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Lecture 15

PSYCH 211: Lecture 15 Notes

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Mathieu Le Corre

Objects Naive psychology Animate/inanimate Language 2: Children learn from their parents -we basically learn by imitation (parents help us); similar to how we learn dancing (requires a teacher) 3: children are designed to learn language -we have some knowledge of language that doesn’t require experience (and it is specific to language) -babies are born basically with knowledge of what kinds of sound changes make different words (piece of language learning accomplished by a mechanism that’s not specifically designed for acquiring language) -words typically don’t have 2 meanings -domain specific = knowledge is useful ONLY for specific domains (ex. learning language) -babies are keeping track of how X follows Y -case of domain general learning (can be applied to a lot of other different things) -there’s stuff that’s innate is useful for learning language (nothing else) 4: Key differences between views -learning view: no knowledge of language without experience -using very general learning mechanisms to do it -learning from experience is key to survival (not just humans that do this) -if this view is right, other animals should be able to learn syntax too -nativist view: pieces of knowledge useful ONLY for learning language -only humans would know syntax -12-13 – language learning is more difficult (syntax and phonology) -animals, is experience necessary? -a point when language learning becomes much weaker Is syntax uniquely human? Apes can learn words, but are really bad at conducting and learning compared to children 7: Is there a mental device that is dedicated to learning language and nothing else? Ex. for birds to learn a song: -critical period – 7-16 days 9: is there a critical period for language acquisition? -isabelle: isolated until age 6 -normal language by age 7 -genie: isolated until age 13 -language remained simple -chelsea: “retarded” -at 31, hearing resorted and intensive language training, but never went beyond rudimentary 2 word sentences *Isabelle DID manage to learn language normally, despite the trauma; she’s the only one that had language exposure before puberty 11: Is there a critical period for children who develop in a caring environment? -age of first exposure to sign language varied -made sure all kids had similar non-verbal IQ; in terms of general cognitive functioning, not different 12: The later the exposure to ASL, the worse the knowledge of the language -the later people were exposed to language, the worse they do at recognizing something wrong about the sentence -adding multi-digit numbers; all the people are the said The “impairment” is specific to language; it doesn’t affect other general processing abilities 13: Johnson & Newport -she tested these people after they had been in the US for 5 years; had the same language exposure duration (is 5 years exposure at age 5 different from age 20? YES) -RESULTS: the later the learning, the worse the language -there is something in the head that is meant to learn syntax -cognitively, older people are more experienced than younger, but in terms of language, 5 year olds master English way better than older people 14: the later the learning, the worse the language
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