Hi everyone. Welcome to our week 4 Office Hours. I'm here with Dr. Arturo Hernandez, and we're going to start taking the questions from forms and we'll see whether we can get your opinion on them. Okay? So the first question is about learning grammar in a first and second language. So, do you believe that people who learn a second language later in life may actually be better in the grammar of that language because they learn it explicitly? >> Yeah, that's interesting. People will say things like that. So when I was in Brazil I remember people would tell me things, like I knew Brazilian, or portuguese grammar better than they did. >> Mm-hm. >> They would say I knew portuguese better than they did, but that, I don't think that was true. But yes, I mean, I think that falls in this in CALP, BICS distinction. Right so CALP is this idea of academic language and BICS is the intercommunication skills, or basic intercommunication skills. And so when you learn a second language explicitly, later in life, that's taking advantage of academic language. So you learn it in an academic kind of, what I would call a cognitive way. So you have more explicit knowledge of it, and so you may know it better or be able to talk about the grammar better. When you learn it younger, you can still be very correct but you may have a more intuitive sense, or more of a ability to actually speak the grammar. But not necessarily know why you speak it in a certain way. It just sounds right and you'll hear, hear people say that. You know, I, why, why is it, you know, that, this versus that? I said, I don't know. It just sounds right. So that's how I say it. I don't think about what the rules are. >> Mm-hm. >> So I would think that yes, if you learn it later in life, then you're going to learn it more explicitly and you may actually know rules. Of course, the tricky part is you know, so for example take you know, the, the feminine masculine gender in Spanish. [FOREIGN] That's very straight forward but once you get into the exception words [FOREIGN] all the greek ones or [FOREIGN]. Right, then people would say technically if they knew the rule, they would say [FOREIGN] or [FOREIGN], but that's incorrect. And you'll hear later learners of Spanish say like [FOREIGN], but it's not [FOREIGN] or [FOREIGN], but it's el. You know, and well [FOREIGN] correct sorry. I messed myself up, see? [LAUGH] There goes the biggest part, the basic intercommuca, communication skills. But in any case, you'll hear people say things like [FOREIGN], and that's incorrect. And so it's following a rule that the problem with language is that there are always these soft spots, always these little exceptions, these little neighborhoods that don't quite operate the way they should. Another example of that is the in the irregular past tense in English. Which in American English is disappearing. Still preserved much more in British English or in England than it is in the US. And so you'll see, this start to disappear because it's be, been regularized. >> Mm-hm. >> Essentially you're having more and more regularization of the irregular and people, don't use it anymore, so one example I like to use is things like they say the lighted courts. The lighted you know, and I said, why isn't it the lit courts? And I guess my feeling is that maybe you know, if you think of like the lit tennis courts, you think that somebody took a lighter right, and put them on fire right? That they're lit as opposed to lighted, though why do they lighted versus lit? You know, you could say either one and there's probably somebody out there who knows grammar really well in English and could tell me exactly why they say one versus the other but you could say the courts are lit, so why not say the lit courts? Why do they say the lighted courts? Or the lighted signs? They could be lit and I think that's a place where English is starting to American English is starting to lose that irregular because it's complicated, so why not just regularize everything. And I, I think partly it's just because certain things just sound right. And so you learn them as irregulars. But if you learn them in a more programmatic way then then you learn them as rules. And do you think that maybe learning about a second language grammar would help you with your first language? >> Yeah. That's interesting, isn't it? So, so would you, thinking about another language start to make you think about your native language in a different way? And, and so I, I think that that's true. I mean, I can certainly say personally, that learning German which I think is the hardest thing that I've ever had to do, in terms of the language domain, ever. And I have heard lots of sympathetic remarks from other people who've tried to do it as well, that it's not easy to do. And actually from other people who say it's really easy to do because it's so much like English. And I said really, I don't really think it's like English. But at some point, I realized that you know German and English they're kind of like super dialects of each other in some ways. And so there are these funny things that are similar. And, if you just kind of tweak them a little bit. Then you, then you, it's sort of like mangled English or mangled German that you get as you come into each language. So, you start to see that there are these patterns that exist that are, that are interesting. That they're, that they're very subtle types of patterns. So, yeah, if you start to really study a language and think about it, then you begin to reflect differently on your native language. >> Mm-hm. And kind of related to that, would then learning a second language and understanding kind of the metacognitive aspect of learning