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PSY270 - Last Lecture.docx

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Robert Brym

What is representative of randomness? Actual randomness vs. Believers - Natural coincidences happen more often then they should Attribute particular meaning to coincidences - misrepresentation of chance Nonbelievers - Language is a system of communicating using sounds and symbols - allows us to convey It is communicative - a message is conveyed It is arbitrary - i.e. wicked  evil vs. awesome! It is structured - it is governed by rules that dictate what is and isn't allowed It is generative - language is hierarchical (broken down into smaller components) Different words can be combined to form and endless number of meanings It is dynamic - changing slowly (new words get added every year to the lexicon) i.e. Is Jennifer Lawrence really nice? i.e. They wed in Barrie vs. They wedded in Barrie Both are correct (irregular vs. regular verbs) - irregular verbs become regularized over time The more frequently the verb is used, the less likely they are to be regularized Language is a biological ability - children acquire language If you don't teach deaf children sign language, they will create their own. These children go through the same stages of language development as hearing children. They coo and babbled at the same stages that hearing children do. These stages are consistent across cultures. There are some striking similarities between languages - nouns, indicating negatives, indicating past and future tense, asking questions Chomsky's book was inspired by Verbal Behaviour, written by Skinner was a behaviourist Skinner said that children learn to speak because it is rewarding - the making of sounds when cooing is itself rewarding. With babbling, there are external rewards and they learn words because they can get what they want. Seems to make sense on the surface but Chomsky was asked to critique Skinner's book. At this time, cognitive psychologists were looking for a way to look at mental events outside of behaviour. Chomsky said that children utter sentences that are never rewarded (i.e. "Mommy I hate you!"), thus they can't learn language simply because it is rewarding.As well, children are capable of uttering sentences they've never heard before. Units of language Phonemes - the smallest unit of sound that can serve to distinguish words in a language Each language has its own set of phonemes ("huh" is a universal phoneme with universal meaning) that are not necessary totally unique (32 in Mandarin) Babies recognize all phonemes - one of the few skills babies come into the world knowing more and learning less with age (at a certain age babies lose the ability to distinguish phonemes that are not found in their native language - approx. at 7 months of age). Phonemes are difficult to perceive in isolation - people in different locations pronounce phonemes differently. There is a difference in accents in different speakers, thus although the phoneme might be considered the same, they might be pronounced differently. Problem Spectrogram - plots sound frequency as a function of time when a word is spoken Even though /b/ in bet and bird are the same phoneme, there are physical differences in the frequency recorded on the spectrogram - yet they are perceived to be the same sound This is due to co-articulation. These things happen in sequence but start before the preceding event is complete. This diagram shows the influence pronunciation of certain phonemes - they have a certain amount of overlap. How do we solve the problem of invariance? McGurk Effect An illusion that occurs when what you see clashes with what you hear. You are presented with a phoneme and a viseme (visual representation of language) - you end up with a percept that is unrelated to the original phoneme. This reveals to us how much we rely on vision to interpret language when face to face. Even if you know about it, you cannot help perceiving its effects - it is a bottom-up effect that can't be stopped even if you want it to. This is part of a larger stream of research called multi-sense integration - how different sense combine to form perception. Note: Speaking a second language on the phone because you are missing that second source of imput ResolvingAmbiguity - The Phonemic Restoration Effect Context becomes important to eliminate ambiguity. Participants were presented with an audio recording People can use context to fill in a missing phoneme Only 5% of people noticed the cough, and even less were able to tell where it had occurred in the sentence There is a huge proportion of participants that can fill in the gap using context that comes later Words Similar to phonemes, it is difficult to perceive words due to the many individual ways you can pronounce specific words. An experiment was done where participants were aske Participants can only identify half of the isolated words they spoke themselves - speaking th
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