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Lecture 9

Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Human Nature, Deductive Reasoning, Functional Fixedness

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
John Campbell

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Chapter 9 Review Notes
Human languages across the globe share the same underlying
features. Language is symbolic and structured, conveys meaning, is
generative, and permits displacement. Language has many adaptive
functions, such as facilitating cooperative social systems and allowing
people to transmit knowledge to one another. Scientists believe that
humans have evolved an innate capacity for acquiring language.
The surface structure of a language refers to how symbols are
combined; the deep structure refers to the underlying meaning of the
symbols. Language elements are hierarcally arranged: from phoneme
to morpheme to words, phrases, and sentences. Discourse involves
higher level combinations of sentences
Understanding and producing language – including pattern recognition
of words and the hierarchal structure of language – involve bottom-up
and top-down processing
In infancy, babies can perceive all the phonemes that exist in all the
language of their world. Between 6 and 12 months of age, their speech
discrimination narrows to include only the sounds speci+c to their
native tongue. By ages 4-5, most children have learned the basic
grammatical rules for combining words into meaningful sentences
Language development seems to depend heavily on innate
mechanisms that permit the learning and production of language,
provided that the child is exposed to an appropriate linguistic
environment during a sensitive period that extends from early
childhood to puberty.
Although research +ndings are not entirely consistent, it appears that a
second language is most easily mastered and /uently spoken if it is
learned during a sensitive period that ranges from early childhood
possibly through mid-adolescence. Bilingual children tend to perform
better than monolingual children on a variety of cognitive tasks.
In general, it appears that when people acquire a second language
early in life or learn it to a high degree of pro+ciency later in life, both
languages share a common neural network
Language in/uences what people think and how e0ectively they think.
Expansion of vocabulary allows people to encode and process
information in more sophisticated ways
Researchers have attempted to teach apes to use hand signs or
keyboard symbols to communicate language-like fashion. At best, apes
are capable of learning, combining, and communicating with symbols
at a level similar to that of a human toddler. Skeptics question whether
apes can learn syntax and generate novel ideas
In deductive reasoning, we reason from general principles to a
conclusion about a speci+c case. In inductive reasoning, it involves
reasoning from a set of speci+c facts or observations to a general
principle. Deduction is the strongest and most valid form of reasoning,
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