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The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and inference under uncertainty.

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The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis holds that human thought is shaped by language, leading speakers of different languages to think differently. This hypothesis has sparked both enthusiasm and controversy, but despite its prominence it has only occasionally been addressed in computational terms. Recent developments support a view of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in terms of probabilistic inference. This view may resolve some of the controversy surrounding the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and may help to normalize the hypothesis by linking it to established principles that also explain other phenomena. On this view, effects of language on nonlinguistic cognition or perception reflect standard principles of inference under uncertainty. WIREs Cogn Sci 2017, 8:e1440. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1440 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.

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