Chapter 10 textbook notes
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Psychology Chapter 10: Language
On conclusion that has emerged from primate studies is that true verbal ability is a social behaviour.
Psycholinguistics- A branch of psychology devoted to the study of verbal behaviour . More concerned
with human cognition. ( interested in how children acquire language: how verbal behaviour develops and
how kids learn to speak based on their interactions w adults/same w studying on how adults use language
Speech does not come to us as a series of individual words; we must extract the words from a stream of
The auditory system during speech recognizes the patterns underlying speech rather than just the sounds
When it comes to analyzing detailed info of speech, the Left Hemisphere plays a larger role
The analysis of speech begins with its elements, or Phonemes: smallest units of sound that allow us to
distinguish the meaning of a spoken word. Ex: Pin- P+/i+/n
Voice- onset time- the delay b/w the initial sound of a consonant and the onset of the vibration of the
Phenomic discriminations begin w auditory processing of the sensory diff, and this occurs in both
Ganong- found that the perception of a phoneme is affected by the sounds that follow it. (Gift, Kift, they
chose G when it was followed by –ift, and K when followed by –iss). This suggests that we recognize
speech spunds in pieces larger than indi. Phonemes
Phonemes are combined to form Morphemes(ex: Fastest contains two morphemes: fast/est/)- which are
the smallest units of meaning in language. The syntax of a particular language determines how phonemes
can be combined to form morphemes.
Phonemes combine to form morphemes, which are the smallest units of meaning in language. The syntax
of a particular language determines how phonemes can be combined to form morphemes. Ex: FASTEST,
made up of FAST which is a FREE morpheme (cuz it stands on its own and still has MEANING) and IST
which is a BOUND morpheme (can't stand on its own, has to be attached to other morphemes to provide
We are able to recognize the sounds in speech because of the CONTEXT. Context affects the perception
of words through top-down processing.
All languages have a syntax, or grammar. They follow certain principles, which linguistics call
Syntactical rules, for combing words to form phrases, clauses or sentences. Syntax prvides imp. info. Our
understanding of syntax is automatic. FMRI studies showed that as syntax becomes more
difficult/complex, our brains become more active.
Synactical cues help us understand what others are saying. These S. Cues are signalled by: word order,
function and content words, affixes, word meanings, and prosody.
Word order(basically order of words - boy hit the ball, diff. than the ball hit the boy)
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Does noty play the same role in all languages however.
Word Class-grammatical categories (noun, pronouns, verbs, and adjectives). Words can also be classified
as either FUNCTION or CONTENT words.
Function words ex: (a, then, to, some, but etc.) they convey little meaning of a sentence, but very imp in
specifying gram. structure. Content words: ex(nouns, verbs, adjectives like apple, rug, book, mysterious,
angry). These express meaning whereas function words express the relations b/w content words.
Affixes- sounds that we add to the beginning or ends of words tat alter their grammatical function.(-ing.-
Semantics- word meanings, (like bear, and bear) help us understnad the syntax of a sentence
Prosody- use of stress, rhythm, and changes n pitch that accompany speech. Imp in communicating
emotion Extremely imp in the language comprehension, cuz so much of our comm relies on the spoken
Noam Chomsky: a noted linguist, said that newly formed sentences are represented in the brain in terms
of their meaning, which he called Deep structure. This is the point/meaning of the sentence. In order to
say the sentence, the brain must transform the deep structure into surface structure: the particular form
the sentence takes.
Knowledge about the world is organized into scripts; which specify various kinds of events and
interactions that ppl have learned/witnessed.
The neural mechanisms that control speech production appear to be located in the frontal lobes. Damage
to a region of motor association cortex in the left frontal lobe (Broca's Area) disrupts the ability to speak:
it causes Broca's Aphasia, a language disorder characterized by slow, laborous, non-fluent speech.
Wernickr suggested that Broca's area contains motor memories- memories of the sequences of muscle
movements that are needed to articulate words. Damage to Broca's area produces aggrammatism: loss of
ability to produce or comprehend speech that employs complex synactical rules (ppl w Broca's aphasia
have trouble using function words like in,, orgram. markers like -ed, -ing).
Dronkers and Collegues used neuroimaging and lesion analysis to show that middle temporal regions
outside the Broca's area are imp for the comprehension of words and other areas of the brain are imp for
the comprehension of sentences.
Recognition is the first step in comprehending a speech. Wernicke's Area: a region of the auditory
association cortex located in the upper part of the left temporal lobe; involved in the recognition of
spoken word. (WERNICKE believed that this area of the brain named after him, is the location of
memories of the sequence of sounds that constitute words). Abilities disrupted in Wernicke’s aphasia are
disrupted recognition of words, and the ability to convert thoughts into words.
Wernicke's aphasia: disorder caused by the damage to the left temporal and parietal cortex, including
wernicke's area: characterized by decitis in perception of speech. their speech is fluent, and unstrained,
grammatical, but they use many functions words and not enough content words so it can create rather
meaningless speech). This disorder (W.A) has been characterized as a receptive aphasia.
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The sounds of words, in someone w no damage to their brain, are reocgnized by neural cirucuits in
Werncike’s area, and then that info is transmitted to Broca’s area so words can be repeated. A bundle of
axons connects these two regions.
Brain damage specifically to the Wernicke’s area produces: Pure Word Deafness which is the ability to
hear, speak, and usually write w/o being able to comprehend the meaning of speech, caused by bi-lateral
temporal lobe damage. Ppl w P.W.D can recognize emotion in the speakers, regog. Barkning and toehr
sounds, and themselves have excellent speech. They just cant comprehend others speech, which is usually
why they use lip reading or get others to write to them, in order to understand what they mean.
In the brain there are two types of entry: auditory and visual. That means in recognizing and
comprehending the meaning of words you can look it up in our heads through the way the word looks or
First you recognize the word, then memories that constitute the meaning of the word must be activated.
Meaning is a combo of syntax, and semantics. Speech comprehension involves more than just
understanding syntax, and semantics; it also requires knowledge of the world.
WERNICKES AREA is necessary for SPEECH PERCEPTION and BROCA’S AREA is resp. for its
Scanning a text: We perceive things during the brief fixations that occur b/w saccades. During Fixation,
the eyes don’t move, and visual info is gathered.
We spend more time fixating on longer words, unusual words, and unpredictable words.
Most psychologists who study the reading process believe that readers have two basic ways to recognize
words: phonetic and whole-word recognition. Phonetic reading: involves decoding of the sounds the
letters produce. Whole word reading- reading by recognizing a word as a whole. (Whole word recog is
faster than phonetic, but is also absolutely necessary in a language)
Dyslexia: caused by damage to the left parietal or temporal lobe.Surface Dyslexia: disorder in which ppl
can read words phonetically but have difficulty in reading irregularly spelled words by the whole-word
method. (trouble w surface, aka visual appearance of words an d pronunciation rules)
Phonological Dyslexia: disorder where you can read the familiar words but have difficulty reading
unfamiliar words or pronouncible non words because they cannot sound out words.
Direct Dislexia- language disorder caused by brain damage in which ppl can read words alouw w/o
Brain imaging data indicates that ppl w developmental dyslexias can use both the Broca’s area and the
Wernicke’s area for language processing. However these individuals lack the degree of synchrony of
neural activity in the two areas. (They cant combine the activity of two areas). PET scans have shown that
the auditory association cortex is activated by the sound of words but not by other sounds.
Psychology Chapter 11: Intelligence and Thinking
Psychologists would define intelligence as : a person’s ability to learn and remember info, to recognize
concepts and their relations, and to apply the info to their own behaviour in an adaptive way.
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