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Sunday, June 19, 2011


Consciousness, Poetry, and Bilingual Babies



We take a trip inside the mind in this week’s pod.

How much is human consciousness shaped by language? Somewhat, says theoretical psychologist Nicholas Humphrey. He’s more interested in the other things that shape it, like what he calls the “lake of sensation” — colors, lights and sounds. I guess you could argue that those sensations themselves comprise the elements of a language of consciousness.
Humphrey views this kind of raw feeling as predating language in infants. Maybe, but recent research on the bilingual brain suggests that we may begin our language development as early as in the womb. I talk with the host of the Big Show’s Science podcast Rhitu Chatterjee about this.
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