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The science of setting goals

ideas.ted.com

How to make New Year’s resolutions that actually work out this time.

It’s the time of year when optimism strikes anew and we think to ourselves: our New Year’s resolutions will totally work out this time. Never mind that we abandoned them by Valentine’s Day last year. And the year before. And, well, you know the drill.

But what if this year really could be different?

There’s a science to setting goals. The problem is that it often stays in the ivory tower or gets muddled with misinformation. We called up Kelly McGonigal (TED Talk: How to make stress your friend), a psychologist at Stanford University, and asked her about the best way to set and accomplish a goal, scientifically speaking. Below, she shares four research-backed tips to help you craft and carry out successful goals.

Choose a goal that matters, not just an easy win.

Our brains are wired to love rewards, so…

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9 TED Talks to inspire smart conversation

should watch them

TED Blog

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No one really wants to talk about the weather. Inspired by TED Talks, here are some questions to start a better conversation in any situation.

“So, what’s your favorite word?”

Who to ask: The chatty person who’s sharing an outlet with you at the coffee shop
The basic idea: Dictionaries don’t compile themselves — linguistic sleuths called lexicographers do — and in order to keep the modern dictionary accurate and dynamic, they need be open to new words and formats. They also need your help.
Fun facts you’ll learn: How lexicography is like archaeology; why there’s no such thing as a “bad” word; and the definition of “erinaceous” (hint: it involves hedgehogs). Scoot to 3:58 for that.

“If you could choose a sixth sense, what would it be?”

When to ask: Around the dinner table, just before dessert
The basic idea: Human perception is limited to information our five senses are able…

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Why I taught myself 20 languages — and what I learned about myself in the process

mark

ideas.ted.com

During the past few years, I’ve been referred to in the media as “The World’s Youngest Hyperpolyglot” — a word that sounds like a rare illness. In a way it is: it describes someone who speaks a particularly large number of foreign languages, someone whose all-consuming passion for words and systems can lead them to spend many long hours alone with a grammar book.

But while it’s true that I can speak in 20 different languages, including English, it took me a while to understand that there’s more to language than bartering over kebabs in Arabic or ordering from a menu in Hindi. Fluency is another craft altogether.

I began my language education at age thirteen. I became interested in the Middle East and started studying Hebrew on my own. For reasons I still don’t quite understand, I was soon hooked on the Israeli funk group Hadag Nachash, and would…

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Tachistoscope

The following description is cited from http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Tachistoscope, which is helpful for me to clarify the question about what is Tachistoscope, whether it has been replaced by personal computer and why it is still in use in some fields.

A tachistoscope is a device that displays (usually by projecting) an image for a specific amount of time. It can be used to increase recognition speed, to show something too fast to be consciously recognized, or to test which elements of an image are memorable. Actual tachistoscopes use a slide or overhead projector equipped with the mechanical shutter shutter system typical of a camera. The slide is loaded, the shutter locked open, and focusing and aligment are adjusted, then the shutter is closed. When ready for the test, a shutter speed is selected, and the shutter is tripped normally.

The first tachistoscope was originally described by the German physiologist A.W. Volkmann in 1859. It was also used during WWII in the training of fighter pilots to help them identify aircraft silhouettes as friend or foe.

Before personal_computers became ubiquitous, tachistoscopes were used extensively in psychological research to present visual stimuli for controlled durations. Some experiments employed pairs of tachistoscopes so that an experimental participant could be given different stimulation in each visual field.

Tachistoscopes continue to be used in market research, where they are typically used to compare the visual impact, or memorability of marketing materials or packaging designs. Tachistscopes used for this purpose are typically still based around slide projectors rather than computer monitors, due to (1) the increased fidelity of the image which can be displayed in this way and (2) the opportunity to show large or life-size images.

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