazine, Popular Linguistics.
- How much do you use your office phone? Dean Dad wonders whether they’ll go the way of the typewriter.
“This year Halloween fell on a weekend”
Seen something around the web that you’d like to share with the Savage Minds communtiy? Email your links to mdthomps AT odu.edu