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Foreign language easier to learn than tech-speak for most

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 16:49

London: For most adults, learning foreign languages is easier than understanding the latest tech jargon or technobabble, according to a new study.

Women are better at deciphering technobabble than men, who consistently struggle to grasp the meaning of the terminology, the study found.

Researchers found phrases such as 'reboot' (restart digital device), 'megabyte' (unit of digital memory) and 'ISP' (internet service provider) were much more confusing than words such as 'boulangerie' (bakery in French), 'kalinichta' (goodnight in Greek) and 'ostrovia' (cheers in Russian).

In a study involving 16 participants, scientists from Mindlab monitored their reaction to different phrases by measuring sweat levels and the brain's electrical activity.

When challenged with tech terminology, the results showed participants experienced greater confusion and stress than when confronted with a foreign language, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

Overall, the participants found being spoken to in tech jargon 42 percent more stressful than hearing a foreign language.

In some cases, men scored double the levels of frustration as women when challenged with jargon, with their negative emotion with terms like 'vlogging' (video-blogging), 'plug-in' (software components) and 'OS' (operating system) measuring 138 percent more acute than females.

In addition, men's sweat levels were up 80 percent when compared to the opposite sex when being tested on tech jargon.

"Trying to understand a language you are not familiar with can be extremely frustrating for anyone," neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis said.

"Most of us have been in a situation where we've found reading an instruction booklet for a new gadget as difficult as understanding a foreign language," Lewis said.

"The feeling of confusion causes our stress levels to rise steeply. When we don't understand something, we can become frustrated and emotional, explaining the increases in mental and physical arousal seen in our study," Lewis added.


First Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 16:49
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