1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

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1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Jorpho » Fri May 29, 2015 4:48 am UTC

The BDLPSWDKS Effect

Image

Title: "This well-known effect has of course been replicated in countless experiments."

Being unfamiliar with the subject matter, I thought, "Did they name an effect after what happens when a bridge officer is repeatedly shot down?" But of course, it is Whorf, not Worf.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Yerushalmi » Fri May 29, 2015 4:58 am UTC

The Worf Effect actually is a thing. I wonder how one would merge it with the rest of the items...

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri May 29, 2015 5:04 am UTC

Can't wait to see MythBusters tackle this one.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby dash » Fri May 29, 2015 5:20 am UTC

Image
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Mikeski » Fri May 29, 2015 5:21 am UTC

So whether you dive out of the way in time or not, the end result is likely to be The BDLPSWDKSWn Effect?

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby alvinhochun » Fri May 29, 2015 5:39 am UTC

Good game Randall, you successfully confused me.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby nowhereman » Fri May 29, 2015 6:37 am UTC

Here I go explaining the joke:

The Bernoulli effect states that air travels faster when pressure or potential energy drop. Used for air foils on air planes (along with Newton's third law).

Doppler effect relates to compression of waves due to movement. This is where the "Tonal language" part comes in.

Leidenfrost effect talks about liquids being pushed away from warm or hot objects due solely to vapor pressure. Sticking your hand in Liquid Nitrogen and pulling it out quickly demonstrates this effect well.

Peltzman effect refers to the decrease in effectiveness of safety regulations due to additional risk being taken by those being protected. For example, more speeding cars in locations with seatbelt laws.

Sapir-Whorf effect refers to the effect of language categories on our psychological thought processes. Example, can't think of freedom, revolution, etc... if the only word you know is thoughtcrime.

Dunning-Kruger effect refers to the fact that those who cannot solve a particular problem cannot accurately judge how well they can solve a problem. People who cannot solve logic puzzles do not know how well they can do at logic puzzles.

Finally, the Stroop effect shows that people are better at reading names of colors than saying the names of the colors of the words. This is used to show how automaticity is in effect in psychology.

End explanation:

Anyway, how the hell did they do this experiment once, let alone replicate it?
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri May 29, 2015 6:58 am UTC

Don't forget the other side of the Dunning-Kruger effect, where people who are proficient at a task overestimate the proficiency of other people and conversely underestimate the exceptionality of their own proficiency.

The overall effect is that dumb people think they're smarter than they are because they're too dumb to know how little they know, and smart people think they're dumber than they are because they're smart enough to know just how much more there is to know that they don't know.

(The whole thing always reminds me of the prophecy of Socrates. The Oracle at Delphi supposedly told him he was the wisest man around, but he didn't believe that, and went around questioning supposedly wise people to check that he was indeed not as wise as them, only to realize that not only were these wise people unable to answer his questions, but that they weren't even cognizant of their own failing there, leading Socrates to realize that while he was indeed ignorant of many things as he thought, so was everyone else, but he had one bit of wisdom that they lacked: awareness of his own ignorance.)
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Shoaler » Fri May 29, 2015 9:18 am UTC

Dick: What possessed you to yell fire when you fell in this vat of liquid chocolate? There was no fire. You were in the chocolate and you yelled fire! That's pretty ridicules if you ask me.
Tom: Why I yelled fire because no one would save me if I yelled CHOCOLATE!!

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby cellocgw » Fri May 29, 2015 10:57 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Being unfamiliar with the subject matter, I thought, "Did they name an effect after what happens when a bridge officer is repeatedly shot down?" But of course, it is Whorf, not Worf.


Also not "wharf" , or WARF ; or WARPH , or worph.

This could go on for a while...
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby pkcommando » Fri May 29, 2015 11:33 am UTC

nowhereman wrote:Anyway, how the hell did they do this experiment once, let alone replicate it?

You have days where that kind of situation doesn't happen to you? How odd.


The more I think about it, I'm starting to get suspicious about that maze between my bedroom and kitchen - and why some of my possessions give out nasty shocks.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Beavertails » Fri May 29, 2015 12:04 pm UTC

So many people commenting on proven science across MULTIPLE experiments. Sigh. Next thing you'll try and convince me of is that vaccines are real.
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Eoink » Fri May 29, 2015 12:13 pm UTC

Beavertails wrote:So many people commenting on proven science across MULTIPLE experiments. Sigh. Next thing you'll try and convince me of is that vaccines are real.


