Posts Tagged ‘TOK’

Scientific American: You Can Increase Your Intelligence

September 18th, 2013 No comments

You can increase your intelligence:

5 ways to maximize your cognitive potential

By Andrea Kuszewski | March 7, 2011

One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.” —Albert Einstein

Andrea Kuszewski have come up with five primary elements involved in increasing your fluid intelligence, or cognitive ability. Read more…

Does Language Shape How We Think?

August 28th, 2013 No comments

Gendered Grammar Linked to Global Sexism

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer   |   February 21, 2012

Languages in which nouns are given male or female status are linked to gender inequality, according to a new study that compares languages and equality across the globe.

Surprisingly, though, languages with no gender at all — where even “he” and “she” are represented by the same word — are associated with the most gender inequality, perhaps because people automatically categorize gender-neutral references as male.

“These are aspects of language that seem very mundane and seem like they wouldn’t make a difference,” said study researcher Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino, a psychologist at the Rhode Island School of Design. “But more and more research that is starting to come out looking at grammatical gender and language suggests that it has more of an impact than you would think.”

Read more…

Categories: All Chinese Levels Tags: , ,

Keith Chen: Could your language affect your ability to save money?

February 21st, 2013 No comments


Benefits of learning a new language

September 6th, 2012 No comments

What does research show about the benefits of language learning?

In this age of accountability in education, policymakers and administrators, as well as parents, are increasingly demanding to know what research studies show regarding the benefits of language learning.  This document will identify some of the major correlation studies that highlight how language learners benefit from their experiences.

Three major areas have been identified:

How does language learning support academic achievement?

How does language learning provide cognitive benefits to students?

How does language learning affect attitudes and beliefs about language learning and about other cultures?

Gray Matter: Why Bilinguals Are Smarter

March 28th, 2012 No comments
Published in NY Times: March 17, 2012

SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.

This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development. Read more…

Your brain dominance and language learning

March 28th, 2012 No comments

Your brain dominance and language learning


Some language skills involve analytical, sequential, and left-brain processing. Others involve right-brain skills such as guessing, associating, and getting the main idea.

Obviously, those with bilateral dominance have some advantages.

There are, however, good language learners with both left-brain or right-brain dominance who achieve a high degree of fluency and accuracy. They learn to use both left-brain and right-brain skills depending on what works best for the activity at hand. Read more…

Unique brain waves N200 appear when reading Chinese characters

March 27th, 2012 No comments

22 February 2012
Research on Chinese Characters Makes Cover Story in Chinese Science Bulletin

Prof. John X. Zhang of the Psychology Department at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and his team have recently made two achievements in the study of Chinese characters, establishing the uniqueness of the Chinese language both theoretically and empirically. He proposed a meaning-spelling theory that conceptualizes written Chinese as the only meaning-spelling script in the world, on a par with alphabetic script, which is the only other type of mature human written language. While an alphabetic script emphasizes sound assembly, a meaning-spelling script stresses meaning compounding. Secondly, using neuroscience techniques, Professor Zhang verified a new brain wave that is specific to readers of Chinese characters. This verification indicates that written Chinese is a visual script, rectifying a popular mistake treating Chinese characters as pictures. The results have recently been published as a cover story in the February issue of a well-recognized academic journal, Chinese Science Bulletin.  Read more…

Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Language

March 19th, 2012 No comments
Published in NYTimes: October 10, 2011

Researchers found that at 6 months, the monolingual infants could discriminate between phonetic sounds, whether they were uttered in the language they were used to hearing or in another language not spoken in their homes. By 10 to 12 months, however, monolingual babies were no longer detecting sounds in the second language, only in the language they usually heard.

This represents a process of “neural commitment,” in which the infant brain wires itself to understand one language and its sounds.

In contrast, the bilingual infants followed a different developmental trajectory. At 6 to 9 months, they did not detect differences in phonetic sounds in either language, but when they were older — 10 to 12 months — they were able to discriminate sounds in both.

Bilingual children also develop crucial skills in addition to their double vocabularies, learning different ways to solve logic problems or to handle multitasking, skills that are often considered part of the brain’s so-called executive function.

Read more…

Daniel PINK: Drive – The surprising truth about what motivates us

October 12th, 2011 No comments


Study Chinese and Expand Your Brain’s reading network

March 5th, 2011 No comments

Researchers in Britain have found that people who speak Mandarin Chinese use both sides of their brain to understand the language. This compares to English-language speakers who only need to use the left side of their brain.

A similar pattern is also recorded when people read different language scripts. The figure above is a brain scan showing comparisons of American classroom learners and native Chinese reading Chinese and English. Learners show a bilateral occipital and fusiform “Chinese” pattern for Chinese and a standard alphabetic pattern for English. Chinese natives show a Chinese pattern for both English and Chinese. Click here to find more details.

The evidence suggests that alphabetic readers have a neural network that accommodates the demands of Chinese by recruiting neural structures less needed for alphabetic reading. Chinese readers have a neural network that partly assimilates English into the Chinese system, especially in the visual stages of word identification.

