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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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こういうのもある

 


話題になったWireの記事ですが、心理学の論文を紹介しているんですよね。こういうのは実験がしやすいとかいう理由があるんでしょうか。

使う言語が「世界の見え方」を決めている:研究結果
2015.5.18 MON
「言語が変われば周りの世界も違って見える」ということが証明された。同じ人でも、そのときに使っている言語によって物事の捉え方が変わってくるのだという。
TEXT BY SIMONE VALESINI
TRANSLATION BY TAKESHI OTOSHI

Two Languages, Two Minds
Flexible Cognitive Processing Driven by Language of Operation


Abstract
People make sense of objects and events around them by classifying them into identifiable categories. The extent to which language affects this process has been the focus of a long-standing debate: Do different languages cause their speakers to behave differently? Here, we show that fluent German-English bilinguals categorize motion events according to the grammatical constraints of the language in which they operate. First, as predicted from cross-linguistic differences in motion encoding, bilingual participants functioning in a German testing context prefer to match events on the basis of motion completion to a greater extent than do bilingual participants in an English context. Second, when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in English, their categorization behavior is congruent with that predicted for German; when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in German, their categorization becomes congruent with that predicted for English. These findings show that language effects on cognition are context-bound and transient, revealing unprecedented levels of malleability in human cognition.


かなりマユツバだったので紹介しなかったWSJのエッセイが先月ありました。こういう話って好きだよね、という余興としてどうぞ。

Language Shapes Thoughts—and Storm Preparations
Why gendered names of hurricanes may be a bad idea

By ROBERT M. SAPOLSKY
April 22, 2015 11:31 a.m. ET

To state the obvious: What we think influences what we say. Less obvious is the converse: namely, the possibility that the language we speak or our chosen words shape, facilitate or constrain thinking. This question might seem abstract, but it seems to affect—among other things—the public response to hurricane alerts.

Psycholinguists have long focused on the subject of words influencing thoughts. It’s rooted in the question of whether we can think without language. The topic has generated some silly, New Agey views—for example, the urban myth that the Hopi language has no words for time and, as a result, Hopi speakers are especially good at understanding the time dilation predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity.


ロマンス語系の言語は男性名詞、女性名詞と名詞に性があるのですが、この人はそれによって物事の捉え方に違いが出ていると書いています。

Words also shape thoughts in languages with grammatical gender systems, where some nouns are masculine, others feminine. The results can be nutty. In French, for example, “kidney” is masculine, but the place where it sends its urine, the “bladder,” is feminine. Do gendered nouns shape thought? Ask Germans and Spaniards to describe a bridge. Germans, with a feminine word, tend to emphasize a bridge’s beauty and grace; Spaniards, with their masculine word, tend to focus on its strength and construction.

このエッセイのタイトルにあるのは、ハリケーンの名前に男性の名と女性の名がつけられているのですが、女性の名のついたハリケーンの方が死者が多いという論文を紹介しているものです。1年前にニュースで多く取り上げられたものをなぜ今更という感じがするんですが、女性の名がついたハリケーンは油断するので死者が多いというトンデモ感満載の主張です(苦笑)。

In another experiment, subjects received information about an impending hurricane (its anticipated wind speed, barometric pressure and so on). They judged hurricanes with male names as riskier and rated themselves as more likely to comply with evacuation orders, given the danger. Both males and females showed this tendency. The scientists concluded that female-named hurricanes probably cause more deaths because people don’t take them as seriously as male-named hurricanes.

こちらも元になる論文があります。米国科学アカデミー紀要に掲載されたもののようです。

Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes

Abstract
Do people judge hurricane risks in the context of gender-based expectations? We use more than six decades of death rates from US hurricanes to show that feminine-named hurricanes cause significantly more deaths than do masculine-named hurricanes. Laboratory experiments indicate that this is because hurricane names lead to gender-based expectations about severity and this, in turn, guides respondents’ preparedness to take protective action. This finding indicates an unfortunate and unintended consequence of the gendered naming of hurricanes, with important implications for policymakers, media practitioners, and the general public concerning hurricane communication and preparedness.


冒頭の動画でもこの論文の信憑性を疑問視していますが、以下のSlateの記事も批判的に書いています。

JUNE 3 2014 9:24 AM
Hurricanes Named After Women Are More Dangerous? Not So Fast.

By Eric Holthaus

こういうのって、結論が先にありきの研究じゃないかという指摘もごもっともです。Wiredで紹介されたものも同じニオイを感じます。

My suspicion is that this study is a classic example of confirmation bias: The authors likely knew what result they were going for when they set out to do the study, and sure enough, they found it.

The deadliness of hurricanes is an intensely complicated problem. To generalize it down to gender stereotypes based on the name of the storm itself is a simplistic distraction at best, and a perpetuation of gender myths at worst.


