August 26, 2014

4:53 PM | Ask Anything: Why Is Picking Up A New Language Easier As A Kid?
When learning languages, the earlier the better. Illustration by Jason Schneider In 1967, neuroscientist Eric Lenneberg laid out his argument for a “critical period” in language acquisition: Beyond a certain age, he said, and without the normal stimulation, a person could never really develop a natural way of speaking. Then he added, almost as a throwaway: The same applies to second languages. If you don’t start learning them during your youth, he suggested, you’ll […]

August 22, 2014

7:17 PM | Ask Anything: Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Brain Damage?
Woodpeckers have one heck of a cranium Illustration by Jason Schneider One day in 1976, psychiatrist Philip May asked his colleague at the University of California, Los Angeles a peculiar question: “Why don’t woodpeckers have headaches?” May specialized in treating schizophrenia, but proposed a radical shift: How, he wanted to know, might an animal that repeatedly slams its head into a tree trunk at 16mph keep from getting brain damage? May started his research with a pair […]
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