Paul Krugman once said to Bernard Lietaer, a monetary theorist and one of the architects of the euro, that he should ‘never touch the money system’ because he would kill himself academically. This statement is akin to ‘never question God’ in the academic environment of the middle ages. Indeed, Bitcoin is relevant to academia because […]
On the behaviour of language 4
I love the fact that Thom Scott-Phillips does not reply to my emails. Thom’s research focuses on human communication, which he resembles to a dancing couple that respond to each other’s ostensive signals. Thom doesn’t want to dance with me 🙁 Of course, this lack of response does not invalidate Thom’s insight. However, one cannot […]
On the behaviour of language 3
When someone trains a dog to understand a command, they are actively making the dog respond to signals such as a pointing gesture and spoken words; they are establishing a signal–response relationship. This unique communicative behaviour is perhaps taken for granted. It is not considered relevant for a definition of language or human communication by […]
On the behaviour of language 2
Humans have a very strong need to communicate. This ‘drive to share thoughts’ has been pointed out as one of the main differences between us and other species. It is, I suppose, what makes me write the present post to you, reader. Another exclusive characteristic of human communication is our cooperative willingness to infer the […]
On the behaviour of language
Imagine a parent explaining to their child that they ought to say “thank you”. They are at a restaurant, the food arrives, and the child doesn’t say anything. The parent gets angry, “very well, I won’t buy you any ice cream now!”. Essentially, the parent intends to make the child respond to his spoken words […]
Mamma Mia or Mother Hen
I had friends over recently with their two daughters aged three and one, and the three-year-old suddenly called her father by his first name instead of Dad. We all started laughing and mocking our friend for not having any authority. The little girl was confused and did not seem to get the joke – and […]
The Limits of Science in Psychiatry
Science is the most reliable form of knowledge that we have, but today, it has certain limits. Descartes prudently stated that science could only deal with the body and not with the soul (or the mind). From this original thought arose the dualism of mind versus body. Recently, this idea has been taken further by […]
The path less travelled
The notion of language difference – in contrast to language disorder or delay – is important for clinicians and researchers studying children’s language acquisition. The distinction between difference and disorder reflects the need to distinguish between a standard path of language development, that might for example be described in literature or used as a normative […]
Inclusive Language in Spanish Culture
Spanish is considered by some of its speakers — including linguists and philologists such as Teresa Meana Suárez and Claudia Guichard Bello — a sexist language. This is mainly because in Spanish the masculine gender is used to refer to both males and females as a generic form. In terms of human beings, this means […]
What is Linguistic Anthropology?
Before discussing Linguistic Anthropology, let’s see what Anthropology itself is. Anthropology is the study of humans in society, how they have behaved, what are their lifestyle, cultures, and their origins. The past and the present of human experiences in history are studied in Anthropology. Linguistic Anthropology is a branch of Anthropology that talks about the […]
Really, what is money?
Apparently, it is illegal to destroy a bank note. I didn’t know that when I and a friend ripped two 50€ notes and threw them into the sea. I was just testing that I could do it, because otherwise — I thought to myself — there is a chance that I am psychologically enslaved to money, and I really […]
Our Work Featured in Babel
Babel is a magazine that brings you cutting-edge linguistic research in an accessible format. Their February edition features a piece titled ‘The acquisition of kinship’, in which Michelle Pascoe reflects on the meaning of being called a mother. Michelle is a professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She specialises in language acquisition […]
Countries Do Not Exist
I hate to break it to you, but [insert the name of your country] does not actually exist. Basically, it doesn’t make any sense that something a group of people decide to imagine ‘exists’. If a group of children gets together to play doctors, why is their hospital not real but that of adult people […]
Symposium on Kubrick
Hosted at the London University of the Arts, the symposium ‘Behind Eyes Wide Shut‘ included my presentation on the scientific aspects of the film. My ideas were well received and sparked an interesting discussion at the end, together with my fellow panelist Anna Friederike Dajka, who also explored the psychology of personal relationships. My conference […]
On Anthropology (I)
Sapiens is a digital magazine whose mission is to bring anthropology to the public. It has a pop-up window that asks you whether you are ‘a human’ and would like to subscribe, otherwise you are ‘not a human’. I found it funny and witty, but also odd.
What is Psycholinguistics?
Psycholinguistics is the study of connecting psychological aspects with language and speech, sometimes referred to as the psychology of language. In more depth and biological terms, psycholinguistics is the ability of an individual to use and understand language and its relation to the neurological system. With more research happening in the field of cognitive science, […]
What is Sociolinguistics?
Linguistics is the study of language; how it functions and how it influences human interaction. There are several different branches of linguistics, but in this article, we will discuss the branch of linguistics known as sociolinguistics. Read on more to find out what it is. An introduction to Sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is a branch of both […]
What is a Single Blind Peer Review?
In a previous article, we have discussed the main types of peer review methodologies available to academic researchers who look to get their work published. The appropriateness of the methodology is often decided on behalf of authors and reviewers by the publishing journal. In this short blog post, we will discuss the single-blind peer review […]
What is a Double-Blind Review?
In a previous article, we have already introduced and discussed the concept of the single-blind peer review. In this article, we are going to look at a variation of this – the double- blind peer review – and discuss the pros and cons of this methodology. We will also directly compare the single-blind to double-blind […]
What is a Non-Peer Review?
There are many types of peer review methodologies, including open peer reviews and closed peer reviews. In this article, we are going to discuss what a non-peer review is, and how it differs from some of the more commonly used peer review methods. What is a non-peer review? A non-peer review is exactly what you […]