How high school curriculum and diploma choices relate to SAT scores and college choice

February 24th, 2011 No comments

How high school curriculum and diploma choices relate to SAT scores and college choice

Curriculum choices in high school, from ninth grade on have a direct effect on SAT scores and college choice. A series of recent studies conducted by Professor Ed St. John of the Indiana Education Policy Center for the Indiana Pathways project looking at national and Indiana college students from the (public) high school class of 2000 have shown how curriculum planning, course selection, and resulting diplomas relate to SAT scores and pathways to college.

Course selection had an impact on students’ SAT scores, particularly for students who took multiple advanced courses whether they were “A” or “B” GPA students, showing that a rigorous  curriculum benefits more students than just high achievers.  A’s in easy courses are not necessarily better than B’s in more advanced courses in terms of their impact on SAT scores.

Does foreign language study help students on the SAT even though there is no foreign language section on the test?

[vimeo][/vimeo]The results speak for themselves — Students who took four years of foreign language scored on average 38 points higher than students who took between one-to-three years. Students with no foreign language study scored on average 63 points lower on the SAT than students with one to three years of study. Study of Latin was associated with a 30 point increase on the SAT.

“We believe foreign language study helps students to understand language structure and vocabulary, important aspects of the SAT,” noted project research analyst and statistician Glenda D. Musoba.

Our brain on culture

February 10th, 2011 No comments

I’ve attended recently an IB workshop on the new Language B curriculum. Intercultural understanding has become much more important in the new guide, and the link between L2 language learning and TOK is also emphasized. The blog post below offers a very interesting perspective for L2 language teachers to understand how culture can actually influence the neural activities of our brain.

Cultural Neuroscience

Our brains and minds are shaped by our experiences, which mainly occur in the context of the culture in which we develop and live. Although psychologists have provided abundant evidence for diversity of human cognition and behaviour across cultures, the question of whether the neural correlates of human cognition are also culture-dependent is often not considered by neuroscientists. However, recent transcultural neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that one’s cultural background can influence the neural activity that underlies both high- and low-level cognitive functions.

Above is part of the abstract of a research paper by Shihui Han and Georg Northoff “Culture-Sensitive Neural Substrates of Human Cognition: A Transcultural Neuroimaging Approach”. The full version (pdf) is available.

I also found that Daniel Lende’s outline about the article is equally interesting. I quote here some interesting parts regarding Chinese language. Read more…

CNN:Why right-brainers will rule this century

October 17th, 2010 No comments

Pink, a former chief speechwriter for former Vice President Al Gore, presents a convincing argument that the world is entering a new era — the so-called conceptual age — during which right-brained skills such as design and storytelling will become far more crucial than traditionally left-brained skills such as accounting and computer programming.

Your left brain is logical, linear, by-the-numbers; the right side is creative, artistic, empathetic. Oprah Winfrey talks with Daniel Pink about his groundbreaking book, “A Whole New Mind”, and explores how right-brain thinkers are wired for 21st-century success.

The best part: Anyone can tap into the right mind-set.

Check Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Daniel PINK 

Categories: All Chinese Levels Tags: ,

Context! Context! Context!

October 17th, 2010 No comments

Context! Context! Context!

The word “Context” keeps coming to me recently, from many different texts I read and school-related PD activities. Now let me put them all together here.

“A Whole New Mind – Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” by Daniel H. PINK

The 4 key differences of our brain’s TWO hemispheres:

Left Brain Right Brain
1. The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body. The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body.
2. The left hemisphere is sequential. The right hemisphere is simultaneous.
3. The left hemisphere specializes in text. The right hemisphere specializes in CONTEXT.
4. The left hemisphere analyzes the details. The right hemisphere synthesizes the big picture.
Sequential, literal, functional, textual, and analytical Simultaneous, metaphorical, aesthetic, contextual, and synthetic

(Download this article in PDF) Read more…

Stanford Magazine: You Say Up, I Say Yesterday

October 4th, 2010 No comments

English speakers tend to see time on a horizontal plane: The best years are ahead; he puts his past behind him. Speakers of Mandarin tend to see new events emerging like a spring of water, with the past above and the future below.

Can language shape how we think? A Stanford researcher says yes, and her work speaks volumes about what makes people tick.

By Joan O’C. Hamilton

Lera Boroditsky’s journey to answer one of psychology’s most intriguing and fractious questions has been a curious one. She’s spent hours showing Spanish-speakers videos of balloons popping, eggs cracking and paper ripping. She’s scoured Stanford and MIT’s math and computer science departments for Russian speakers willing to spend an hour sorting shades of blue. She’s even traipsed to a remote aboriginal village in Australia where small children shook their heads at what they considered her pitiable sense of direction and took her hand to show her how to avoid being gobbled by a crocodile. Yet she needs little more than a teacup on her office coffee table to explain the essence of her research.

“In English,” she says, moving her hand toward the cup, “if I knock this cup off the table, even accidentally, you would likely say, ‘She broke the cup.'” However, in Japanese or Spanish, she explains, intent matters.