新發現:你掌握的語言會改變你對時間的感知

2017/05/16

Time seems to pass faster or slower depending on the language you speak, new research has revealed, because of the way your native tongue speaks about time.
新的研究表明,時間流逝的快慢取決於你掌握的語言,取決於你的母語描述時間的方式。
A team from Stellenbosch University in South Africa and the University of Lancaster in the UK say their work also shows how bilingualism encourages the brain to think in new ways.
一個由南非斯泰倫博斯大學和英國蘭開斯特大學組成的研究團隊稱,他們的研究也揭示了雙語如何使大腦用新的方式思考。
In one experiment, a computer animation of a slowly growing line was shown to 40 Spanish speakers and 40 Swedish speakers. All the animations lasted 3 seconds, but the line didn't always grow to the same length.
在一項實驗中,研究者向40名西班牙語母語者和40名瑞典語母語者展示了一條逐漸變長的線的電腦動畫。所有動畫都持續3秒鐘,但每個動畫中線的長度不一。
The researchers expected that because Swedes talk about time in terms of distance, they would find it harder to accurately estimate how much time had passed—and they were right.
研究者預測,由於瑞典人習慣用物理距離來描述時間,所以他們會更難估計過了多長時間,實驗證明研究者的預測是對的。
Meanwhile the Spanish speakers, who refer to time in terms of volume (as in a "small" break rather than a "short" break), were much better at realising that the same 3 seconds had elapsed, no matter how far the line grew.
同時,西班牙母語者是以體積來描述時間(休息時間「小」而非「短」),所以不管動畫中的線多長,他們都能較準確地感知流逝的時間大概為3秒。
"The Swedish speakers tend to think that the line that grows longer in distance, takes longer," one of the researchers, linguist Emanuel Bylund from Stellenbosch University explained.
來自南非斯泰倫博斯大學的研究者,語言學家伊曼紐爾•拜蘭德解釋說,「瑞典語母語者認為線變得越長,所需時間就越多。」
"Spanish speakers aren't tricked by that. They seem to think that it doesn't matter how much the line grows in distance, it still takes the same time for it to grow."
「西班牙母語者不會受到線長短的迷惑。他們認為不管線變得有多長,所需的時間都是一樣的。」
In another experiment, participants were shown animations of a jug slowly being filled up: the length of the animation was fixed, but the jug filled up by different amounts.
另一項實驗中,研究者向參與者展示灌水壺的電腦動畫:動畫的長度為定量,但水壺盛水量不同。
Sure enough, this time it was the Spanish speakers who had more trouble estimating the passage of time.
果然,這次是西班牙母語者估計時間時遇到了困難。
Interestingly, when the spoken prompts in a particular language were taken away, the volunteers were much better at judging time, as if being asked out loud how much time had passed triggered something in the brain.
有趣的是,撤走影響某一語種參與者估計時間的道具后,那些受參與者能更準確地估計時間,就好像被大聲問到過了多久時間激發了大腦中的某種東西似的。
To gain more insight into what was happening, 74 bilingual speakers of both Spanish and Swedish were also recruited, and shown similar animations.
為了更深入地研究到底是怎麼回事,研究者召募了74名西班牙語和瑞典語雙語志願者進行實驗,向他們展示類似的動畫。
The end results were the same: when instructed in Swedish, the volunteers were more easily fooled by the line animations, and when instructed in Spanish, it was the jug animations that interfered with their perceptions of time.
最後得到了相同的結果:用瑞典語發出指令時,志願者們更易被線的動畫騙到,用西班牙語發出指令時,水壺的動畫就會擾亂他們對時間的感知。

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