PSYCH 100 Exam Aid
Key properties – a form of communication must have key properties in order to be
considered language. Semanticity (symbolic), displacement (not tied to the here
and now), generativity (generate unlimited number of ideas)
Speech and Comprehension
o Phonology – rules that govern the sounds of a language
Phonemes – minimum unit of sound that conveys meaning in a
particular language (letters in the alphabet)
Phonological rule govern how phonemes can be combined
Phonemic discrimination – perception of a phoneme is affected by
the sounds that follow it. If a sound between k and g is played, and
followed by ‘iss’, we will hear ‘kiss’. Perception of a single letter
is affected by the letters that follow.
o Morphology – how morphomes can be used and combined
Morphemes – smallest meaningful unites of language
Free morphomes can stand alone and still have meaning. EX: ‘fast’
Bound morphemes must be attached to other morphemes to have
meaning. EX: ‘est’ in ‘fastest’
o Meaning of speech
o Syntax – all languages have a syntaz or frammar, which follows certain
Syntactical rul – grammatical rules for combinging words to
form phrases and sentences. Understanding of syntaz is automatic
and learned implicitylu.
Word meanings = semantics
Prosody – use of stress, rhythm and changes in pitch that
Pragmatics – knowledge of the world related to understanding and
using language. Helps us to interpret what other people are saying.
Knowledge of the world is organied into scripts – listener can fill
in details once they know which script has been established.
Deep structure – sentences are represented in the brain in terms of
Surface structure – particular form the sentence takes. Brain must
transform the deep structure into the appropriate surface structure.
• EX: Rosa always date shranks. Surface structure is off, but
deep structure interprets this. We think of the deep structure
in our brain.
o Steps to the comprehension of language:
1) Recognizing the sounds/phonemes
2) Identify words and associate them with meanings – use morphology
3) Analyze the syntax using syntactical cues.
4) Brain mechanisms in speech production
o Broca’s area: region of the motor association cortex in the left frontal lobe.
Suggested this area contains motor memories (how to move your
muscles) needed to articulate words.
o Damages to Brocas’s area produces:
Broca’s aphasia – language disorder characterized by slow,
labourious, nonfluent speech.
Agrammatism – difficulty in producing or comprehending the
grammar of speech. Organizing sentences in a certain way,
knowing what to say before other stuff, includes motor memories.
Comprehension is not normal.
o Wernicke’s area – upper part of the left temporal lob. It is the location of
memories of the sequences of sounds that make up words.
Damages to Wernicke’s area and surrounding region produces:
Wernicke’s aphasia – poor speech comprehension and production
of meaningless speech. Speech is fluent, person is not searching
for words, appears to be grammatical.
o Brain damage restricted to Wernicke’s area produces pure word
deafness. People cannot understand speech, can recognize nonspeech
sounds such as barking, etc.
o Brain damage around Wernicke’s area, but not actually to Wernicke’s area:
o Produces isolation aphasia – can repeat speech and learn sequences of
words. Cannot comprehend speech or produce meaningful speech. Not as
bad as the other ones.
o Chomsky argues for a language acquisition device (LAD) which contains
rules of universal grammar. Children naturally inclined to want to learn
language, have hypothesis for grammar and are confirmed or
o Critical period for learning language – LAD works best during
o Evidence for nativist theories:
Only humans are capable of high competency in their native
language – difference may come from two mutations that are only
in the human gene of FOXP2
Critical periods – specific times when humans must be exposed to
something for development to occur normally. Language critical
period is the first few years of life.
o Believe language acquisition comes from the child’s social environment
and experience. Grammar comes from a growing vocabulary to organize
and simplify a complex system. Social environment structured around
language. o Evidence for this theory:
Prepared to learn any language that we are born into – not set to
learn one specific language
Deaf babies go through many of the same stages as hearing babies
when learning sign languages
Kids in bilingual homes learn both languages effortlessly
o Discuss the nativist theory of language acquisition and evidence that
supports this theory:
Chomsky said there was critical periods, language acquisition
devices. When child skips this critical period, child no longer
learns language normally. If child does not experience language
before a certain age, etc.
2 views on the origin of behaviour
Nativism – born with behaviour, in our genes
Empiricism – comes from experiences interacting with the environment
It is either, or.
Genotype – actual genetic makeup of a trait
Phenotype – how the trait is expressed
Protein synthesis is often under the control of many genes (polygenetic control). It’s
influenced by many pairs of genes, not just one.
Different environments also influence the expression of polygenetic traits
Causes a continuum of behaviour, not allornothing behaviour.
Compare identical and fraternal twins to study polygenic inheritance
Identical (monozygotic) twins come from the same egg and have identical genotypes.
Fraternal (dizygotic) comes from different eggs, no similar than other siblings.
Concordance research – studies the degree of similarity in traits expressed between twins.
Twins are concordant for a trait if both express it or both do not express it. Twins are
discordant for a trait if only one expresses it.
If concordance rates for identical twins are much higher than those for fraternal twins, the
traits is strongly genetic.
Genetic influence is measured by heritability.
The more a trait in a given population is influenced by genetic factors, the greater its
heritability. Heritability does not a