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For Linguists, It Was the Decade of the Pronoun

On Jan. 3, the American Dialect Society held its 30th annual “Word of the Year” vote, which this year also included a vote for “Word of the Decade.” It was the year – and the decade – of the pronoun. In a nod to shifting attitudes about gender identities that are nonbinary – meaning they...

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‘She’ Goes Missing from Presidential Language

Throughout most of 2016, a significant percentage of the American public believed that the winner of the November 2016 presidential election would be a woman — Hillary Clinton. Strikingly, a new study from cognitive scientists and linguists at MIT, the University of Potsdam, and the University of California at San Diego shows that despite those...

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AI for #MeToo: Training Algorithms to Spot Online Trolls

Researchers at Caltech have demonstrated that machine-learning algorithms can monitor online social media conversations as they evolve, which could one day lead to an effective and automated way to spot online trolling. The project unites the labs of artificial intelligence (AI) researcher Anima Anandkumar, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and Michael Alvarez, professor...

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Luxury Consumption Can Fuel ‘Impostor Syndrome’ Among Some Buyers

Purchasing luxury goods can affirm buyers’ sense of status and enjoyment of items like fancy cars or fine jewelry. However, for many consumers, luxury purchases can fail to ring true, sparking feelings of inauthenticity that fuel what researchers have labeled the “impostor syndrome” among luxury consumers. “Luxury can be a double-edged sword,” write Boston College...

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Scandinavians’ Little Linguistic Hat Trick

Linguist Dave Kush at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Department of Language and Literature has been studying a phenomenon in which Norwegian, Swedish and Danish stand out. This language peculiarity has to do with the order of words, or the syntax. The basic point of the study is to better understand the grammatical...

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How Humans Learnt to Dance; from the Chimpanzee Conga

The evolution of human dance has been studied by psychologists in chimpanzees Researchers from the University of Warwick, Durham University and Free University of Brussels found two chimpanzees performed a duo dance-like behaviour, similar to a conga-line Behaviours displayed by the chimpanzees forces an interest in the evolution of dance as humans are no longer...

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Financial Infidelity: Secret Spending Costs Couples and Companies

Along with sexual dalliances and emotional dishonesty, add “financial infidelity” to the perils of the modern relationship, according to Boston College Assistant Professor Marketing Hristina Nikolova and fellow researchers who undertook the first systemic investigation into the secretive spending of romantic partners. As retailers enter the holiday shopping season, the new study identifies “financial infidelity”...

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Social Media Contributes to Increased Perception of Food Technology as Risky Business

When it comes to food technology, the information shared on social media often trumps the facts put out by the scientific community and food experts, leading to the dissemination of disinformation, “fake news” and conspiracy theories. Nowhere is this more evident than consumers’ mistrust of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), despite assurances from the scientific community...

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Unemployment Encourages Men to Try Traditionally Female-Dominated Work

Unemployment significantly increases the odds of men entering jobs traditionally performed by women. And, notably, some men find real job advantages as a result. The U.S. labor market has been in the midst of significant changes for decades, and some traditionally male-dominated work sectors have been shrinking. Accordingly, many men in these fields risk unstable...