Oh they're real. But do they work? :wink:

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Eternal Density » Fri May 29, 2015 12:48 pm UTC

I like this one. Well played.
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby ctdonath » Fri May 29, 2015 1:05 pm UTC

Randall, drinking coffee made with Red Bull really isn't such a good idea.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Jackpot777 » Fri May 29, 2015 1:52 pm UTC

ctdonath wrote:Randall, drinking coffee made with Red Bull really isn't such a good idea.


Of course, we'll have to do it repeatedly. Just to make sure the initial hypothesis is valid.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby squall_line » Fri May 29, 2015 1:58 pm UTC

nowhereman wrote:Here I go explaining the joke:

The Bernoulli effect states that air travels faster when pressure or potential energy drop. Used for air foils on air planes (along with Newton's third law).

Doppler effect relates to compression of waves due to movement. This is where the "Tonal language" part comes in.

Leidenfrost effect talks about liquids being pushed away from warm or hot objects due solely to vapor pressure. Sticking your hand in Liquid Nitrogen and pulling it out quickly demonstrates this effect well.

Peltzman effect refers to the decrease in effectiveness of safety regulations due to additional risk being taken by those being protected. For example, more speeding cars in locations with seatbelt laws.

Sapir-Whorf effect refers to the effect of language categories on our psychological thought processes. Example, can't think of freedom, revolution, etc... if the only word you know is thoughtcrime.

Dunning-Kruger effect refers to the fact that those who cannot solve a particular problem cannot accurately judge how well they can solve a problem. People who cannot solve logic puzzles do not know how well they can do at logic puzzles.

Finally, the Stroop effect shows that people are better at reading names of colors than saying the names of the colors of the words. This is used to show how automaticity is in effect in psychology.

End explanation:

Anyway, how the hell did they do this experiment once, let alone replicate it?


Assuming those are the correct descriptions of the effects (and I've neither the time to research them nor any reason to believe they're wrong), you really only linked one of them back to the situation described in the comic, and I'm not sure it was the right connection, since people usually describe the Doppler effect by relating it to the way a fire truck's siren changes in sound as it approaches and then retreats.

My take:

If a speeding fire truck
Spoiler:
Doppler effect
lifts off and hurtles toward you
Spoiler:
Bernoulli effect
on a layer of superheated gas,
Spoiler:
Leidenfrost effect
you'll dive out of the way faster
Spoiler:
Peltzman effect, inasmuch as it's a risky move to entrust your safety to diving out of the way of speeding vehicles
if the driver screams "red!"
Spoiler:
Stroop effect
in a non-tonal language
that has a word for "firefighter"
Spoiler:
Sapir-whorf effect
than if they scream "green!"
Spoiler:
Stroop effect
in a tonal language
with no word for "firefighter"
Spoiler:
Sapir-whorf effect
which you think you're fluent but aren't
Spoiler:
Dunning-Kruger effect


I would also add that he missed the chance to add "Coriolis effect" by tossing in "if you twist clockwise as you dive" and "than if you twisted counter-clockwise as you dive".

I'm sure there there are plenty of other effects that could be added to this, too. Who wants to help? ;)

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby orthogon » Fri May 29, 2015 2:33 pm UTC

Sure. The whole sorry episode is a sort of domino effect, probably ultimately initiated by the butterfly effect. But those aren't eponymous effects. Maybe if the person mouths "breen" while somebody out of sight screams "green", the McGurk effect could be invoked.

The example here points up why the Whorfian hypothesis is so suspect. What language doesn't have a word for "firefighter"? Only one belonging to a culture that doesn't have firefighters. "What do you do?" "It's incredibly important to the safety of life in the city, but I can't really put it into words." Writing your CV (resume) must be a real pain.
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby drachefly » Fri May 29, 2015 2:54 pm UTC

nowhereman wrote:Leidenfrost effect talks about liquids being pushed away from warm or hot objects due solely to vapor pressure. Sticking your hand in Liquid Nitrogen and pulling it out quickly demonstrates this effect well.


