There’s nothing more fascinating than the untapped mysteries of the human brain, how it works, and why it works how it does.  It’s true of psycholinguistics, the branch of study that examines how language and psychology influence and impact each other.

As Viorica Marian explained to the Scientific American, “As we go about our everyday lives, how our eyes move, what we look at and what we pay attention to are influenced in direct and measurable ways by the languages we speak”.

But, what does this actually mean in reality? Here’s a few examples, with some surprising and unexpected results.

How Does Language Interrelate with Psychology?

  • Monolingual First Syllable Correlation – A monolingual English speaker will look at a penguin when hearing the word pencil, because both words contain the same first syllable.
  • Bilingual Word Association Across Different Languages – Marian described how a bilingual English and Russian speaker will look at a stamp, besides a thick pen, when hearing the word marker, because marka is the Russian word for stamp.
  • Non-Verbal Visual Association – In a silent visual test where participants are asked to remember and identify objects, an English speaker will look at gel, even though they saw a gem, because the words sound similar.
  • Non-Verbal Visual Activation Across Different Languages – A bilingual English and Spanish speaker will look at a duck, if that’s what they think they saw. But in addition, Marian claimed that they might also scan their surroundings for a shovel, because pato means duck in Spanish and palo means shovel.


At La Academia, we’re intrigued by these psycholinguistic findings. But, rest assured, it’s our goal to take the science out of language learning. We make it as fun as accessible as possible for everybody. Get in touch and ask us about the language you’d like to experiment with. 

The Language You Speak Influences Where Your Attention Goes, Viorica Marian, Scientific American