Tag: emotions

The Psychology Of Roller Coasters Thrills

Where else in the world can you scream at the top of your lungs and throw your arms in the air?” Frank Farley asks.

If you did that in most other places, they’d take you to your parents and probably put you through a psychological evaluation.” Farley is a psychologist at Temple University in Philadelphia.

The freedom to act wildly is one reason why millions of people flock to amusement parks every year.

Roller coasters are a major part of this attraction, and the people who run the parks keep looking for ways to make coasters taller, faster, and scarier.




The new Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, for example, rises 420 feet into the air and travels at speeds up to 120 miles per hour.

It’s the tallest and fastest coaster in the world. And there’s no shortage of people willing and eager to ride it.

Coaster appeal

For many people, there’s only one good reason to go to an amusement park: the roller coaster. Other people, however, would rather hide behind the closest candy stand than go near a coaster.

What separates these two types of people—those who seek thrills and those who prefer the quiet life?

Roller coasters often appeal to kids whose lives are stressful, structured, or controlled, Farley says.

“The summers of yore where kids could be kids and float down a river in an inner tube are over,” he says. “Roller coasters are a way of breaking out of the humdrum and expectations of everyday life. You can let it all go and scream and shout or do whatever you want.”

Attendance at amusement parks shows that many adults feel the same way.

Compared with skateboarding, extreme mountain biking, and other adventure sports, riding roller coasters is safe. Parents usually don’t mind when kids go on coasters.

Roller coasters also have a way of bringing people together. Riders share the thrill and adventure of surviving what feels like an extreme experience.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Bad Language: Why Being Bilingual Makes Swearing Easier

Many bilinguals report “feeling less” in their second language; it does not bear the same emotional weight as your native language.

Feeling less emotionally connected to your second language might make it easier to use highly emotional vocabulary, which is precisely what I was experiencing with my ease of swearing and talking about sensitive topics in English.

The scientific term for this is reduced emotional resonance of language. It is a fairly well-established phenomenon, but many specific questions still remain unanswered.

For example, what exactly makes one’s second language less emotional? How does this affect different immigrant communities?

This research project aims to address these questions by looking into the reasons and implications of reduced emotional resonance in bilinguals’ second language.




It is still unclear what exactly shapes emotional resonance of a language and in what way – results thus far have been inconclusive.

In the first part of my project, we are exploring which factors in a person’s language background contribute to reduced emotional resonance.

For example, is it influenced by the age at which you have learnt your second language? Does it matter how frequently and in which context you use the language?

Or is your emotional experience of a language predictable from whether you dream or can do maths in it?

To investigate these questions, my project uses eye-tracker technology in order to measure bilinguals’ pupil responses to emotional words in English.

Typically, when shown highly emotional words or pictures, people’s pupils dilate as a non-controllable, emotional reaction.

Previous research has shown the effect is smaller in bilinguals’ second language, which suggests reduced emotional resonance.

Understanding the reasons for why this happens can, in turn, help us explain how you experience a foreign language community, and how this could be taken into account in acculturation and adaptation.

However, not all the implications of reduced emotional resonance are negative – bilinguals can actually benefit from being able to approach things in a less emotionally involved way.

For example, bilinguals have been shown to be able to make more rational decisions in their second language.

Also, switching languages can be used as a tool in therapy when working through emotionally difficult or traumatising experiences.

Imagine how it would be if it were easier to talk about your emotions with your partner – maybe bilingual couples have a communicative advantage?

Ultimately, understanding the full scale of implications of reduced emotional resonance is a way to understand how bilinguals experience the world.

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Pass it on: Popular Science