Of birds and babies: Social cues are key to vocal learning

ITHACA, N.Y. –  When a baby bird learns a song, is it simply mimicking and practicing its father’s tune? Or do chicks learn by first putting out nonsensical sounds – akin to a human infant’s babble – which they then build upon based on their parent’s response? A Cornell University study suggests that social feedback […]

Social interaction powers language learning game

ITHACA, N.Y. – Games are usually more fun when you play with other people, but if you’re playing an educational game, interacting with other players may help you learn more, according to Cornell research. Using a language-learning game called “Crystallize,” created by Erik Andersen,assistant professor of computer science, and his students, researchers found that when players are […]

‘Now-or-never bottleneck’ explains language acquisition

ITHACA, N.Y. – We are constantly bombarded with linguistic input, but our brains are unable to remember long strings of linguistic information. How does the brain make sense of this ongoing deluge of sound? In a new paper in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, “The Now-or-Never Bottleneck: A Fundamental Constraint on Language,” Cornell psychology professor Morten Christiansen and […]

Rolling Stones’ songs are musical equivalent to Trump’s misogyny

Judith Peraino is a musicologist at Cornell University where she studies queer music theory as well as medieval music. She believes that the ‘misogynistic machismo’ in some of the Rolling Stones’ songs fits Trump’s tone and language. Bio: http://music.cornell.edu/people/faculty/profile/judith-a-peraino/ Peraino says: “The Rolling Stones may be horrified that Donald Trump’s campaign has been warming-up the […]

New book explains the creation and evolution of language

ITHACA, N.Y. – Is language innate? How did we get language? A new book offers a revolutionary, unifying framework to understand the processing, acquisition and evolution of language. “Creating Language: Integrating Evolution, Acquisition, and Processing” by Morten H. Christiansen, Cornell professor of psychology, and Nick Chater (University of Warwick, U.K.), integrates recent findings across numerous […]