Sticking in an object that can tolerate liquid nitrogen temperatures, sure. Hands are not such objects. You can put LN2 onto your hand no problem.

Putting your hand into LN2? Get ready to change your name to 'nohandman'.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby measure » Fri May 29, 2015 3:01 pm UTC

squall_line wrote:I'm sure there there are plenty of other effects that could be added to this, too. Who wants to help? ;)

I'm hoping to see:

Butterfly effect,
Bystander effect,
Domino effect,
Greenhouse effect,
drachefly wrote:Sticking in an object that can tolerate liquid nitrogen temperatures, sure. Hands are not such objects. You can put LN2 onto your hand no problem.

Putting your hand into LN2? Get ready to change your name to 'nohandman'.

I have personally picked up frozen grapes out of a container of liquid nitrogen with my bare hand. If you do it quickly, you're fine.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Reecer6 » Fri May 29, 2015 4:51 pm UTC

measure wrote:I'm hoping to see:

Butterfly effect,
Bystander effect,
Domino effect,
Greenhouse effect,


Yeah, but none of those are named after people.

squall_line wrote:I would also add that he missed the chance to add "Coriolis effect" by tossing in "if you twist clockwise as you dive" and "than if you twisted counter-clockwise as you dive".

I'm sure there there are plenty of other effects that could be added to this, too. Who wants to help? ;)


I think it'd fit better if it were "If a speeding fire truck lifts off and hurtles towards you, spinning in the appropriate direction for the hemisphere it is in..."

Going off this list full of effects that are actually named after people... we have a lot of work to do. Granted, definitely not all of them are effects, but there still is a ton there.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri May 29, 2015 5:39 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:The example here points up why the Whorfian hypothesis is so suspect. What language doesn't have a word for "firefighter"? Only one belonging to a culture that doesn't have firefighters. "What do you do?" "It's incredibly important to the safety of life in the city, but I can't really put it into words." Writing your CV (resume) must be a real pain.


Also, it fails to explain where new words come from - if you have no word for "television", do you need to come up with the word before you can interact with the object?

Where there is some truth to it is that it's easier to think in ways that match your vocabulary than in ways that cut across it - which things you lump together and where you draw distinctions are going to be heavily influenced by how your language categorises them.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Bratmon » Fri May 29, 2015 6:45 pm UTC

That title text was everything a title text should be.

It wasn't the same joke as the comic, but it clearly depended on you having read the comic.

It was an extra joke: logical, but orthogonal to the main joke.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby nowhereman » Fri May 29, 2015 6:52 pm UTC

squall_line wrote:
nowhereman wrote:Here I go explaining the joke:

The Bernoulli effect states that air travels faster when pressure or potential energy drop. Used for air foils on air planes (along with Newton's third law).

Doppler effect relates to compression of waves due to movement. This is where the "Tonal language" part comes in.

Leidenfrost effect talks about liquids being pushed away from warm or hot objects due solely to vapor pressure. Sticking your hand in Liquid Nitrogen and pulling it out quickly demonstrates this effect well.

Peltzman effect refers to the decrease in effectiveness of safety regulations due to additional risk being taken by those being protected. For example, more speeding cars in locations with seatbelt laws.

Sapir-Whorf effect refers to the effect of language categories on our psychological thought processes. Example, can't think of freedom, revolution, etc... if the only word you know is thoughtcrime.

Dunning-Kruger effect refers to the fact that those who cannot solve a particular problem cannot accurately judge how well they can solve a problem. People who cannot solve logic puzzles do not know how well they can do at logic puzzles.

Finally, the Stroop effect shows that people are better at reading names of colors than saying the names of the colors of the words. This is used to show how automaticity is in effect in psychology.

End explanation:

Anyway, how the hell did they do this experiment once, let alone replicate it?


Assuming those are the correct descriptions of the effects (and I've neither the time to research them nor any reason to believe they're wrong), you really only linked one of them back to the situation described in the comic, and I'm not sure it was the right connection, since people usually describe the Doppler effect by relating it to the way a fire truck's siren changes in sound as it approaches and then retreats.

