30 grunts and sounds that may have been the first language

Linguists discover 30 sounds that may have allowed communication before words existed.

Credit: Alexander Krivitskiy / mana5280/ Unsplash /Big Think
  • What did the first person who wanted to speak say?
  • New research suggests that there are lots of sounds that everyone understands.
  • These sounds may have allowed the first exchanges that gave birth to language.
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How Atlantic City inspired the Monopoly board

The popular game has a backstory rife with segregation, inequality, intellectual theft, and outlandish political theories.

Credit: Davis DeBard, with kind permission.
  • The streets on a classic Monopoly board were lifted from Atlantic City.
  • Here's what it looks like if we transport those places back onto a map.
  • Monopoly started out as its opposite: a game explaining the evil of monopolies.
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How your brain bonds with fictional characters

Scans show similar activity to what occurs when you think about yourself.

Credit: Aneta Pawlik/Unsplash
  • Researchers explored the brain activity that accompanies our often-close association with fictional characters.
  • The same brain region that's active when we think about ourselves seems to be involved.
  • When we like a fictional character, the research suggests, we see ourselves in them.
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    It’s hard to scare people without a visual imagination

    Next time you listen to scary campfire stories, sit with a friend who has aphantasia.

    Credit: mimadeo/Adobe Stock
  • People who can't picture things in their minds have aphantasia.
  • If you're incapable of imagining something scary that's being described, why get frightened?
  • However, scary pictures bother people with aphantasia just as much as they bother everyone else.
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    Inspirational quotes from famous people on the autism spectrum

    Words of wisdom from H.P. Lovecraft, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Dr. Temple Grandin, Hannah Gadsby and more.

    Credit: World Travel & Tourism Council /gdcgraphics on Flickr / Big Think
    • Autism (commonly referred to as ASD, autism spectrum disorder) refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.
    • The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms can be very different in each person. Additionally, these things can also change over time. This is why it's considered a spectrum.
    • Many people with ASD gift the world with inventions or new ways of thinking. Judy Singer, for example, is the woman who coined the term "neurodiversity" in the 1990s.
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