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Chapter 9

PSYC 3F20 Chapter 9: CHAPTER 9


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3F20
Professor
Andrew Dane
Chapter
9

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CHAPTER 9: Cognition, Language, Creativity, and Intelligence
Cognition: the process of thinking or mentally processing information
(images, concepts, rules etc.)
Some Basic Units of Thought
Thinking is an
internal representation
(mental expression) of a
problem or situation
Images: a mental representation that has picture like qualities (in
relation to thinking)
Concept: a generalized idea representing a category or related
objects or events
Language: words or symbols, and rules for combining them, that
are used for thinking and communication
Thinking often involves all three concepts
Mental Imagery
Synaesthesia
- a rare form of imagery in which images cross
normal sensory boundaries, such as pain being the colour orange
Mental images are used to make decisions, change feelings,
improve skills or prepare for an action and aid memory
The Nature of Mental Images
Mental images are not +at, and can be mentally rotated based on
imaginary movements
Reverse Vision
Vision- information from the eyes activates the brain’s primary
visual area, creating an image, then other brain areas help to
recognize the image by relating it to prior knowledge
This system works in reverse when creating a mental image
(brain areas where memories are stored send signals back to the
visual cortex, where an image is created)
Using Mental Images
Stored images apply past experiences to problem solving
Created images are assembled and invented within the brain
People with good imaging abilities score higher on creativity
tests
Kinesthetic Imagery
Kinesthetic images
are created from muscular sensations and
help us think about movements and actions
People with good kinesthetic imagery (or high
bodily-kinesthetic
intelligence
) learn skills such as dance, music, sports etc. faster
than those with poor imagery
Concepts
Forming Concepts

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Concept formation: the process of classifying information into
meaningful categories
Concept formation is based on
positive
and
negative instances
(examples that belong, and do not belong, to that concept class)
A
conceptual rule
is a guideline for deciding whether objects or
events belong to a concept class (examples are also important)
Types of Concepts
Conjunctive concepts: a class of objects that have two or more
features in common (must this this feature
and
this feature)
Relational concepts: a concept de5ned by the relationship
between features of an object or between an object and its
surroundings (in relation to…)
Disjunctive concepts: a concept de5ned by the presence of at
least one of several possible features (either a feature
or
another
feature)
Prototypes
In addition to rules and features, we use prototypes (an ideal
model used as a prime example of a particular concept)
Faulty Concepts
For example,
social stereotypes
are oversimpli5ed concepts of
groups of people
A problem related to faulty concepts is
all or nothing thinking
(one-dimensional thought)
Connotative Meaning
Denotative meaning: the exact dictionary de5nition of a word or
concept, or the objective meaning
Connotative meaning: thee subjective, personal, or emotion
meaning of a word or concept
Connotative meanings can be measured with a technique called
semantic di8erential
, which often boils down meanings to
good/bad, strong/weak and active/passive
Language
Words
encode
the world into mental symbols that are easy to
manipulate
Semantics: the study of meanings in words and language
Words obtain much of their meaning through
context
Language plays a role in de5ning ethnic communities and social
groups (bilingualism: an ability to speak two languages, two-way
bilingual education: a program in which English-speaking children
and children with limited English pro5ciency are taught half the
day in English and half in a second language)
The Structure of Language
A language must provide
symbols
that stand for objects and
ideas

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Words are built from phonemes (basic speech sounds) and
morphemes (speech sounds collected into meaningful units such
as syllables or words)
Language must have grammar (a set of rules for combining
language units into meaningful speech or writing) such as syntax
(rules for ordering words when forming sentences)
Traditional grammar focuses on surface language
We can actively create sentences by applying transformational
rules (rules by which a simple declarative sentences may be
changed to other voices or forms such as past tense, passive
voice etc)
Language is also
productive
, meaning it can generate new
thoughts or ideas
Gestural Languages
Language is not limited to speech
ASL (American Sign Language) is a true language which has
spatial
grammar, syntax and semantic
Signing children pass through the same stages of language
development as speaking children do
Speech evolved from gestures, which explains why hand
gestures often accompany speech and why same brain areas
become active when a person speaks or signs
The Animal Language Debate
Animals do communicate, but with broad and limited meanings
Chimp named Washoe learned ASL
There is a di8erence between communication and language, for
example, animals have no concept of syntax
Lexigrams
- geometric words symbols
Problem Solving
Mechanical Solutions
Mechanical solution: a problem solution achieved by trial and
error or by a 5xed procedure based on learned rules
When a problem is solved by a
rote,
thinking is guided by an
algorithm (a learned set of rules that always leads to the correct
solution of a problem)
Solutions by Understanding
Understanding: in problem solving, a deeper comprehension of
the nature of the problem
General solution: a solution that correctly states the
requirements for success but not enough detail for further action
Functional solution: a detailed, practical and workable solution
Heuristics
Solving a problem usually requires a strategy, if the number of
alternatives is small, a random search strategy will work (trying
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