PSYA02: Chapter 10 - Language
Introduction to Language
It was not too long ago that humans were the only ones believed to have language.
One conclusion that has emerged from the studies of primates is that true verbal ability is a social
Psycholinguistics: A branch of psychology devoted to the study of verbal behaviour.
Speech and Comprehension
The ability to engage in verbal behaviour confers decided advantages on our species.
Perception of Speech:
Common speech produces a series of sounds in a continuous stream.
Humans use speech in segments and phrases rather than pausing after each word. Speech therefore
doesn't come to us as individual words but rather a combination of many.
Recognition of Speech Sounds
Human vocalizations are clearly distinguished from other sounds around us. They contain enough
information that we can recognize an individual by the sound of their speech.
For example the ability to recognize a face from hearing a persons voice.
Some regions of the brain responded more when people heard human vocalizations (both speech
and non speech) than when they heard only natural sounds.
The auditory system on the left hemisphere showed a greater contrast to natural and scrambled
frequencies in sound.
This suggests that when it comes to analyzing the detailed information of speech, the left
hemisphere plays a larger role.
Phonemes: The minimum unit of sound that conveys a meaning in particul