Today I learned that not everyone has an internal monologue and it has ruined my day

My day was completely ruined yesterday when I stumbled upon a fun fact that absolutely obliterated my mind. I saw this tweet yesterday that said that not everyone has an internal monologue in their head. All my life, I could hear my voice in my head and speak in full sentences as if I was talking out loud. I thought everyone experienced this, so I did not believe that it could be true at that time. ...

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Want to change your personality? It may not be easy to do alone

It's not true that people never change, but it's very hard to change an aspect of your personality simply because you want to, research suggests. Most people have an aspect of their personality they'd like to change, but without help it may be difficult to do so, according to a study led by a University of Arizona researcher and published in the Journal of Research in Personality. Contrary to the once-popular idea that people's personalities are more or less set in stone, research has proven that personalities do change throughout the lifespan, often in line with major life events. For example, there is evidence that people tend to be more agreeable and conscientious in college, less extroverted after they get married and more agreeable in their retirement years. While it's well-established that personalities can change in response to life circumstances,...

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Babies are aware of bilingualism from birth — if not before

In a fascinating study of the bilingual brain, Albert Costa explains exactly what is going on when we switch effortlessly from one language to another. Probably most of the world is bilingual, or more than bilingual. It is common in many countries to speak a national language alongside an international lingua franca such as Arabic, Spanish or English. On top of that, there may be a mother tongue that is not the same as a national language. A Nigerian, for instance, may be at once one of the million speakers of Berom, one of the 64 million speakers of Hausa and one of the 1.13 billion speakers of English. The same pattern is repeated across the globe. In my experience, one of the best places to observe a wide variety of bilingual or multilingual individuals is Geneva, where a stable...

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Early life adversity identified as top risk factor for mental disorders

Early life adversity including neglect and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse is the single biggest risk factor for psychiatric disorders, new research suggests. In what has been described as a seminal review, investigators at Dell Medical School in Austin, Texas, conclude that childhood maltreatment is "by far" the biggest contributing factor leading to impaired health in adults. Physically, early abuse is associated with reduced life expectancy due to higher risk for heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer, study co-author Charles Nemeroff, MD, PhD, professor and chair, department of psychiatry at Dell's Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences, and director of its Institute for Early Life Adversity Research, told Medscape Medical News. ...

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How much does our language determine behavior?

In the early twentieth century, anthropologists and linguists including Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf (his student) developed a provocative hypothesis: that the language we speak impacts the way we see the world, and our behavior in it. Since then, scholars have been debating the validity of what became known (some say inaccurately) as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and researching the boundaries of language's influence on our cognition. In the following excerpt of the recently published Don't Believe a Word: The Surprising Truth About Language, Guardian writer and editor David Shariatmadari explores the latest research in the debate — and the questions it continues to raise about the links between language and behavior. — Elizabeth Weingarten, Managing Editor It's easier to prove or disprove a hypothesis in a well-defined area of experience that can be readily compared across languages. That's why...

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