From “Rush Hour” to a tidy room: effective conversations find common ground

Have you ever had a conversation with someone, maybe with your spouse, your co-worker, or a student, and based on their response (or lack thereof) you ask yourself, “Did they even hear a word I said?” In the famous American movie, Rush Hour, the actor Chris Tucker posed the question a different way: In these […]

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Eating dinner or grandma? Patterns of intonation are crucial to comprehension

Your tone of voice can tell others a lot about what you mean. Which intonation you use in a sentence matters and your intonation can help listeners figure out the critical difference between “Let’s eat, Grandma!” and “Let’s eat Grandma!” This is only one of a number of examples showing just how the same words […]

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You heard that right: accent judgment but not accent perception is influenced by expectations

Everyone “has an accent”—even if you think you don’t. Most likely, your accent is influenced by both your cultural identity, socioeconomic status, and other social processes, as well as more cognitive processes like emulating another person’s style in a conversation. Accents are such a strong indicator of social factors that they get associated to stereotypes, […]

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Metaphors of policing: Doraville’s warriors and London’s Pride guardians

What is a tax? Is it a “burden”? Or a “civilization surcharge”? And which would you rather pay? Would you prefer to vote for someone who has a “heart of gold” or a “heart of blackness”? Is crime a “beast” that is “ravaging” cities or a “virus” that needs to be controlled? Metaphors allow us […]

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