the fact that obama’s daughters have tumblr make me kind of happy

vomit120:

the reason why i draw my ocs mostly for once.

vomit120:

the reason why i draw my ocs mostly for once.

blackoutballad:

here john go match w/ your ectosister
this might turn into another design set i’m a little apprehensive ( ̄◇ ̄;)

blackoutballad:

here john go match w/ your ectosister

this might turn into another design set i’m a little apprehensive ( ̄◇ ̄;)

foie:

thecutestofthecute:

My friend saw on Animal Planet that Golden Retriever’s mouths are so soft they can carry eggs without breaking them, so she tested it. 

I am tearing up

foie:

thecutestofthecute:

My friend saw on Animal Planet that Golden Retriever’s mouths are so soft they can carry eggs without breaking them, so she tested it. 

I am tearing up

allthingslinguistic:

neurosciencestuff:

Try, try again? Study says no
When it comes to learning languages, adults and children have different strengths. Adults excel at absorbing the vocabulary needed to navigate a grocery store or order food in a restaurant, but children have an uncanny ability to pick up on subtle nuances of language that often elude adults. Within months of living in a foreign country, a young child may speak a second language like a native speaker.
Brain structure plays an important role in this “sensitive period” for learning language, which is believed to end around adolescence. The young brain is equipped with neural circuits that can analyze sounds and build a coherent set of rules for constructing words and sentences out of those sounds. Once these language structures are established, it’s difficult to build another one for a new language.
In a new study, a team of neuroscientists and psychologists led by Amy Finn, a postdoc at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, has found evidence for another factor that contributes to adults’ language difficulties: When learning certain elements of language, adults’ more highly developed cognitive skills actually get in the way. The researchers discovered that the harder adults tried to learn an artificial language, the worse they were at deciphering the language’s morphology — the structure and deployment of linguistic units such as root words, suffixes, and prefixes.
“We found that effort helps you in most situations, for things like figuring out what the units of language that you need to know are, and basic ordering of elements. But when trying to learn morphology, at least in this artificial language we created, it’s actually worse when you try,” Finn says.
Finn and colleagues from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Stanford University, and the University of British Columbia describe their findings in the July 21 issue of PLoS One. Carla Hudson Kam, an associate professor of linguistics at British Columbia, is the paper’s senior author.
Too much brainpower
Linguists have known for decades that children are skilled at absorbing certain tricky elements of language, such as irregular past participles (examples of which, in English, include “gone” and “been”) or complicated verb tenses like the subjunctive.
“Children will ultimately perform better than adults in terms of their command of the grammar and the structural components of language — some of the more idiosyncratic, difficult-to-articulate aspects of language that even most native speakers don’t have conscious awareness of,” Finn says.
In 1990, linguist Elissa Newport hypothesized that adults have trouble learning those nuances because they try to analyze too much information at once. Adults have a much more highly developed prefrontal cortex than children, and they tend to throw all of that brainpower at learning a second language. This high-powered processing may actually interfere with certain elements of learning language.
“It’s an idea that’s been around for a long time, but there hasn’t been any data that experimentally show that it’s true,” Finn says.
Finn and her colleagues designed an experiment to test whether exerting more effort would help or hinder success. First, they created nine nonsense words, each with two syllables. Each word fell into one of three categories (A, B, and C), defined by the order of consonant and vowel sounds.
Study subjects listened to the artificial language for about 10 minutes. One group of subjects was told not to overanalyze what they heard, but not to tune it out either. To help them not overthink the language, they were given the option of completing a puzzle or coloring while they listened. The other group was told to try to identify the words they were hearing.
Each group heard the same recording, which was a series of three-word sequences — first a word from category A, then one from category B, then category C — with no pauses between words. Previous studies have shown that adults, babies, and even monkeys can parse this kind of information into word units, a task known as word segmentation.
Subjects from both groups were successful at word segmentation, although the group that tried harder performed a little better. Both groups also performed well in a task called word ordering, which required subjects to choose between a correct word sequence (ABC) and an incorrect sequence (such as ACB) of words they had previously heard.
The final test measured skill in identifying the language’s morphology. The researchers played a three-word sequence that included a word the subjects had not heard before, but which fit into one of the three categories. When asked to judge whether this new word was in the correct location, the subjects who had been asked to pay closer attention to the original word stream performed much worse than those who had listened more passively.
“This research is exciting because it provides evidence indicating that effortful learning leads to different results depending upon the kind of information learners are trying to master,” says Michael Ramscar, a professor of linguistics at the University of Tübingen who was not part of the research team. “The results indicate that learning to identify relatively simple parts of language, such as words, is facilitated by effortful learning, whereas learning more complex aspects of language, such as grammatical features, is impeded by effortful learning.”
Turning off effort
The findings support a theory of language acquisition that suggests that some parts of language are learned through procedural memory, while others are learned through declarative memory. Under this theory, declarative memory, which stores knowledge and facts, would be more useful for learning vocabulary and certain rules of grammar. Procedural memory, which guides tasks we perform without conscious awareness of how we learned them, would be more useful for learning subtle rules related to language morphology.
“It’s likely to be the procedural memory system that’s really important for learning these difficult morphological aspects of language. In fact, when you use the declarative memory system, it doesn’t help you, it harms you,” Finn says.
Still unresolved is the question of whether adults can overcome this language-learning obstacle. Finn says she does not have a good answer yet but she is now testing the effects of “turning off” the adult prefrontal cortex using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation. Other interventions she plans to study include distracting the prefrontal cortex by forcing it to perform other tasks while language is heard, and treating subjects with drugs that impair activity in that brain region.