My take:

If a speeding fire truck
Spoiler:
Doppler effect
lifts off and hurtles toward you
Spoiler:
Bernoulli effect
on a layer of superheated gas,
Spoiler:
Leidenfrost effect
you'll dive out of the way faster
Spoiler:
Peltzman effect, inasmuch as it's a risky move to entrust your safety to diving out of the way of speeding vehicles
if the driver screams "red!"
Spoiler:
Stroop effect
in a non-tonal language
that has a word for "firefighter"
Spoiler:
Sapir-whorf effect
than if they scream "green!"
Spoiler:
Stroop effect
in a tonal language
with no word for "firefighter"
Spoiler:
Sapir-whorf effect
which you think you're fluent but aren't
Spoiler:
Dunning-Kruger effect


I would also add that he missed the chance to add "Coriolis effect" by tossing in "if you twist clockwise as you dive" and "than if you twisted counter-clockwise as you dive".

I'm sure there there are plenty of other effects that could be added to this, too. Who wants to help? ;)


I didn't really attempt to connect the individual effects to each piece of the comic in the previous post I made. I was quite late in going to sleep for the night when I wrote that.

The tonal/non-tonal language part is the Doppler effect. A tonal language is a language where the tone of the words being said affect the meaning of the word. For example, Chinese uses four tones (that I am aware of): Rising tone, Falling tone, Steady tone, and a short fall followed by a rising tone. Needless to say, if a firetruck is speeding toward you, using a language like English would add at least one less chaotic thing to think about in this comic.

The Bernoulli Effect is the part of the comic referencing the Truck taking off and the Liedenfrost effect refers to the superheated gas. The Speeding truck is definitely the Peltzman Effect. Speeding cars (or trucks) are the most commonly cited example of the Peltzman Effect.

The part where you are talking about jumping out of the way faster is merely the comic's analogous version of reaction time. This is commonly used in Cognitive Psychology as a measurement of ease of processing where shorter time frames are supposed to coincide with easier thought processes. The colors do refer to the Stroop effect. Being nitpicky for a second however, this would be appropriate only if the options were yelling a correct color/incorrect color or saying nothing at all (perhaps with different colored firetrucks?).

Sapir-Whorf effect has to do with the presence of the word firetruck in the language. I have to wonder if this would have any effect, as I am certain that even if a language did not have a word for firetruck, there has to be a word for "Large heavy thing that will crush you". The last part refers to the Dunning-Kruger effect.

We could add adaptive memory by having this take place in a savanna during a memory test, but the adaptive memory effect isn't named after anyone.

pkcommando wrote:
nowhereman wrote:Anyway, how the hell did they do this experiment once, let alone replicate it?

You have days where that kind of situation doesn't happen to you? How odd.


The more I think about it, I'm starting to get suspicious about that maze between my bedroom and kitchen - and why some of my possessions give out nasty shocks.


Don't think about the maze. However, remember that when you hear the lead in to "The Final Countdown" play on the radio, immediately hit the lever in the bathroom (follow the orange path) or else you will be shocked by a participant and an experimenter with progressively increasing shocks.
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby jc » Fri May 29, 2015 11:34 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:... The example here points up why the Whorfian hypothesis is so suspect. What language doesn't have a word for "firefighter"? Only one belonging to a culture that doesn't have firefighters. ...


A few years back, I was reading a discussion in which one person made the claim that "Language X has no word for free speech". So I posted the reply "Neither does English; that's why we use a two-word phrase for the concept." I got lotsa likes for that one. Nobody bothered actually saying that the poster had made an idiotic claim.

Of course, it's often difficult to give a precise definition of "word" in many languages, including English. One could argue that "firefighter" is one word only because English (like all the other Germanic languages) allows nouns to be used as adjectives, and it's common to leave out the space between what is really the two word phrase "fire fighter", magically converting the phrase to a single word. So English doesn't really have a word for that concept; it merely allows writing many multi-word phrases without spaces.

But we're not nearly as bad at this practice as the Germans. And Germans aren't nearly as bad as the Chinese and Japanese, who usually don't bother with spaces at all, so every sentence looks like one long "word". ;-)

In any case, "Language X has no word for ..." is one of the memes that linguists like to mock, as a special case of mocking anyone who believes the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. All human languages have ways of combining their morphemes into utterances that describe complex concepts.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Heimhenge » Fri May 29, 2015 11:40 pm UTC

nowhereman wrote:
The part where you are talking about jumping out of the way faster is merely the comic's analogous version of reaction time. This is commonly used in Cognitive Psychology as a measurement of ease of processing where shorter time frames are supposed to coincide with easier thought processes. The colors do refer to the Stroop effect. Being nitpicky for a second however, this would be appropriate only if the options were yelling a correct color/incorrect color or saying nothing at all (perhaps with different colored firetrucks?).



