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How does language influence the way you think?




How does language influence the way you think?
How does language influence the way you think?
Evan Sharboneau/ Flickr

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Does language shape the way we think? Some research shows that perception of the world is frequently influenced by the language or languages we speak.

From color, gender, to geography, to idiomatic understanding, language has a clear impact on culture. For example: Japanese has a word that means both blue and green, while Russian has no one word for blue – it completely depends on the object and the shade. 

Do Japanese and Russian speakers see color differently? Are languages that use geographic directions (north, south, east, west) instead of egocentric (left, right, front, back) more able to orient themselves in space? Are certain languages predisposed to mathematics? Or are things the same in any language?

Guest:

Michael A. Arbib, Ph.D, Neuroscience and Psychology Director, USC Brain Project