PSY Chapter 8.pdf

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Dax Urbszat

Language and Thought Chapter 8 - cognition refers to the mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge Language: Turning Thoughts into Words What is language? - A language consists of symbols that convey meaning, plus rules for combing those symbols, that can be used to generate an infinite variety of messages. - Language is symbolic - People use spoken sounds and written words to represent objects, actions, events, and ideas - Language is semantic, or meaningful - The symbols used in a language are arbitrary in that no built-in relationship exists between the look or sound of words and the objects they stand for. - Language is generative - A limited number of symbols can be combined in an infinite variety of ways to generate to endless array of novel messages - Language is structured - Although people can generate an infinite variety of sentences, these sentences must be structured in a limited number of ways The Structure of Language Phonemes - phonemes are the smallest speech units in language that can be distinguished perceptually. - A letter in the alphabet can represent more than one phoneme if it has more than one pronunciation Morphemes and Semantics - Morphemes are the smallest units of meaning in language - Semantics is the area of language concerned with understanding the meaning of words and word combinations - Learning about semantics entails learning about the infinite variety of objects and actions that words refer to. Syntax - Syntax is a system of rules that specify how words can be arranged into sentences - Sentence must have both a noun phrase and a verb phrase Milestones in Language Development Moving Toward Producing Words - long before infants utter their first words, they are making remarkable progress in learning the sound structure of their native language Using Words - Children’s receptive vocabulary is larger than their productive vocabulary. - They can comprehend more words spoken by others than they can actually produce to express themselves - Fast mapping is the process by which children map a word onto an underlying concept after only one exposure. - Overextension occurs when a child incorrectly uses a word to describe a wider set of objects or actions that it is meant to - Underextension occurs when a child incorrectly uses a word to describe a narrower set of objects or actions that it is meant to. Combing Words - early sentences are characterized as “telegraphic” because they resemble telegrams - Telegraphic speech consists mainly of content words; articles, prepositions, and other less critical words are omitted - MLU (mean length of utterance) is the average length of youngster’s spoken statements (measured in morphemes). - Over-regularizations occur when grammatical rules are incorrectly generalized to irregular cases where they do not apply. Refining Language Skills - metalinguistic awareness is the ability to reflect on the use of language Learning More Than One language: Bilingualism - Bilingualism is the acquisition of two languages that use different speech sounds, vocabulary, and grammatical rules. Does Learning Two Languages in Childhood Slow Down language Development - Some studies have found that bilingual children have smaller vocabularies in each of their language - The available evidence suggests that bilingual and monolingual children are largely similar in the course and rate of their language development Does Bilingualism Affect Cognitive Processes and Skills? - When middle class bilingual subjects who are fluent in both languages are studied, they tend to score somewhat higher than monolingual subjects on measures of cognitive flexibility, analytical reasoning, selective attention, and metalinguistic awareness. What Factors Influence the Acquisition of a Second Language? - age is a significant correlate of how effectively people can acquire a second language - acculturation is the degree to which a person is socially and psychologically integrated into a new culture Can Animals Develop Language? - Scientists have taught some language-like skills to a number of species, including dolphins, sea lions, African gray parrot, but their greatest success has come with the chimpanzee, an intelligent primate widely regarded as human’s closest cousin - ASL (American Sign Language) is a complex language of hand gestures and facial expressions used by thousands of deaf people in the United States - The ability to use language may not be unique to humans, as has been widely assumed. - Even if language is not unique to humans, they do appear to be exceptionally well suited for learning language - The talent for language is a product of evolution. Language in Evolutionary Context - language is a valuable means of communication that has enormous adaptive value - Dunbar agues that language evolved as a device to build and maintain social coalitions in increasingly larger groups. - Although the adaptive value of language seems obvious, some scholars take issue with the assertion that human languages is the produce of evolution Theories of Language Acquisition - B.F Skinner argued that environmental factors govern language development Behaviorist Theories - Skinner argued that children learn language the same way they learn everything else: through imitation, reinforcement, and other established principles of conditioning. - By controlling reinforcement, parents encourage their children to learn the correct meaning and pronunciation of words - Children learn how to construct sentences by imitating the sentences of adults and older children. Nativist Theories - Chomsky pointed out that there are infinite number of sentences in language and therefore it is unreasonable to expect that children learn language by imitation - According to Chomsky, children learn the rules of language, not specific verbal responses, as Skinner proposed. - Nativist theory proposes that humans are equipped with a language acquisition device (LAD), that is an innate mechanism or process that facilitates the learning of language - Language development is determined by biological maturation more than personal experience. Interactionist Theories - Nativist theories have been undermined by evidence that parents do provide their children with subtle corrective feeding about grammar - Biology and experience both make important contributions to the development of language. - Incremental changes in connectionist networks underlie children’s gradual acquisition of various language skills - Interactionist theories maintain that a biological predisposition and a supportive environment both contribute to language development Culture, Language, and Thought - Linguistic relativity is the hypothesis that one’s language determines the nature of ones thought - Different languages lead people to view the world differently. - A given language makes certain ways of thinking easier or more difficult rather than the original hypothesis that language determines thought Problem Solving: In Search of Solutions Types of Problems - Problem solving refers to active efforts to discover what must be done to achieve a goal that is not readily attainable - 1) Problems of inducing structure require people to discover the relations among numbers, words, symbols, or ideas - 2) Problems or arrangement require people to arrange the parts of a problem that satisfies some criterion. - Insight is the sudden discovery of the correct solution following incorrect attempts based primarily on trial and error. - 3) Problem of transformation requires people to carry out a sequence of transformations in order to reach a specific goal. Irrelevant Information - Sternberg points out that people often incorrectly assume that all the numerical information in a problem is necessary to solve it - Effective problem solving requires that you attempt to figure out what information is relevant and what is irrelevant before proceeding. Functional Fixedness - Functional fixedness is the tendency to perceive an item only in terms of its most common use. Mental Set - A mental set exists when people persist in using problem-solving strategies that have worked in the past - The tendency to let one’s thinking get into a rut is a common barrier to successful problem solving Unnecessary Constraints - People often make assumptions that impose unnecessary constraints on problem-solving efforts Approaches to Problem Solving - Problem space is the set of possible p
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