I don't know about other jurisdictions, but here in Arizona they're transitioning from red emergency vehicles to a shade of yellow-green deemed more easily visible than red by several studies. Here's just one. http://www.apa.org/action/resources/research-in-action/lime.aspx

The human eye is most sensitive to this region of the spectrum, so maybe they should be yelling "#E4F400" instead? :)

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Plutarch » Sat May 30, 2015 12:52 am UTC

Heimhenge wrote:I don't know about other jurisdictions, but here in Arizona they're transitioning from red emergency vehicles to a shade of yellow-green deemed more easily visible than red by several studies. Here's just one. http://www.apa.org/action/resources/research-in-action/lime.aspx

The human eye is most sensitive to this region of the spectrum, so maybe they should be yelling "#E4F400" instead? :)

In Britain, ambulances used to be white. Now they're a vile mixture of fluorescent green and yellow. I'm still grumpy about this.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby rmsgrey » Sat May 30, 2015 1:56 am UTC

Heimhenge wrote:
nowhereman wrote:
The part where you are talking about jumping out of the way faster is merely the comic's analogous version of reaction time. This is commonly used in Cognitive Psychology as a measurement of ease of processing where shorter time frames are supposed to coincide with easier thought processes. The colors do refer to the Stroop effect. Being nitpicky for a second however, this would be appropriate only if the options were yelling a correct color/incorrect color or saying nothing at all (perhaps with different colored firetrucks?).



I don't know about other jurisdictions, but here in Arizona they're transitioning from red emergency vehicles to a shade of yellow-green deemed more easily visible than red by several studies. Here's just one. http://www.apa.org/action/resources/research-in-action/lime.aspx

The human eye is most sensitive to this region of the spectrum, so maybe they should be yelling "#E4F400" instead? :)


Surely they should pick the colour based on visibility against typical backdrops rather than visibility under ideal circumstances?

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Jorpho » Sat May 30, 2015 3:13 am UTC

Yerushalmi wrote:The Worf Effect actually is a thing. I wonder how one would merge it with the rest of the items...
Good gracious, how did I miss that? I suppose that's what I get for posting at odd hours of the morning.

So... I guess the experiment would fail if being run over by the firetruck served to demonstrate the relative badassery of the firetruck, i.e. if you were established earlier in the narrative as being impervious to lesser vehicles? Yeah, that makes sense.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby funda » Sat May 30, 2015 10:18 am UTC

Does the Stroop effect work on this one ?

Image
:lol:
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby cellocgw » Sat May 30, 2015 1:38 pm UTC

Heimhenge wrote:
I don't know about other jurisdictions, but here in Arizona they're transitioning from red emergency vehicles to a shade of yellow-green deemed more easily visible than red by several studies. Here's just one. http://www.apa.org/action/resources/research-in-action/lime.aspx

The human eye is most sensitive to this region of the spectrum, so maybe they should be yelling "#E4F400" instead? :)


Oh, how progressive of Arizona! Several states tried this in the mid-1970s. maybe someone should have asked them first?
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby sehkzychic » Sat May 30, 2015 5:37 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:What language doesn't have a word for "firefighter"? Only one belonging to a culture that doesn't have firefighters. "What do you do?" "It's incredibly important to the safety of life in the city, but I can't really put it into words." Writing your CV (resume) must be a real pain.


I'd definitely agree about the suspect nature of Sapir-Whorf, but I'd also argue about the omnipresence of a word for "firefighter." In fact, I'd say we don't really have a word for it in English. It's just a job description combining words, like insurance adjustor, stock broker, zookeeper, etc. (What is a firefighter? A fighter of fires.) Other jobs do have words, like doctor, secretary, biologist, king, etc. Of course, even if you don't have a unique word for your occupation, in any natural language, you can describe any sort of idea. It might just take a little longer or use more words. (Just like people with a limited English vocabulary can still talk about complex ideas; you may not have access to words like "hegemony," but you can still have an intelligent conversation about how people in one place do stuff the way people in another place do because the people in the second place have a lot of power.)

