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Anthropology in Practice

Can Geography Shape the Way We Speak?

Figure 1. Plot of the locations of the languages in the sample. Dark circles represent languages with ejectives, clear circles represent those without ejectives. Clusters of languages with ejectives are highlighted with white rectangles. For illustrative purposes only. Inset: Lat-long plot of polygons exceeding 1500 m in elevation. Adapted from Figure 4 in [8]. The six major inhabitable areas of high elevation are highlighted via ellipses: (1) North American cordillera (2) Andes (3) Southern African plateau (4) East African rift (5) Caucasus and Javakheti plateau (6) Tibetan plateau and adjacent regions. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065275.g001

There’s a pretty neat series of maps featured in Business Insider making the rounds on various social channels. They tell us about ourselves, showing how Americans speak differently from each other. My favorite is slide 17 because I have only ever owned sneakers and was absolutely confused when someone recently suggested that my concept of [...]

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Guest Blog

Of two minds: Listener brain patterns mirror those of the speaker

two women talking

A new study from Princeton University reports that a female student of lead investigator, Uri Hasson, can project her own brain activity onto another person, forcing the person’s neural activity to closely mirror that in her own brain. The process is otherwise known as speech. There have been many functional brain-imaging studies involving language, but [...]

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Illusion Chasers

The Anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s Death: An Illusion Tribute

Neil Armstrong

Two hours before the historic lunar landing, Neil Armstrong mentally composed the first words to be said on the Moon: “It’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”. That’s not the same sentence that is in the history books.

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Music and speech share a code for communicating sadness in the minor third

Here’s a little experiment. You know “Greensleeves“—the famous English folk song? Go ahead and hum it to yourself. Now choose the emotion you think the song best conveys: (a) happiness, (b) sadness, (c) anger or (d) fear. Almost everyone thinks “Greensleeves” is a sad song—but why? Apart from the melancholy lyrics, it’s because the melody [...]

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Need Proof That We’re Visual Beings?

In our introductory post, we wrote “let’s face it. We’re visual beings.” Here’s proof:

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