Why is responding quickly important in conversation?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we spent a lot of time video calling each other, using apps like Zoom, Skype, and Teams. If your experience was anything like mine, you probably also thought that these interactions felt less satisfying than the real life equivalent. Connection issues meant that people would often freeze or disappear, their speech would sound odd, and you often wouldn’t know when to take your turn to speak. In fact, these connection issues would mean that there were regularly long gaps between the end of one person’s sentence and the beginning of the next person’s. These gaps would leave you wondering if the other person had heard you, most likely prompting you to say something like “Hello? Are you there?”.

Sleep talking: what happens in your brain?

Humans spend the majority of their time communicating: speaking and listening make up to 60% of our day. But did you know that about 66% of people experience talking in their sleep as well? Sleep talking is defined as the production of speech (words and sentences) or vocalisations (mumbles, whispers, and laughs) during sleep. However, if you tell someone that they were sleep talking, they will likely not remember it! In fact, when someone talks during their sleep, they are not really aware of it.

Language abilities after stroke: patient research

About 25–40% of people who suffer a stroke have difficulties with one or more aspects of communication—e.g., speaking, understanding, writing, or reading. This is what is called aphasia. About 80% of aphasia cases result from stroke. Aphasia mostly occurs after a stroke on the left side of the brain, where language is mostly located. However, even when critical areas have irreversible damage, patients recover some or even all of their language and communication abilities. How could research help these patients to improve their communication abilities?

Do bilinguals switch between personalities when they switch languages?

When people start learning and using a new language, some of them notice that they come across differently, almost as if they have a different personality. Could this be because they lack finesse in the new language? Or does the language we speak really shape our personality? A person’s personality is usually seen as a set of qualities and behaviors that are stable over time and across different situations. This is why it may be counterintuitive to think that it could change when speaking a different language.