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby da Doctah » Sat May 30, 2015 6:21 pm UTC

funda wrote:Does the Stroop effect work on this one ?

Image

I used to do this when I had a large enough group. I had three sets of "words" on handouts, which I passed around to paired-off participants: one had color words that matched the color they were printed in, one where they didn't match, and the third had unmatched words in Chinese. In each time, one member was to read the colors and the other person to write them down, and at the end we'd compare how quickly they'd gone through the list and how many mistakes they'd made.

Turns out if you don't understand the printed words, they don't interfere with the task. I used it in "team-building" activities as an illustration that having too much information is a greater hindrance than not having enough.

I was going to add more groups to the test and use English words like truck and chair instead of colors, but by the time I'd thought of it I didn't get any more opportunities.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby orthogon » Sun May 31, 2015 1:24 pm UTC

jc wrote:
orthogon wrote:... The example here points up why the Whorfian hypothesis is so suspect. What language doesn't have a word for "firefighter"? Only one belonging to a culture that doesn't have firefighters. ...


A few years back, I was reading a discussion in which one person made the claim that "Language X has no word for free speech". So I posted the reply "Neither does English; that's why we use a two-word phrase for the concept." I got lotsa likes for that one. Nobody bothered actually saying that the poster had made an idiotic claim.

Of course, it's often difficult to give a precise definition of "word" in many languages, including English. One could argue that "firefighter" is one word only because English (like all the other Germanic languages) allows nouns to be used as adjectives, and it's common to leave out the space between what is really the two word phrase "fire fighter", magically converting the phrase to a single word. So English doesn't really have a word for that concept; it merely allows writing many multi-word phrases without spaces.

But we're not nearly as bad at this practice as the Germans. And Germans aren't nearly as bad as the Chinese and Japanese, who usually don't bother with spaces at all, so every sentence looks like one long "word". ;-)

Quite so; a similar point was made by sehkzychic. I also take rmsgrey's point that for concepts like colour, the words in a person's language may influence the way they group objects. But this case is fundamentally because we're trying to apply discrete labels to a continuum; blue, it turns out, does not possess thinginess (this is actually an interesting result in itself, but I'd argue that it's a result about the human visual system, not about human language).
jc wrote:In any case, "Language X has no word for ..." is one of the memes that linguists like to mock, as a special case of mocking anyone who believes the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. All human languages have ways of combining their morphemes into utterances that describe complex concepts.

I'm glad to hear that; it seems obvious to me that if a concept has thinginess, that it must be possible to express it in any language given the infinite combinatorial properties of language. Apart from anything else, even the languages that "have a word for it" must be able to re-express it in other terms; otherwise are we to believe that the dictionary writers simply throw up their hands when they get to that entry? And for anything that's remotely complicated (as in the case of most of the concepts that languages "don't have a word for"), the same applies to the teachers, lecturers and authors of textbooks.

The converse argument also bothers me: the idea that some languages are infinitely precious because they do "have a word for it". This, I accept, is more controversial, but in my personal opinion the idea of treating languages like species is a category error. There's a powerful school of thought that says we should preserve "engangered" languages and even in some cases re-introduce extinct ones (like Cornish). I'm no monoglot: I speak French and Spanish reasonably fluently and on a good day I can get by in German and Japanese. I love studying languages and linguistics: I find it fascinating what the similarities and differences in the world's languages can tell us about how the brain works. I totally get that, but for me those things come a distant second to the primary purpose of language, which is for human beings to communicate with one another. I simply cannot see how preserving and introducing new languages is a net good thing. Sure, the people learning those languages will also speak the regional or global lingua franca, but even then they could have been spending the time learning one of the top ten languages instead of resurrecting a moribund one. And as for the idea that if the language is lost, the concept will be lost to humanity: it's plainly absurd. If there isn't a word for an important cultural concept, one will be created: most likely the existing word in the threatened language will be borrowed. If the concept itself is being lost, that's because of a cultural change (cultural hegemony, perhaps ;-) ), not a linguistic one, and no amount of linguistic conservationism can counter that.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby histrion » Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:13 pm UTC

