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Lecture 3

PSYC 1010 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Syphilis, Collectivism, Neuroticism

Course Code
PSYC 1010
Agnieszka Kopinska

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Cognition refers to the mental activities involved in acquiring, retaining,
and using knowledge, e.g., memory, verbal reasoning ability, perceptual
reasoning ability, processing speed.
Cognition psychology as a field investigates: language, inference,
problem solving, decision making, reasoning.
Language: thoughts into words.
Language is defined as consisting of symbols that convey meaning, plus
rules for combining those symbols, that can be used to generate an
infinite variety of messages.
Properties of Languages:
- Symbolic
- Semantic (meaningful)
- Generative
- Structured (syntax)
Hierarchical Structure of language:
- Phonemes: smallest speech units, 100 possible, English – about 40
- Morphemes smallest unit of meaning, 50.000 in English, root words,
prefixes, suffixes
- Semantics meaning of words and word combinations. “It’s raining
cats and dogs” does not mean that cats and dogs are literally falling from
the sky.
- Syntax – a system of rules for arranging words into sentences
+different rules for different languages.
Language Development: biological maturation at work: maturing brain
and vocal apparatus
- Different cultures yes same stages of speaking their native culture
- Development timetable
0 Crying
2 Cooing vowel sounds
4 Babbling consonant/vowel
Even deaf infants coo and babble
10 Babbling native language sounds
12 One-word stage
24 Symbolic, two-word stage
24+ Sentences
- preferences for human speech over other sounds

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- social interaction is essential
- motherese, parenthese
- universal adaptability
Features of Young Children’s Speech
- Telegraphic – simple sentences maintaining actor/action/object
- Overextension incorrectly uses a word to describe a wider set of
objects or actions than it is meant to.
- Underextension incorrectly used a word to describe a narrower set of
objects or actions than it is meant to.
- Mean length of utterance (MLU): add up the total number of words
spoken by the child and dividing by the number of times that the child
has spoken; MLU at the age of 4.5 years was a good guide to the same
child’s literacy at the age of 8 years.
Grammar: - Between 2 3, kids adopt the word order (grammar) of the
adult speech they hear.
- At the age of 2 and 3 years, old, children use simple subject-verb
- Gradually make changes, like “s” for plurals
- Overregularization 31/2 year old kids do know the rules, but over-
apply them (my car “breaked”)
- By the end of early childhood, children use most of the grammatical
constructions of their language quite competently.
Learning Conversation Skills:
- Pragmatics is the practical, social side of language that is concerned
with how to engage in effective and appropriate communication with
- The presence of older siblings provides a language environment
conducive to acquiring language pragmatics.
- By age 4, kids can adjust their speech to fit the age, sex, and social
status of their listeners.
Language Disorders: 90 95% of cases, damage is to the left
hemisphere. 5 – 10% of cases, to the right hemisphere.
- Agraphia: impairment in writing
- Alexia: Disturbances in reading. Also called “acquired dyslexia”, refers
specifically to the loss, usually in adulthood, of a previous ability to read.
- Dyslexia: problem in learning to read, common and boys and left-
handed, high IQ, so related with language only.

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Research does not support the assumption that bilingualism has a
negative effect on language development or on cognitive development.
The learning of a second language is facilitated by starting at a younger
age and by acculturation.
McGurk Effect: most adults (98%) think they are hearing DA a so
called “fused response” where the “D” is a result of an audio-visual
illusion. In reality, you are hearing the sound “BA”, while you are seeing
the lip movements “GA
Animal Communication: Research are studied on dolphins, sea lions,
parrots and chimpanzees. Researcher came to the final conclusion that
animal could not speak because they simply don’t have the appropriate
vocal apparatus to acquire human speech.
- With American Sign Language, a complex language of hand
gestures and facial expressions used by deaf people, in four years,
chimpanzee Washoe could learn to acquire a sign vocabulary of roughly
160 words and combine these words into simple sentences, such as
“Washoe sorry”, “Gimme flower”, and “More fruit”.
Theories of Language Acquisition
- Darwin’s view: language is a product of natural selection.
- Behaviourists, such as Skinner, agreed that language is acquired by
learning of specific verbal responses.
- Nativist, such as Chomsky, argued that language is acquired firstly by
learning the rules of language. This theory also proposed that humans are
equipped with a language acquisition device (LAD) an innate
mechanism or process that facilitates the learning of language.
- Interactionist emphasized on cognitive, social communication and
emergentist theories of language acquisition.
Thinking – Terminology
- Thinking is the manipulation of mental representations to draw
interferences and conclusions.
- Mental image is the representation of objects or events that are not
- Concept is mental category of objects or ideas based on shared
properties. Examples: concept of the color green, things that make my
blood boil…
Categorization (at very low, perceptual level): partitioning a continuous
physical spectrum into discrete categories.
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