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Psychology 1000 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Divergent Thinking, Creative Problem-Solving, Deductive Reasoning

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Study Guide

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Psychology Chapter 9
- Study of psychological aspects of language
Adaptive Functions of Language
- Cognitive skills evolved despite that brain structure has been stagnant for the past 50,000
- Theorized that the use of language evolved as people gathered to form larger social units
o Divisions of labor, customs, to communicate thoughts, pass on knowledge
Components of Language
Grammar (symbols)
- Set of rules of how symbols can be combined to create meaningful units of communication
o Symbols are arbitrary (ow a word is written and spoken doesn’t indicate its
meaning) ).e. Dog doesn’t indicate the animal
o Grammatical rules vary across languages
Although language changes over time, new words need to conform to basic
rules of that language
Syntax (structure)
- Rules that govern the order of words
- The meaning of words and expressions (I.e. I nailed the exam, make me a coffee)
- Ambiguity in a sentence
- Finite symbols can be combined to an infinite number of messages
o I.e. 26 lettered alphabet generates words which in turn generates limitless number of
- Language allows us to communicate events that aren’t physically present imaginary, past,
o Not restricted to focusing on things right before us in the present
Noam Chomsky’s Transformation Grammar
Surface structure
- Symbols used and their order (syntax) sequence of words (the print)
Deep structure
- Underlying meaning (semantics)
- Rules for deep structure transform the surface structure (The way the sentence is structured
depends on the meaning intended to convey)
- Sentences can have different surface structures but the same deep structure
o I.e. Nikola ate the cake/ the cake was eaten by Nikola
- A single surface structure can give rise to 2 deep structures
o I.e. Ambiguous sentences that can be misinterpreted (Flying planes can be
Hierarchical Structure of Language
1) Phoneme
- The smallest unit of speech that can signal a difference in meaning (pronunciation)
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o The sounds represented by letters (I.e. /n/ makes n, nn, kn, gn, pn (net, funny, know,
gnat, pneumonic)
o Have no meaning individually but can alter meaning when combined
2) Morphemes
- A combination of phonemes that form the smallest unit of meaning
o Free morphemes can function independently as words (syllables)
o Bound morphemes appear only as parts of words (prefix, suffix)
-er, -ly, -able, -hood, -ful, -ness, -s, -c, -ship, dis-, de-, trans-
I.e. How many morphemes in the following?
- I.e. Crossword & ladylike the 2 components of the word have to modify the other—Word
doesn’t change the meaning of Cross
3) Words
- Correlation of word frequency & word length= -0.75 (Longer words are less likely to be used)
4) Phrases 5) Sentences
6) Discourse
- Sentences combined into paragraphs, articles, books, conversations
Bottom-up processing
o Individual elements of a stimulus are combined into a unified perception
Specialized cells:
1) Analyze the basic elements of the visual patterns
2) Feed information to other cells to perceive patterns as letters directly or indirectly by
translating visual patterns into auditory codes
Top-down processing
- Information is interpreted using existing knowledge, experience and expectations (mental
- I.e. Language (words activate knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, etc. in long term memory)
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Speech segmentation
- Perceiving where each word begins and ends
o Certain sequences of phonemes unlikely to occur within the same word, more likely
to be at the end of words or beginning of an adjacent word
o Context makes it easier to identify words (I.e. It was so ___ outside, I wore shorts)
Pragmatics (Social context of language)
- Communication must be appropriate for the social context
o I.e. Writing a formal essay vs texting a friend
o ).e. ) need help with this material. Do you have the time?, :pm
)n this context, do you have the time means can you take a few minutes to
help me rather than what time is it
Types of Humor
Phonological ambiguity - Confusion of sounds (Knock knock jokes—“Orange you glad I didn’t say
Lexical ambiguity Confusion of double meaning of words (I work as a baker because I knead the
Syntactic ambiguity - Confusion in structure (Man eating salmon vs man- eating salmon)
Semantic ambiguity Confusion of meaning (Call me a cab. Okay, you’re a cab.)
- Kids: phonological & lexical to syntactic & semantic as they begin to appreciate ambiguous
meaning & logical inconsistency
Broca's Area Involved in word production and articulation (speech), located in left hemisphere’s
frontal lobe
Wernicke's Area Involved in speech comprehension, located in rear temporal lobe
- Aphasia: Impairment in speech comprehension or production that can be permanent or
temporary due to damage to either one or both areas
Women have language in both hemispheres, men have it in the left (Unclear as to whether
genetic or environmental)
Even if you learn early and fluently, the inferior frontal gyrus goes off when you use a
second language, indicating it requires more effort
Acquiring a Language
- Infants vocalize (cry, babble) from the first moments of life - even deaf infants
- Children perceive the entire range of phonemes and begin to discriminate by 2 months
o (Sucking rates for PA vs BA—infants suck when interested, stop when
disinterested) Experiment wherein PA repeated & sucking rates recorded
(progressively decreases due to disinterest in PA, peaks again when switched to BA)
- At 6-12 months, they discriminate sounds specific to native tongue
Noam Chomsky’s Language Acquisition Device (LAD)
- Neural system that permits understanding of language due to innate predisposition to
acquire language
o An innate biological mechanism that contains grammar rules common to all
languages (universal grammar)
- Comparable to a huge linguistic switchboard that’s calibrated to your language
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