Linguistics Colloquium: Prof. Yao

  • Starts: 5:15 pm on Thursday, April 25, 2019
  • Ends: 6:45 pm on Thursday, April 25, 2019
"Pupil responses to emotion words, emotion-laden words, and taboo words in bilingual speakers" Abstract: Every language has words that express emotion: some of them describe specific emotions (“emotion words”, e.g. happy, sad), while others refer to properties, objects, and events that are often associated with emotion in our experience in life (“emotion-laden words”, e.g. holiday, cancer). In addition, languages also have words referring to cultural taboos that are not supposed to be used in a normal, polite conversation (“taboo words”, e.g. s***). Although taboo words do not describe emotions directly, their use often co-occurs with strong feelings in either or both the speaker and the listener. Previous literature has shown that speakers of a language can form emotional connections with these emotion-related words, even when the words are presented out of context. Furthermore, such connections are contended to be stronger in one’s first language than in subsequent languages. Recent development in experimental techniques allows us to examine emotional arousal through physiological measures such as skin conductance, heart rate, and pupil dilation. In this talk, I will discuss a recent study of pupil responses to emotion-related words by Cantonese-Mandarin bilingual speakers, comparing across modalities of word presentation (auditory vs. visual).
CAS B12 725 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA
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