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Psychology (semester 2)
Chapter 10 Language
Language allows us to get the contents of our working memory out of our heads, and into the
heads of others
Working memory: doing mental work that allows you to solve novel problems
Language allows us to share our working memory with one another. We share our solutions to
problems with other people.
Animals have working memory, but they don’t have a rich language system (as opposed to
Language allows us to share solutions and knowledge with each other.
Language underpins our social nature, and shows how we pact together, and are not solitary
When we learn things, we share it with each other , and allows us to bind together as a society.
If you want to know what Einstein (past ) people we can learn language , and understand
thought processes of those in the past.
It spans place and time (Einstein, or the Ancient Greeks) not so much the Egyptians .
o Limitations of the language system , are changing
o We’re not transmitting words, were transmitting more than words. It links us between
the present and the past.
What is language?
Animals vs. humans
o Strength of command (moving ant ) depends on their chemical language
o They gather food, into their social stomach , and feed sugar to other ants.
o Ants are good at communicating and working together in a social system. Their
communication system would not be classified as language though.
o Ants communicate via chemical and physical touch
o Dog with a thousand word vocabulary. The dog can communicate via words. (border
coline dog) , the dog (chaser) has been able to distinguish between 1022 words.
Classical conditioning method (achieving results , using a reward system)
She has a good receptive language, and can learn to associate words with their
meanings. There isn’t a two way communication involved in this type of
o Chimpanzees don’t have the right vocal apparatus to produce the same kinds of sounds
as human beings.
Can communicate via sign language.
When the chimp was communicating with a human being who didn’t know sign
language very well, the chimp was signing very slowly because he could
understand that the human wasn’t experience
The chimp is signing to himself, and it’s a characteristic of human children as
well (they talk to themselves)
The chimp is talking to itself, and this shows that he is verbalizing its thoughts.
Gorilla was able to identify itself as a gorilla when seeing a gorilla on television,
and also identified itself better (felt more comfortable) with a gorilla doll