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Lecture 6

PSYCH352 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Filial Piety, Cognitive Test, Flynn Effect


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH352
Professor
Igor Grossmann
Lecture
6

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Week 6: Language and Intelligence
The Bell Curve
- Intelligence is accurately measurable across racial, language, and
national boundaries
- Intelligence is largely heritable (40-80%)
- Intelligence is not changeable environmental factors are
negligible and educational programs have failed
Suggestions from Authors of Bell Curve
- Stop idiocracy US genetic IQ is declining due to intelligent people
having fewer children than less intelligent people
- Stop immigration from Latin America larger scale immigration to the US of those
with low IQ
- Eliminate welfare policies US government encourages the wrong women to get
babies
- Stop affirmative action back genes are just not as good for IQ
Language and Thought
Benjamin L. Whorf
- A chemist who changed the way we think about language
- Linguistic relativity
- Indo-European languages promoting essentialism
- Whorfian Hypothesis
o Strong version language determines thought
Without access to the right words, people cannot have certain
kinds of thoughts
Largely rejected
o Weak version language influences thought
Having access to certain words influences the kinds of thoughts
one has
Much controversy surrounding this claim in the past but there is
recent support
Language and Colour Perception
- Although colour exists along a continuum, colour terms are discrete
- While colour terms differ around the world, there are patterns to these colour
terms

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- Cultures do seem to carve up the colour spectrum differently with different
boundaries
- The question is if people don’t have a word for green, do they still see green the
same way?
Roberson, Davidoff, and Davies (2000)
- Studied English, Berinmo, and Himba speaking populations
o Berinmo hunter-gatherers in Papua, New Guinea
o Himba nomadic herders in Namibia
- Researchers gave participants a target colour chip, which differed in hue to 2
comparison colour chips
o One comparison colour chip crossed a colour boundary from the target
colour chip
o Another comparison colour chip did not
- People make more judgments consistent with categorical perception for stimuli
that cross the boundary between 2 colour labels in their own language,
compared with stimuli that cross a colour-label boundary in other languages
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Language and Spatial Perception
- Some languages have egocentric spatial terms (e.g., right, left, front)
- Others use cardinal directions (e.g., north, east)
- How does this affect people’s perception of spatial orientation?
- Representing space in absolute terms is common among most subsistence
societies in the world
- Chimpanzees also don’t represent space in egocentric ways
Study: Dutch and Guugu Ymithirr Speakers
- Participants were shown some objects in one room then asked to re-create the
scene in another room
o One condition they faced the same cardinal direction in the same room
North-facing room north-facing room
o Another condition they faced a different direction in the second room
North-facing room south-facing room
Original stimulus everyone facing
North
Dutch solution in south-facing room
Guugu Ymthirr solution in south-
facing room
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