Psychology 1000 Study Guide - Temporal Lobe, Deductive Reasoning, Frontal Lobe

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Published on 16 Apr 2013
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Chapter 9
Mental representations include images, ideas, concepts and principles
Language
-Language is a system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that
can generate an infinite number of possible messages and meanings
-psycholinguistics is the scientific study of the psychological aspects of language
eg. how people understand, produce and acquire language
Adaptive Functions of Language
-the use of language may have evolved as people gathered to form larger social units
-helps us evolve as social creatures as we need to communicate with each other
-we also use language in our conscious thinking
-eg. talking to ourselves
-language also serves as a learning mechanism
-we can ask for directions or read about a topic to learn
Properties of Language
1. symbolic and structured
-uses symbols to represent things and these symbols are arbitrary (the symbol
has an agreed-on meaning to people)
-has grammar : the set of rules that dictate how symbols can be combined to
created mingful units of communication
-syntax: the rules that govern the order of words
2. conveys meaning
-semantics: the meaning of words and sentences
3. generative and permits displacement
-Generativity: the symbols of language can be combined to generate an infinite
number of messages that have novel meaning
-eg. we only have 26 letters but thousands of words and billions of
sentences
-Displacement: language allows us to communicate about events and objects that
are not physically present
-eg. we can discuss the past, future, imaginary situations, and people or
objects that exist elsewhere
The Structure of Language
Surface structure and Deep Structure
- surface structure is the symbols that are used and their order
-deep structure is the underlying meaning of the combined symbols
-when you have two sentences that are saying the same thing... two surface structures,
one deep structure
-when you have an ambiguous sentence you will have one surface structure and
multiple deep structures
The Hierarchical Structure of Language
-human language has a hierarchal structure and its building block is the phoneme: the
smallest unit of speech sound in a language that can signal a difference in meaning
-eg. the phoneme d with og means different than the phoneme l with og
-phonemes are then combined into morphemes: the smallest units of meaning in a
language
-eg. words (dog), prefixes and suffixes (un-), plural (-s)
-morphemes form words, then phrases, then sentences
-after that is discourse: sentences are combined into paragraphs, articles, books and
conversations
Understanding and Producing Language
The Role of Bottom-Up Processing
-individual elements of a stimulus are analyzed and then combined to form a unified
perception
-your brain analyzes the basic elements of the visual patterns and feeds this
information to other cell groups that lead you to perceive these patters as letters and
then as words
The Role of Top-Down Processing
-sensory information is interpreted in light of existing knowledge, concepts, ideas and
expectations
-language involves top-down processing because the words you write, read,
speak or hear activate draw on existing knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and
other linguistic rules
-this is why we can read a sentence with a few letters missing
-speech segmentation: perceiving where each word within a spoken sentence begins and
ends occurs automatically in native languages
-we know when one word ends and another begins through experience
-we also use the context provided by the others words in a sentence to interpret
the meaning of any individual word
Pragmatics: The Social Context of Language
-understanding language and communicating effectively with others also involves
pragmatics: knowledge of the practical aspects of using language
-eg. asking Is Billy there? on the phone implies that you would like for the person
to get Billy if he is there and to go and get him, not to simply say yes and wait
for further instruction
-example of how top-down processing influences language use
-messages are changed depending on the target
-we talk differently to babies than to adults and to adults that don’t speak the
language
-as well we write differently for a text message to a friend than a formal letter to a
boss
Language Functions, the Brain, and Sex Differences
-Broca’s area in the left hemisphere’s frontal lobe is involved in word production and
articulation and Wernicke’s area in the rear portion of the temporal lobe is involved in
speech comprehension
-damage in either suffer from aphasia: an impairment in speech comprehension
and/or production
-women’s language functions are shared with the right hemisphere whereas men’s are
usually dominated in the left hemisphere
Acquiring a First Language
Biological Foundations
-there are several facts that suggest a biological basis for language acquisition
-human children masters language early in life without any formal instruction
-all adult languages have common underlying structural characteristics
-infants can perceive the entire range of phonemes found in the world’s languages but
between 6-12 months begin to discriminate sound that are specific to their native
tongue
-eg. Japanese children stop distinguishing between r and l
-Chomsky said that humans are born with language acquisition device (LAD): an innate
biological mechanism that contains the general grammatical rules common to all
languages
-eg. noun phrases and verb phrases that are arranged in particular ways
-when a kid learns english there is a switch that says yes to inserting a pronoun
before a verb but it is no for spanish
-so universal grammar becomes calibrated to the language
Social Learning Processes
-social learning also plays a role in acquiring a language
-Skinner explains that children’s language development is strongly governed by adults’
positive reinforcement of appropriate language and nonreinforcement or correction of
inappropriate verbalizations

Document Summary

Mental representations include images, ideas, concepts and principles. Language is a system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that can generate an infinite number of possible messages and meanings. Psycholinguistics is the scientific study of the psychological aspects of language eg. how people understand, produce and acquire language. The use of language may have evolved as people gathered to form larger social units. Helps us evolve as social creatures as we need to communicate with each other. We also use language in our conscious thinking. Language also serves as a learning mechanism. We can ask for directions or read about a topic to learn. Uses symbols to represent things and these symbols are arbitrary (the symbol has an agreed-on meaning to people) Has grammar : the set of rules that dictate how symbols can be combined to created mingful units of communication. Syntax: the rules that govern the order of words: conveys meaning.