Stephen Fry Hates Dancing turns a monologue on the myriad ways in which the British comedian and actor hates rhythmic human movement into a strange celebration of the art through a spirited interpretive-dance reenactment/rebuttal. Directed, choreographed and performed by the US dancer and filmmaker Jo Roy, the result is a delightfully charged piece of performance art that’s utterly engaging, whichever side of the dance divide you tap your feet.
The University of Chicago psychologist Susan Goldin-Meadow has spent much of her career trying to grasp (yes, pun intended) what’s happening when people talk with their hands. As Goldin-Meadow defines it, “co-speech gesture” is different from action, like grabbing a cup of coffee or combing your hair, and it’s different from movement for movement’s sake, like in dance, ritual, or exercise. The gestures that hearing people make are also quite different from sign language; in signing, Goldin-Meadow says, there are distinct units of expression, and signs only relate to other signs. But with gesture, hand movements blur together, and they only really make sense relative to what someone’s saying. “Gesticulation isn’t divorced from speech. It’s completely tied to your speech,” Goldin-Meadow tells Science of Us. “It’s part of your cognition. It’s not just mindless hand-waving.” Researchers haven’t yet pinned down exactly how this connection works, but Goldin-Meadow believes part of it is that gestures reduce what psychologists call “cognitive load,” or the amount of mental energy you’re expending to keep things in your working memory.
All those times I've said that I'm thinking with my hands turn out to be true.
A study published in the International Journal of Business Administration in May, 2016, found that what students read in college directly effects the level of writing they achieve. In fact, researchers found that reading content and frequency may exert more significant impacts on students’ writing ability than writing instruction and writing frequency. Students who read academic journals, literary fiction, or general nonfiction wrote with greater syntactic sophistication (more complex sentences) than those who read genre fiction (mysteries, fantasy, or science fiction) or exclusively web-based aggregators like Reddit, Tumblr, and BuzzFeed. The highest scores went to those who read academic journals; the lowest scores went to those who relied solely on web-based content.
Ingenious researchers have found that sometimes decision-making in a foreign language is actually better. Researchers at the University of Chicago gave subjects a test with certain traps—easy-looking “right” answers that turned out to be wrong. Those taking it in a second language were more likely to avoid the trap and choose the right answer. Fluid thinking, in other words, has its down-side, and deliberateness an advantage. And one of the same researchers found that even in moral decision-making—such as whether it would be acceptable to kill someone with your own hands to save a larger number of lives—people thought in a more utilitarian, less emotional way when tested in a foreign language. An American working in Denmark says he insisted on having salary negotiations in Danish—asking for more in English was excruciating to him.