a language, would that then help you learn a third language? There is evidence that that's true. We have some evidence at our lab that shows that people can learn words in a third, seemingly unrelated language. In fact there's, there's data on that from other labs, not just ours that suggests that that's true. But we could really take the most extreme example. Which is Michael Erard came to visit. He's the author of this book Babel No More, which is about hyperpolyglots, about people who learn eleven or more languages,. And he asked me the question, you know, what would it look like? What would the brain of someone who speaks 11 or more languages, or can speak? I don't know if they speak 11 or more all the time, but they can speak 11 or more, what would their brain look like? What would language be like for them? And I, what I responded to him was probably what happens is, you develop some kind of super structure. It's almost as if you're above language itself, and what you see are kind of families of language and you have these tweaks, you know, Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, even French, are kind of like, this little sets of dialects, if you will, they are just kind of tweaked amongst themselves. And then you might go to, you know, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese, and Vietnamese is being tweaks of themselves, if you have this super structure. And so you see these families of languages, and so to speak, you know, language number eight verses languages number three, you're just tweaking this whole system in one direction, right? And so they're existing at, as if it were above the languages because they speak so many. So, they become really, really metacognitive. A lot of them are applied linguists. [LAUGH] Not surprising. >> Right. [LAUGH] >> And interestingly, a lot of them have really good intuition for language. So, they have a really good feel for it. And at t the same time they can talk about it analytically. So, they can kind go back and forth. They can kind of get absorbed by the language, speak it. And then they can step outside of it. So it's very interesting that, I mean obviously they're quite talented in language, that's why they speak 11 or more, but, it's, it's a different way of processing. So I think, if we look at it at that extreme then you understand how knowing so many would help you learn another one. >> Right. >> So if they had to learn language, you know they speak 11 and they have to learn langauge number 12, then they basically take whatever they have in their toolbox and they say okay, let me take a little pieces of this, a little piece of that, a little piece of this language and I'll just tweak it. And then I can speak that one. >> Mm-hm. >> And if we took it more restricted and we say, okay, let's say somebody speaks Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish, French and now they have to learn Italian. Well, they basically take all of these combinations of things and say, okay, I'll just kind of [SOUND] pop it that way and now I've got Italian, right? It might not be perfect, but it's pretty good. And that's because I've taken all these other pieces and just recombined them into that particular language. So that's another way to think about it. >> All right. So let's move on to talking about expertise in face processing. >> Okay. >> All right. So this was actually my question for the forum. And we actually had a few people who work with autistic children and we were interested in whether autistic people may process faces differently. >> And the answer, the short answer is, I don't have a lot of information on that, but I can tell you the little that I do know is that they do in fact process faces differently. Specifically where they pay attention to the face, and so emotion, looking at the eyes and this area right around here which usually expresses most of the emotion. Autistic individuals will look at those areas less than non-autistic individuals. So and, and the ability to track the effect, it turns out that when you look at normal face processing and the ability to detect emotion. One of the things that gives a way what you're feeling or what somebody is feel, anybody is feeling is the asymmetry. So the fact that the face is not perfectly expressing the same or it doesn't have exactly the same configuration, right? You might like lift a brow just like you did right now, right? So you lift a brow but you only lift one. I'm trying to do this artificially so I'm not so good at doing this. [LAUGH] You know on my own. You lift a brow and that means something because this brow is different than this brow so that's expressing something right. So we do this all the time and it turns out that those asymmetries give away what we're feeling and that in fact dogs are really good at detecting. So that's why dogs can read minds, they're not reading minds they're actually reading faces. And dogs are, actually, from what I know, better at doing that with humans than they are with other dogs. So they're actually better at reading human emotions than dog emotions. So that's why they're such good companions for humans is because they can see that asymmetry. Humans can too. And it's interesting because there's only one individual I know a colleague of mine who when I see him, he's able to maintain this sort of blank stare where there's no asymmetry in his face. And it's very hard, it's kind of disturbing. I know this now consciously, I've told him this. I said you're the only one that I know that can do that. Not all the time but if you are ever talking to him about something serious, he really suspends judgement. And it's like you're talking to a wall, and