This reminds me of a recent discussion I had on twitter about learning languages by acquiring a bunch of vocab and then immersing yourself until your subconscious figures out the grammar for you. This study makes it sound like that would be a good idea. Much as I enjoy learning grammar, it’s not really conscious knowledge of grammar that enables you to talk fluently. 

allthingslinguistic:

neurosciencestuff:

Try, try again? Study says no

When it comes to learning languages, adults and children have different strengths. Adults excel at absorbing the vocabulary needed to navigate a grocery store or order food in a restaurant, but children have an uncanny ability to pick up on subtle nuances of language that often elude adults. Within months of living in a foreign country, a young child may speak a second language like a native speaker.

Brain structure plays an important role in this “sensitive period” for learning language, which is believed to end around adolescence. The young brain is equipped with neural circuits that can analyze sounds and build a coherent set of rules for constructing words and sentences out of those sounds. Once these language structures are established, it’s difficult to build another one for a new language.

In a new study, a team of neuroscientists and psychologists led by Amy Finn, a postdoc at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, has found evidence for another factor that contributes to adults’ language difficulties: When learning certain elements of language, adults’ more highly developed cognitive skills actually get in the way. The researchers discovered that the harder adults tried to learn an artificial language, the worse they were at deciphering the language’s morphology — the structure and deployment of linguistic units such as root words, suffixes, and prefixes.

“We found that effort helps you in most situations, for things like figuring out what the units of language that you need to know are, and basic ordering of elements. But when trying to learn morphology, at least in this artificial language we created, it’s actually worse when you try,” Finn says.

Finn and colleagues from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Stanford University, and the University of British Columbia describe their findings in the July 21 issue of PLoS One. Carla Hudson Kam, an associate professor of linguistics at British Columbia, is the paper’s senior author.

Too much brainpower

Linguists have known for decades that children are skilled at absorbing certain tricky elements of language, such as irregular past participles (examples of which, in English, include “gone” and “been”) or complicated verb tenses like the subjunctive.

“Children will ultimately perform better than adults in terms of their command of the grammar and the structural components of language — some of the more idiosyncratic, difficult-to-articulate aspects of language that even most native speakers don’t have conscious awareness of,” Finn says.

In 1990, linguist Elissa Newport hypothesized that adults have trouble learning those nuances because they try to analyze too much information at once. Adults have a much more highly developed prefrontal cortex than children, and they tend to throw all of that brainpower at learning a second language. This high-powered processing may actually interfere with certain elements of learning language.

