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Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - John Bowring, Law School Admission Test, Anagram

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

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Chapter 9: Thought, Language, and Intelligence
- Humans are smaller physically but dominate because of ability to manipulate into forms of language, thinking, reasoning, and problem
solving mental representations: variety of forms images, ideas, concepts, principles
o E.g. mental representations transferred from mind to mind through medium of language
- Brain achieved present form 50,000 years ago
- 35,000 years before paintings, 12,000 more for writing
- Cognitive develops, not only structure matters
- Language = “the jewel in the crown of cognition”
o Evolved as humans gathered to form larger social units
o Ability to form cooperative social systems, develop social customs, communicate thoughts to others, create divisions of labour,
and pass on knowledge and wisdom made easier by language
o Adaptive value of language so brain has capacity to learn
The Nature and Structure of Language
- Language consists of a system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that can produce an almost infinite number of
possible messages or meanings
o .: language = symbolic: uses sounds, written signs, gestures to refer to things
Form and transfer mental representations
Linguistic feature displacement: fact that past, future, imaginary events and objects that are not physically present
can be symbolically represented and communicated through the medium of language .: NOT RESTRICTED TO PRESENT
o Language has structure: rules governing how symbols can be combined to create meaningful communication units
May not be able to verbalize rules, but know implicitly because part of language we speak
o Language is generative: symbols can be combined to generate an almost infinite number of messages
Forming mental image of random sentence exhibits displacement
Surface and Deep Structure
- Psycholinguists: study psychological properties of language and underlying mechanisms that produce it
o Surface structure: consists of the way symbols are combined within a given language
Rules for such combinations are syntax (rules of grammar) of a language
o Deep structure: refers to underlying meaning of combined symbols
Rules for connecting symbols to what they represent = semantics
o Both in long-term memory
o More likely to remember meaning than specifics
Language from the Bottom Up
- Human language has hierarchical structure
- Phonemes = smallest unit of sound recognized as separate in given language
o English has 46 (vowel sounds, consonant sounds, letter combinations th and sh)
o E.g. sounds h a t combined to 3-phoneme word hat
o Humans can make 100s, don’t use all. Some have 15, some 80, most 40-50
- Phonemes combined to morphemes = smallest units of meaning
o E.g. hat, sick, tel , prefixes and suffixes (-ous morpheme made of 2 phonemes uh and s
o Syntax rules determine how phonemes can be made to morphemes
o 46 English phonemes 100,000 morphemes ½ million words phrases infinite sentences
Acquiring a Language
- Biological readiness to recognize and eventually produce sounds and structure of whatever language exposed to?

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Biological Foundations
- Support for biological basis for language acquisition, bio primed within learning environment = growth
o Kids have limited thinking skills but begin to master language early in life without formal instruction
o All adult languages (despite differences, independent creations including sign language) appear to have common underlying
deep structure
- 1-3 months infants vocalize entire range of phonemes found in world’s language = cooing (coo sounds when happy)
- 6 months, make native tongue sounds; discard other tongue sounds = babbling stage of language development
o Lose ability to perceive difference in sounds of other languages (e.g. Japanese kids can’t “r” and “l” differentiate)
o Vocalizations become more and more similar to exposed language
o Sign language babies babble with heads
o Some complex rules of syntax (Japanese: object before verb; English other way)
- Sensitive period during which language most easily learned = infancy to puberty (includes sign language)
o Support: kids found before vs after puberty, recovery from brain damage before vs after
Sex differences.
- Language functions distributed all over, but some special
o Broca’s area in left hemisphere frontal lobe = speech production/formation
o Wernicke’s area in rear temporal lobe = speech comprehension/understanding
o Damage in one or both areas (BFF WUT) = aphasia (disruption in speech comprehension and/or production)
o Visual area also involved in recognizing written words
- Stroke victims (men vs women) show that women more than men have more language lateralization (men left hemisphere damage = less
speech recovery)
Social Learning Processes
- Social learning crucial in acquiring language
o E.g. parents maintain child interest by motherese (high pitched intonation)
- Skinner said operant conditioning explanation for language acquisition (reinforce appropriate, not inappropriate verbalization)
o But kids learn too much too fast
30 months, 100s words
6 yrs, 15 words / day; 8000-14000 words
- Parents reinforce “truth value” vs grammar (“3 feet” but not “2 foots”) .: not imitation, social learning not everything
- Bio factors (+ speech producing mechanisms) and experience combine, common timetable for all cultures
o 1-3 months: distinguish speech from nonspeech, prefer speech sounds (phonemes); crying vs happy cooing
o 4-6 months: babbling, sounds from every language. Vocalizes in response to others
o 7-11 months: babbling phonemes from environment, tongue with vocalization (“lalling”), differentiates words (not
meaning), imitates word sounds
o 12 months: first words, usually 1 word name for person/thing
o 12-18 months: more word meanings, use single words for phrase (e.g. “out”); nouns
o 18-24 months: 50-100 word vocab; basic sentences without articles/conjunctions/auxiliary verbs
Telegraphic speech = noun + verb, 2 word sentences
o 2-4 years: 100s words / 6 months, longer sentences (grammar incorrect), basic syntax; concepts/descriptions expressed with
o 4-5 years: basic grammar to meaningful sentences
Bilingualism: Learning a Second Language
- Famous people: M.D. Berlitz, Sir John Bowring (Hong Kong), Benjamin Schulze (prayer)
- Best learned during childhood, e.g. grammar mastery in English harder past 7
o Kids sometimes get confused, but after about 2 coding mixing is not an issue
- Study of bilingualism important for Canada French immersion now popular in Canada (started in St. Lampert, Quebec, worked with
Wally Lambert @ McGill, first 1965, now 300,000+)
- First bilingual learning 2 sets grammar/vocab = worse; but do same on monolingual tests
o Superior cognitive processing
o Better at reading, better controlling attention, greater flexibility in thinking, standardized intelligence tests
- Areas of brain before 10 = same; after 10 (less proficient in 2nd language) = different (PET scans)
Linguistic Influences on Thinking
- Benjamin Lee Whorf (1965) linguistic relativity hypothesis: language DETERMINES what we are capable of thinking
o E.g. no past tense in language, can’t remember past
o Wrong, e.g. Eleanor Rosch with Dani of New Guinea, 2 colour words but observe all

