9 April 2009
On Monday morning, I was struck while listening to Shakespeare Had Roses All Wrong, a segment on NPR’s Morning Edition about how language effects perception. In its essayistic online version the story begins with a picture of what looks like San Francisco’s Golden State.
Yes, this is a bridge. Look at it for a moment and ask yourself, “What three descriptive words come into my head when I look at a bridge?” This bridge, or any bridge. (You only get three.)
…words — such as beautiful, elegant, slender — were those used most often by a group of German speakers participating in an experiment by Lera Boroditsky, an assistant psychology professor at Stanford University.
She told the group to describe the image that came to mind when they were shown the word, “bridge.”
The second batch of words — such as strong, sturdy, towering — were most often chosen by people whose first language is Spanish.
What explains the difference?
Posted by Alec Hanley Bemis