We like to think of ourselves as rational beings that can make decisions more or less free of bias.

But research shows that language can influence our perception in subtle ways — either for good or for bad. Even our choice of language can make us reason more clearly, or understand someone better.

Linguist Daniel Midgley discusses language and bias on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

Did Neil Armstrong muff his line?
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ggcuc1XvZ-TCBfGrWIEVARGVsF6A?docId=702bdf6a9a564e449bb73e39c65e4d6e
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/aug/25/neil-armstrong-moon

Language Log weighs in on the Great Armstrong Determiner Hunt.
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003630.html
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003632.html

Hear it for yourself:
http://www.hark.com/clips/szgkkpwlbb-one-small-step-for-man-one-giant-leap-for-mankind

Thinking in a foreign language makes decisions more rational.
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/04/language-and-bias/

Some people seem to make moral decisions on a visceral basis. In fact, disgust may have driven our evolving moral sense.
http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/sunday-commentary/20100827-Drake-Bennett-The-surprising-moral-3508.ece

Having a strong accent reduces credibility in the eyes (or ears) of native speakers.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100719164002.htm

Imitating someone’s accent makes it easier to understand them.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206161826.htm

A little more about accommodation:
http://www.englishclub.com/tefl-articles/accommodation-theory.htm