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Western University
Psychology 1000

hapter 9 Thought Language and Intelligence pgs 336358Mental representationstake a variety of forms including images ideas concepts and principlesLanguageHuman cognitive skills have changed through evolutionLanguage is the offspring of evolution and the need to communicateLanguage has an adaptive valueThe Nature and Structure of LanguageLanguagea system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that can produce an almost infinite number of possible messages or meanings Language is symbolicuses sounds signs and gestures to refer to objects events ideas and feelingsLanguage allows the transfer of ones mental representations to another mindDisplacementpast future and imaginary events and objects that are not physically present can be symbolically represented through languageLanguage helps us from being restricted to the presentLanguage has structurerules that govern how symbols can be combined to create meaningful communication unitsLanguage is generativesymbols can be combined to generate an almost infinite number of messages that can have novel meaningSurface and Deep StructurePsycholinguists say language have underlying mechanismssurface structure and deep structureSurface structurethe ways symbols are combined within a given languageDeep structurethe underlying meaning of he combined symbolssemantics The rules for both are stored in long term memoryLanguage from the Bottom UpHuman language has a hierarchical structurePhonemessmallest unit of sound that are recognized as separate in a given languageoEx th or h a and t combined forms a three phoneme word Phonemes are combined into morphemesthe smallest units of meaning in a languageoEx hat sick or ed un ous words and prefixesMorphemes are the stuff of which words are formedBiological FoundationsThere is a biological basis for language acquisitionbabies master language without instructionLanguage acquisition represents the unfolding of a biologically primed process within a learning environment With exposure to language children also extract the complex rules of syntax not just the sounds of the languageSome linguists believe there is a sensitive period when language is most easily learned infancypubertySupport for a sensitive period comes from cases of brain damageIf damage occurs at an early age it is easier to reacquire language than brain damage to someone olderSex DifferencesMen who suffer from left hemisphere strokes are more likely than women to show severe aphasic symptomsNeural systems involved in at least some aspects of language seem to be organized differently in women than menthe reasons are unknown Social Learning ProcessesSocial learning plays a critical role in acquiring a languageSkinnerchildrens language development is strongly governed by adults reinforcing appropriate language and nonreinforcing inappropriate verbalizationBilingualism Learning a Second LanguageA second language is learned best when its learned during the sensitive periodThe vocabulary of a language can be learned at any age but mastery of syntax or grammar depends on early acquisitionBilingual people who learned a second language before the age of 10 have brain activity in the same cortical area when they speak either language but a bilingual person who acquired their second language past the age of 10 have different areas of brain activity for both languages spokenLinguistic Influences on ThinkingWhorfslinguistic relativity hypothesislanguage not only influences but also determines what we are capable of thinkingmost linguists do not agree with this todaythey would say that language may influence how we think how we categorize our experiences and how much detail Language can colour our perceptions and the conclusions we drawlanguage can help create and maintain stereotypesLanguage influences how well we think in certain domainsThinking includes a large range of activitiesPropositional thoughtverbal sentences we hear in our minds it expresses a proposition or a statement Imaginal thoughtimages that we can see hear or feel in our mindMotoric thoughtmental representations of motor movementsAll three of these modes of thinking enter into our abilities to reason solve problems and engage in many for of behaviourConcepts and PropositionsMuch of our thinking occurs in the form of propositionsstatements that express facts All propositions consist of concepts combined in a particular way Conceptsbasic units of semantic memorymental categories into which we place objects activities and abstractionsacquired through instruction or through observationMany concepts are defined by prototypesmost typical and familiar members of the classLanguageLevels of AnalysisBiologicalInnate language acquisition brain structuresBiological maturation of language relevant brain structuresBrain areas involved in language understanding and productionBiologically based sensitive periods for language acquisitionHemispheric lateralization differences between males and females Brain modification created by learning native and new languages at various ages PsychologicalCognitive processes involved in learning a languages symbols and grammatical rules Processing and storage of language elements in semantic memory Ways in which language influences thinking problem solving and adaptive behaviourRelations between deep structure and surface structure in discourseEffects of bilingualism on thinking flexibility and intellectual performanceEnvironmentalEarly caretaker behaviours in teaching language to childrenSocial learning and operant conditioning processes in childrens language acquisitionEffects of cultural variables on language acquisitionFormal educational experiences that facilitate language development Adult language environmentHow we state propositions about a problem or decision can influence how we try to solve the problem reason through to a decision or make a judgment Differences in how we verbally represent choices and goals can make a difference in our perceptions and decisionsWe arrange concepts into propositions so we can make statements about our worldReasoningTwo types of reasoning underlie our problem solving and decisions madeDeductive reasoningwe reason from top down from general principles to a conclusion about a specific casethe basis of formal mathInductive reasoningbottom up fashion starting with specific facts and trying to develop a general principal Differences deductive conclusions are always correct if the premises are true but inductive reasoning leads to likelihood rather than certainty Stumbling Blocks in ReasoningSeveral factors may prevent us from selecting the information needed to draw sound conclusions Distraction by Irrelevant InformationIt is hard to distinguish from information that is relevant and irrelevant Failure to Apply Deductive RulesSometimes knowledge is not enough wisdom is needed to know when to apply the knowledgeBelief BiasBelief biasthe tendency to abandon logical rules in favour of own personal beliefsProblem SolvingProblem solving has 4 stages and how well we carry out each stage determines our success in solving the problemUnderstanding or Framing the ProblemHow we mentally represent or frame a problem can make a huge difference on outcomesTesting the SolutionsMental setthe tendency to stick to solutions that have worked in the pastcan result in less effective problem solvingEvaluating the ResultsThe final stage of problem solvingCan lead to the development of additional problem solving principles that may be applicable to future problems ProblemSolving SchemasProblem solving schemasmental blueprints or steps for solving specialized classes of problemsOnce problem solving schemas are mastered we do not have to engage in a step by step process we know what to doExperts rely on schemas they have developed through experienceExperts have developed a great many schemas to guide problem solving in their field The development of expertise leads to alterations in brain functioning that increases processing efficiencyAlgorithms and HeuristicsAlgorithmsformulas or procedures that automatically generate correct solutions Ex MathHeuristicsgeneral problem solving strategies that we apply to certain classes of situations Mental shortcuts that may not provide the right solution Meansends analysisa heuristicidentify differences between the present situation and ones desired state or goal and then make changes that will reduce these differences Meansends analysis often uses another heuristicsubgoal analysisimmediate steps towards a solutionHeuristics are also used for judgment making and decision makingUncertainty Heuristics and Decision MakingThe representative heuristicWe use the representativeness heuristics to infer how closely something or someone fits our prototype for a particular concept or class and therefore how likely it is to be a member of that class The availability heuristic
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