印象的な批判ではなく研究成果そのものへの疑問も呈しています。女性の名であるハリケーンSandyを入れるか入れないかで、研究成果が180度変わってしまうというのです。性別うんぬんよりも、死者が多いハリケーンの存在が結果に大きく影響を与えやすいのでは、そもそもの仮説がいけてないんじゃないでしょうか。

To test my hypothesis that there isn’t enough data for the authors to make the claim that the gender of storm names is in any way related to how deadly they are, I used the authors’ own data (.XLS) to figure out what would happen if I removed the single remaining deadliest storm from their post-1979 dataset, Hurricane Sandy. (The authors had already removed Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Audrey of 1957 for similar reasons.) While we may think of the name Sandy as a bit gender-ambiguous, the authors categorized it as very feminine—a 9.0 on an 11.0 scale.

Here’s the correlation between the authors’ own “Masculinity-Femininity Index” (which qualitatively ranks names on an 11-point scale according to gender) and number of deaths for each of the 52 storms that made landfall between 1979 and 2012.

Singlehandedly, Hurricane Sandy switches the authors' entire premise on its head. Ignoring Sandy's outlier nature, male-named hurricanes now cause more deaths than female ones. Harold Brooks of NOAA has performed a similar analysis on this data (removing Sandy) with similar results, which he shared as a comment on Yong's blog post.


このハリケーンの実験は結構たくさんのメディアが取り上げていたようです。まあ、あれこれ言って楽しんでおきながら、最終的な責任をメディアに押し付けるのは虫がよいかもしれませんが、興味深い書評がWSJにあったのでご紹介します。オーソンウェルズのラジオドラマ『宇宙戦争』はリアル過ぎて当時の人は本当のことだと思いパニックになったという有名な逸話はメディアが産み出した虚像に過ぎなかったというのです。

When Martians Came to Jersey
The eagerness of reporters to gin up a panic, regardless of the facts, prompted a campaign to rein in the power of radio.

By RICHARD J. TOFEL
May 14, 2015 7:15 p.m. ET

まずWikipediaで宇宙戦争のラジオを確認しておきます。

宇宙戦争 (ラジオ)
『宇宙戦争』(うちゅうせんそう、The War of the Worlds)は、オーソン・ウェルズが、H.G.ウェルズ作『宇宙戦争』をラジオ番組化したものである。

番組概要
1938年10月30日にハロウィン特別番組として、アメリカのラジオ番組『Mercury Theatre on the Air』で放送された。この生放送は多くの聴取者を恐怖させ、実際の火星人侵略が進行中であると信じさせた。
侵略がフィクションである旨を告げる「お断り」が何度もあったと言われるが、そのうちの1度は放送開始直後、残り2度は終了間際であったため、その間、聴取者側から見れば、混乱と恐怖のための時間が充分残っていた。


勘違いしたリスナーはいたものの大パニックといえるほどのことはなかったそうですが、ニュースで大きく取り上げられ、それが各地に広まってしまったというのです。冷静に考えてみれば、当時の人たちだってそんな馬鹿なわけないですもんね。

The hysteria was not “mass” in any sense—except in the press. “There were no car accidents,” Mr. Schwartz writes, “no miscarriages, no suicides. Nobody took potshots at a water tower, thinking it was a Martian fighting machine, or disappeared into the mountains, never to be seen again. And if the highways really were clogged with people trying to flee the cities, nobody said so at the time.” In fact, about a million people (out of roughly six million listeners) seem to have mistaken the drama for a news show, at least at first. Most of them appear to have missed the part about the Martians and thought that there was either a natural disaster or some sort of battle going on west of New York.

Yet if radio listeners did not panic, newspaper reporters surely did—both that night and after. The New York Daily News headline was: “Fake ‘War’ on Radio Spreads Panic over U.S.” The Boston Globe’s banner read: “Radio Play Terrifies Nation.” The News and the Globe, with other newspapers, described the car accidents, miscarriages and attempts to flee—though none of these things had occurred. Because a handful of people had acted on their fright (though no one was hurt as a result), newspaper editors threw caution to the winds, extrapolating from a few incidents and, as Mr. Schwartz says, publicizing “a nationwide panic that never actually existed.” Nor was the newspaper panic confined to the Northeast. The story was picked up by the leading wire services and landed in papers from Detroit to New Orleans, from Memphis to Los Angeles.


面白い話のネタを常に求めているので、それっぽい話があればまず飛びついてしまうのが我々なんでしょうね。Yutaもしっかり食いついてしまっていました(滝汗)

当時のオーソンウェルズのラジオドラマがYoutubeにありました。良い時代になりました。


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