Culture-Specific Things We Do That We Assume Are Universal

The Cracked Podcast #133 July 18, 2016

There are parts of our daily lives that we just take for granted as being normal, but science proves us wrong. One of the best ways to look at this is language. We’ve previously discussed on the podcast how languages with future tenses (like English) make us really bad at planning for the future. We just think the future is some imaginary place that we’ll always to go later. That’s why we’re great at fun things like procrastinating, drinking and smoking. 

Chinese, on the other hand, doesn’t have tenses at all, so native speakers find themselves naturally better at planning for the time ahead. For Chinese speakers, the future isn’t some magical fairy island that will always come tomorrow–the structure of the language just makes the consequences of life more immediate in their brains.

These little cultural differences literally affect how we perceive the world. In languages with more words for the color green, for example, speakers can actually see more shades of green than us. What is a superpower to us is completely mundane to them because they’ve just had that language and ability their whole life.

On this week’s podcast Jack O’Brien is joined by Cracked executive editor Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) to outline some of the scientific ways our brains trick us with this phenomenon– how our sense perception, something we assume is uniform across all humanity, actually changes depending on what culture we’re brought up in.


Donald Trump/Bernie Sanders “Yuuuge” Forum Thread:

Blue Square/Green Square Experiment:

Cracked: Unexplained Things That Only Happen In A Few Places On Earth:

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Cracked: 6 Mental Illnesses That Only Happen in One Place on Earth:

Cracked: 5 Insane Ways Words Can Control Your Mind:

Cracked: 5 Surprising Ways Your Language Affects How You Think:

Cracked: I Don’t Know My Age: 5 Things I Learned in My Isolated Tribe:

Cracked: 6 Isolated Groups Who Had No Idea That Civilization Existed:

Invisibilia: McDonald’s in Russia:

99% Invisible: Devil’s Rope:

The McGurk Effect:

The Atlantic: Can Your Language Influence Your Spending, Eating and Smoking Habits:

Schoolboy Q’s Blankface LP on Spotify:

This episode is sponsored by Comic Con HQ, Magoosh, Spotify, and Loot Crate.

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