“It’s an idea that’s been around for a long time, but there hasn’t been any data that experimentally show that it’s true,” Finn says.

Finn and her colleagues designed an experiment to test whether exerting more effort would help or hinder success. First, they created nine nonsense words, each with two syllables. Each word fell into one of three categories (A, B, and C), defined by the order of consonant and vowel sounds.

Study subjects listened to the artificial language for about 10 minutes. One group of subjects was told not to overanalyze what they heard, but not to tune it out either. To help them not overthink the language, they were given the option of completing a puzzle or coloring while they listened. The other group was told to try to identify the words they were hearing.

Each group heard the same recording, which was a series of three-word sequences — first a word from category A, then one from category B, then category C — with no pauses between words. Previous studies have shown that adults, babies, and even monkeys can parse this kind of information into word units, a task known as word segmentation.

Subjects from both groups were successful at word segmentation, although the group that tried harder performed a little better. Both groups also performed well in a task called word ordering, which required subjects to choose between a correct word sequence (ABC) and an incorrect sequence (such as ACB) of words they had previously heard.

The final test measured skill in identifying the language’s morphology. The researchers played a three-word sequence that included a word the subjects had not heard before, but which fit into one of the three categories. When asked to judge whether this new word was in the correct location, the subjects who had been asked to pay closer attention to the original word stream performed much worse than those who had listened more passively.

“This research is exciting because it provides evidence indicating that effortful learning leads to different results depending upon the kind of information learners are trying to master,” says Michael Ramscar, a professor of linguistics at the University of Tübingen who was not part of the research team. “The results indicate that learning to identify relatively simple parts of language, such as words, is facilitated by effortful learning, whereas learning more complex aspects of language, such as grammatical features, is impeded by effortful learning.”

Turning off effort

The findings support a theory of language acquisition that suggests that some parts of language are learned through procedural memory, while others are learned through declarative memory. Under this theory, declarative memory, which stores knowledge and facts, would be more useful for learning vocabulary and certain rules of grammar. Procedural memory, which guides tasks we perform without conscious awareness of how we learned them, would be more useful for learning subtle rules related to language morphology.

“It’s likely to be the procedural memory system that’s really important for learning these difficult morphological aspects of language. In fact, when you use the declarative memory system, it doesn’t help you, it harms you,” Finn says.

Still unresolved is the question of whether adults can overcome this language-learning obstacle. Finn says she does not have a good answer yet but she is now testing the effects of “turning off” the adult prefrontal cortex using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation. Other interventions she plans to study include distracting the prefrontal cortex by forcing it to perform other tasks while language is heard, and treating subjects with drugs that impair activity in that brain region.

This reminds me of a recent discussion I had on twitter about learning languages by acquiring a bunch of vocab and then immersing yourself until your subconscious figures out the grammar for you. This study makes it sound like that would be a good idea. Much as I enjoy learning grammar, it’s not really conscious knowledge of grammar that enables you to talk fluently. 

somebodytoloves:

somebodytoloves:

some white girls should just never dance 

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Fo Porter
SOMETHING I LITERALLY JUST FOUND OUT

ogatamon:

THIS GUY

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VOICES NOT ONLY THIS GUY

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BUT ALSO THIS GUY

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I’M GONNA KILL EVERY SINGLE BOKOBLINNNNN!!!!!!111!!1!! IPPIKI NOKORAZUUUUUUUUUU

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wtf-sabrinaa:

She gets it.

thesassylorax:

jaclcfrost:

jaclcfrost:

comedy gold

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it just keeps getting better

Owl you can fly

rangerkimmy:

sburbatory:

posyes:

i went to school with a pair of identical twins and one time one of them was like “i’m so hot, i’d fuck me” and he turned to wink suggestively at his brother who just batted his eyelashes and blew a kiss at him

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I’m laughing because I’ve seen this post at least four times on my dash today and every single one had a different picture of the hitachiin twins

When people ask you where you’re from and you tell them you’re from America but because of the way you look they’re like “No no no really, where are you from” and I have no idea how to give them anything more than that cuz I was born here.