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- Language influences how we think, efficiently categorize experiences, how much detail we attend to, colour perceptions/conclusions
o E.g. gender stereotypes, .: language helps create and maintain them
- Language influencing what and how we think = important, because how we encode info affects perception/memory
o Vocab expands, thinking more sophisticated ways. ,: vocab development key to education
- Language also affects how we think in certain domains
o E.g. Asian > English in math e.g. Chinese numbers easier .: Asian facilitates math skill development, English hinders
- Thought includes wide range of mental activities, enter abilities to reason, solve problems, engage in forms of “intelligent” behaviour
o Propositional thought: expresses proposition / statement verbal sentences what we “hear” in mind
o Imaginal thought: images we “see” “hear” or “feel” in mind
o Motoring thought: relates to mental representation of motor movements, e.g. throwing
Concepts and Propositions
- Propositions: statements that express facts, most thinking
o Combination of concepts (subject, predicate): basic units of semantic memory mental categories into which we place objects,
activities, abstractions, events that have things in common
Acquired through instruction or observation
Difficult to define explicitly i.e. define “vegetable” vs think of e.g.
Eleanor Rosch (1977) = concepts defined by prototypes typical/familiar member of class
o Decide what category based on resemblance to prototype
o Basic form of concepts, only similarities prototypes from experience, .: concepts differ between
o How we state about problems/decisions influence how we solve problem, reason to decision, or make judgement
Greater cost to negative outcomes as value to positive
**Levels of Analysis: p. 345
Research Frontiers Can Animals Acquire Language
- Noam Chomsky: language = “human essence”
- Other animals communicate (e.g. bird call for predator warning)
- Taught chimps
o Positive
Allen and Beatrice Gardner 10 month Washoe, ASL, age 5 160 signs
Lana, lexigrams
Chantek (orangutan), symbols
Koko (gorilla), 600 signs
o Negative
Terrace Nim Chimpsky, fail
o Kanzi : 80 geometric symbols, 1.5 years = combinations
- Apes can’t talk because of bio, but can acquire vocabulary
**In Review: p. 347
- Intelligent thinking = reasoning, logic
- Trial and error = primitive problem solving; reasoning avoids hazard and time
- Deductive reasoning: “top down”, general principles to conclusion about specific case
o Start with set of premises (propositions assumed to be true, factual statements)
o Determine what they imply about specific situations
o Basis for math and logic
Stronger more valid because conclusions CANNOT BE FALSE if premises are true
o Underlying deductive principle: given proposition, IF X THEN Y
o deductive argument = syllogism
- Inductive reasoning: “bottom up”, specific facts try to develop general principle
o E.g. scientists making general principles/laws from observing several specifics (apples on head gravity, Pavlov dog salivate
classic conditioning)
- DEDUCTIVE = true fosho; INDUCTIVE = likelihood rather than certainty
o Both used different times
o INDUCTIVE for psychologists, scientists, diagnose/initially explain
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