Meanwhile, it's been three days and nobody has proposed "The BDLPSWDKS Effect" as a name for an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby orthogon » Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:35 pm UTC

Plutarch wrote:
Heimhenge wrote:I don't know about other jurisdictions, but here in Arizona they're transitioning from red emergency vehicles to a shade of yellow-green deemed more easily visible than red by several studies. Here's just one. http://www.apa.org/action/resources/research-in-action/lime.aspx

The human eye is most sensitive to this region of the spectrum, so maybe they should be yelling "#E4F400" instead? :)

In Britain, ambulances used to be white. Now they're a vile mixture of fluorescent green and yellow. I'm still grumpy about this.

And they used to go "nee naw nee naw" instead of "woooooooooooooooooh woo woo woo woo". Dog poo used to be white, too.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby PsiSquared » Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:29 am UTC

nowhereman wrote:I didn't really attempt to connect the individual effects to each piece of the comic in the previous post I made. I was quite late in going to sleep for the night when I wrote that.

The tonal/non-tonal language part is the Doppler effect. A tonal language is a language where the tone of the words being said affect the meaning of the word. For example, Chinese uses four tones (that I am aware of): Rising tone, Falling tone, Steady tone, and a short fall followed by a rising tone. Needless to say, if a firetruck is speeding toward you, using a language like English would add at least one less chaotic thing to think about in this comic.


There's no rule saying that each element in the comic must correspond to a unique effect (or vice versa)

For one thing, the Red / Green thing is also related to the Doppler effect. :-)

And I think these multiple connections are part of the fun in this comic.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:15 am UTC

orthogon wrote:
jc wrote:
orthogon wrote:... The example here points up why the Whorfian hypothesis is so suspect. What language doesn't have a word for "firefighter"? Only one belonging to a culture that doesn't have firefighters. ...


A few years back, I was reading a discussion in which one person made the claim that "Language X has no word for free speech". So I posted the reply "Neither does English; that's why we use a two-word phrase for the concept." I got lotsa likes for that one. Nobody bothered actually saying that the poster had made an idiotic claim.

Of course, it's often difficult to give a precise definition of "word" in many languages, including English. One could argue that "firefighter" is one word only because English (like all the other Germanic languages) allows nouns to be used as adjectives, and it's common to leave out the space between what is really the two word phrase "fire fighter", magically converting the phrase to a single word. So English doesn't really have a word for that concept; it merely allows writing many multi-word phrases without spaces.

But we're not nearly as bad at this practice as the Germans. And Germans aren't nearly as bad as the Chinese and Japanese, who usually don't bother with spaces at all, so every sentence looks like one long "word". ;-)

Quite so; a similar point was made by sehkzychic. I also take rmsgrey's point that for concepts like colour, the words in a person's language may influence the way they group objects. But this case is fundamentally because we're trying to apply discrete labels to a continuum; blue, it turns out, does not possess thinginess (this is actually an interesting result in itself, but I'd argue that it's a result about the human visual system, not about human language).

No abstract concepts and a minority of quantitative qualities possesses thinginess. It is absolutely true that we categorize and that those categories affect how we think and act. It's also true that language is often very overtly our framework for thinking and that it has at least some part in all abstract thinking.

"Fire fighter" is also not just any adjective-modified noun. It refers to a specific job role and social position. If I set my kitchen on fire by accident and attempt to contain the resulting blaze, I have not become a firefighter. "Free speech" does not refer to oration you don't have to pay for or the fact that role playing games allow talking as a free action during combat that doesn't use up turn time. Linguistically, semantically, these are compounds. The fact that they're orthographically written with a space inside is irrelevant - it doesn't even determine the juncture in speech.

The classic example of Sapir-Whorf in action is sexual harassment (which is, by the by, another compound.) It certainly existed before it had a label, and it was also certainly a lot more difficult to talk about, and that influenced conceptualization and action. Also notable would be the entirety of 1984, which was an exploration of the concept.
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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:04 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:No abstract concepts and a minority of quantitative qualities possesses thinginess. It is absolutely true that we categorize and that those categories affect how we think and act. It's also true that language is often very overtly our framework for thinking and that it has at least some part in all abstract thinking.