he's not showing any asymmetry he was a former administrator. So >> [LAUGH]. >> Maybe that's what you had to do was learn have they sort of blank look so nobody feels like you're judging them. >> Hm. >> Favouring them or not favouring them. But again, right, it's the asymmetry that gives information and this area that gives, gives information. >> Mm-hm. Maybe you should go play poker in Las Vegas. [CROSSTALK]. >> Yeah, yeah. >> Be great at that. >> You know, maybe being an administrator is kind of like playing poker, you know? [LAUGH]. >> Whose going to fold first? >> That's right. [LAUGH]. >> [LAUGH] So looking at the question has to do with personality and expertise. Can anybody become an expert or are there personality traits that are more conducive to someone taking 10,000 hours to become an expert, like resilience, competitiveness? >> I mean, it's interesting that, so that there's been a lot of debate about this expertise finding. More and more people are aguing that, you know, first of all how do we count the 10,000 hours? What counts as an hour? What doesn't count as an hour? That's one question that's been asked. Do some people reach those hours more quickly than others? Is another question that's been asked. But one of the interesting things about that literature is that if you look at what people who become experts most enjoy. It's not that they don't enjoy competition. I mean, obviously they do. But the highest on their list is actually practicing by themselves. And, and maybe that's musicians but I think you know, you'll see plenty of athletes who maybe they, you know, if it's a certain sport they can't really practice by themselves but, but if they could they might be, you might have a wide receiver who's out there taking catches by himself with the quarterback throwing balls. >> Mm-hm. >> Nobody around, just running routes. You'll hear things like that. Or quarterbacks just throwing balls. Jason Kidd, a really good basketball player, he used to throw passed to himself off the wall for hours and hours and hours. We was an incredible passer because he learned to bounce the ball, he learned how the ball bounced. So he could pass between three defenders and get the ball right where he wanted, and people didn't know how he did it. He spent hours by himself, literally on the wall, throwing basketballs and seeing how they bounced. So, I think there is that aspect of how much do you just enjoy this activity, and I think that's underrated. So I think that would be one aspect that, that as sort of hidden in there, as you know. If you're willing to spend ours doing something. If you really enjoy it, just enjoy it. I mean, forget if you're good or not. I mean, that's always an issue. But if you enjoy it that much and you've spent that many hours and you're willing to do it on your own and nobody's paying you. Really, I mean, they maybe, you may get money for doing that, but the enjoyment comes first. Then the money comes, right? And the money may not come. But you may really enjoy it. I think there's a tailor in, in New York who, who I think it was on 60 minutes, who makes these really expensive suits. And he says he doesn't make that much money. You know, I mean he has enough to live, he's not dying. But he makes these really expensive suits. He makes them by hand. And they're perfect. And you can tell he loves doing it. He wouldn't do anything else. >> Mm-hm. >> He's not rich, I mean he has enough to live off of but not rich. But you can tell, he just really likes making them and they say they're really, really, really nice suits. So obviously he, the money matters. But it's really the, the sheer act of doing this on their own. And, and I think another thing we could talk about, and it's tricky to talk about, being in the zone. People use all kinds of words unconscious whatever, but somehow they just, they begin to sort of have almost this altered state of consciousness when they're- >> Mm-hm. >> Doing this activity. >> It seems like it's almost a, kind of an obvious thing, of course you love it, you have to love it in order to spend so much time doing it. And yet the research hasn't really gone there, I guess. >> Not really. I mean they don't, that's one of those, it's very, I mean it's the cognitive research. So they try to break it down into numbers, like, you know, how many hours, and how long, and deliberate practice, and all those types of things. And so I think there's a strend in science to kind of dehumanize a process. and, of course, when you start talking about motivation, or interest, or all of these types of things, well, how do you measure that? How do you measure somebody's interest? To, to me what really popped out was the fact that people find it most pleasurable to practice alone. That's what they most enjoy and, and that's, that's interesting. There's no audience, there's no stakes, there's nothing. There's just whatever that person and that activity, and then ultimately obviously they have to put that to use and that's when it can tricky. Right. Are there other people there when there's pressure, and that's a whole other aspect of things but, to become really good at something, there are all those hours and ultimately to spend all those hours it has to be pleasurable. >> Right. >> Or something has to force you to do it. [LAUGH] And that happens too, to people. >> Yeah, unfortunately. >> Unfortunately. >> Well, that's all the time we have for today, so I'd like to thank you for coming here and taking these questions and to you guys at home, please continue with the discussions in the forums. We do look through them and that's where we pull our questions from. So thank you for joining us and we'll see you next week.