I think we mean different things by "thinginess". I mean something along the lines of this: a concept has thinginess if it is something about which meaningful statements could be made which would be agreed upon by most if not all people with knowledge of it (or perhaps that they would at least agree that the statements were meaningful, though not necessarily correct). Happiness, General Relativity and telepathy all have it. The concepts have meaning independent of the existence or choice of word to label them.
Copper Bezel wrote:"Fire fighter" is also not just any adjective-modified noun. It refers to a specific job role and social position. If I set my kitchen on fire by accident and attempt to contain the resulting blaze, I have not become a firefighter. [...] Linguistically, semantically, these are compounds. The fact that they're orthographically written with a space inside is irrelevant - it doesn't even determine the juncture in speech.

Agreed. I intended to concur with the point that the presence or absence of the space in compounds is a mere typographical issue, which varies between languages, but your point that the compound can have a meaning that isn't simply the obvious meaning of the noun-phrase is well made.

The fact that the words or compounds that we choose are intended to refer to something specific that isn't necessarily the same as the apparent literal meaning of the noun-phrase itself is part of the reason why words for sensitive or emotive concepts have to keep being reinvented (e.g. cripple, disabled, handicapped, wheelchair user, uses a wheelchair).
Copper Bezel wrote:The classic example of Sapir-Whorf in action is sexual harassment (which is, by the by, another compound.) It certainly existed before it had a label, and it was also certainly a lot more difficult to talk about, and that influenced conceptualization and action. Also notable would be the entirety of 1984, which was an exploration of the concept.

Great example, but we're into chicken-and-egg territory here. I would argue that the need for a word comes about as a result of the referrent itself becoming important within the language community. In fields like humanities and social sciences, politics or law, where natural language is all we have to explore and express these ideas, the word is required in order to collectively develop thinking about it; not necessarily for an individual but for a community. So the word(s) sexual harassment and the general awareness of the concept of sexual harassment are bound to go hand-in-hand. How do we know that it was the coining of the word rather than a change in societal norms and roles that brought about the change?

In the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, you can do a lot of work on something without ever having a word for it, or even for the component parts of it. For example, many programmers will be familiar with the problem of not being able to think of a good name for some function or intermediate variable (int foo = bar+2*quux), but still being able to understand the program completely. And take something like Web 2.0: this was surely very much a thing before it was given a name. Giving it a name made it easier to promote and disseminate as a concept for people (like me) who hadn't "got it" yet; but I'd still argue that what happened was that somebody decided that it was a Good Thing that ought to be encouraged; you can't do that easily without having a good word for it, but the idea comes first and the word second. The same with sexual harassment: a group of people decided that particular behaviours were not only a Bad Thing but that something needed to be done about them; the word was coined in order to encapsulate the cause in a manageable way.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1531: "The BDLPSWDKS Effect"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:44 pm UTC

jc wrote:Neither does English; that's why we use a two-word phrase for the concept.
There's a joke I sometimes tell: "Italian has 18 words for pasta, but none for 'Speak up!' ". The BS being that English and Italian are alike in that neither have "a word" for it, but both have terms that clearly express the concept.
sehkzychic wrote:What is a firefighter? A fighter of fires.
They still do that, but mostly they're the people that come get you when you're too sick to get to the hospital yourself.
orthogon wrote:it seems obvious to me that if a concept has thinginess, that it must be possible to express it in any language given the infinite combinatorial properties of language.
That doesn't follow. Arithmetic allows saying an infinite number of things, but only things about numbers; there in no way to express the concept of "cheese".
Apart from anything else, even the languages that "have a word for it" must be able to re-express it in other terms; otherwise are we to believe that the dictionary writers simply throw up their hands when they get to that entry?
The "hypothesis" is that language significantly affects thought, not that the word is essential for the thought. There is a big difference between a concept being explainable in principle and being readily available to most speakers.

As you said, the act of sexual harassment came first, then a minority having a conception of it, then the term, then the term had it's effect by massively facilitating the spreading of the conception.
Copper Bezel wrote:Also notable would be the entirety of 1984, which was an exploration of the concept.
1984 is a caricature, as is much fiction using the concept. In 1984, the party claims eliminating the word "freedom" will eliminate the concept from a culture that already ubiquitously has the concept; something I think no serious linguist claims.
Last edited by Quizatzhaderac on Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:16 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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