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psych102-Ch9-Language and Thinking.docx

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PSYC 102
A.George Alder

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Chapter 9: Language and Thinking Mental representations- cognitive representations of the world, including images, ideas, concepts, and principles, that are foundations of thinking, problem solving, and reasoning *Much of thinking, reasoning, and problem solving involves language Language- consists of system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that can generate infinite number of possible msgs and meanings  Every language share same underlying features (refer to 5 properties of language) Psycholinguistics- scientific study of psychological aspects of language like how ppl understand,produce and acquire language. Adaptive functions of language  Over course of evolution, humans adopted socially oriented lifestyle that helped survival and reproduction (huamns evolved an innate capacity for acquiring language)  Theorists believe language evolved as ppl formed larger social units, where social env’t became more complex, need to divide labor, cooperative social systems, social customs and communicating thoughts, and passing down knowledge and wisdom  Conscious thinking takes form of self-talk or inner speech using language  Language allows sharing of thoughts, feelings, goals, intentions, desires, needs, and memories w/ other ppl (interacting socially in rich and diverse ways)  Language= powerful learning mechanism  5 properties of language: symbols, structure, meaning, generativity, and displacement Language is symbolic and structured  Language uses sounds, written characters, or other symbols (e.g hand sign) to represent objects, events, ideas, feelings, and actions Grammar- set of rules that dictate how symbols can be combined to create meaningful units of communication (language is rule-governed structure) Syntax- rules that govern order of words Language Conveys Meaning Semantics- meaning of words and sentences Language is Generative and Permits Displacement Generativity- where symbols of language can be combined to generate an infinite number of messages that have novel meaning (e.g alphabet forms words to form sentences) Displacement- fact that language allows communication about events and that aren’t physically present The structure of language Surface structure- linguistic term for words and organization of spoken or written sentence; two sentences with diff surface may still mean the same thing  Consists of symbols that are used and their order  E.g sam ate cake, cake eaten by sam Deep structure- underlying meaning of combined symbols (similar to semantics) *Sentences w/ diff surface structures can have same deep structure, and sometimes single surface structure can mean 2 diff deep structures (e.g police must stop drinking after midnight) Hierarchical Structure of Language Human language has hierarchical structure Phoneme- smallest unit of speech sound in language that can signal a diff in meaning (e.g d,z,th)  Phonemes have no inherent meaning until combined w/ other elements Morphemes- smallest units of meaning in a language- including prefixes/suffices (pre-,un-,-ed, s) Discourse- where sentences are combined into paragraphs, articles, books, convo’s, etc (higher lvl of combos of sentences) Understanding and Producing Language Context is key role in understanding language (e.g express scripts – pressgrits) Understanding + producing language (pattern recognition, hierarchical structures) involve: Bottom-up processing- individual elements of a stimulus are analyzed and then combined to form unified perception (e.g analyzing hierarchical structure of spoken language as set of building blocks using phonemes  morphemes  words  phrases  sentences  discourse) Top-down processing- sensory info is interpreted in light of existing knowledge, concepts, ideas, and expectations Speech segmentation- perceiving where each word within spoken sentence begins and ends  Auditory breaks in speech dont correspond to physical breaks(spaces) in written sentences  We use several cues to tell when spoken word ends and another begins (e.g certain phonemes unlikely to occur within same words, and using context to identify individual words) Pragmatics- knowledge of practical aspects of using language  Language occurs in social context  Pragmatic knowledge help understand what ppl and we are communicating  E.g do you have the time? (can mean actual clock time or availability to help out)  Social rules guide communication between people (e.g wouldn’t speak to prof the way to friends) Language functions, the brain, and sex diff Left hemisphere frontal lobe  broca’s area = word production and articulation Rear portion of temporal lobe  wernicke’s area = speech comprehension Visual area of cortex also involved in recognizing written words Aphasia- impairment in speech comprehension and/or production that may be permanent or temporary, caused by dmg to one or both of broca’s or wernicke’s area Male left-hem dmg  severe aphasic symptoms Female left-hem dmg  language not effected b/c language is both left-hem and right-hem for ladies Acquiring a first language Language acquisition represents joint influences of biology (nature) and env’t (nurture) Young infants can perceive entire range of phonemes found in world’s languages, and discriminate between them at 6-12months old (to their native tongue). By 4-5, they learn basic grammatical rules for combining words into meaningful sentences Language acquisition device (LAD)- innate biological mechanism that contains general grammatical rules (universal grammar) common to all languages  Proposed by Noam Chomsky that every human is born w/ LAD  universal grammar is calibrated to grammar and syntax of native language Language acquisition support system (LASS)- factors in social env’t that facilitate learning of language  Proposed by jerome bruner  E.g pointing at objects and naming it, or child-directed speech (baby talk from parent) *LAD and LASS interact where normal language development occurs Children progress from reflexive crying at birth thru cooing, babbling and one-word utters Telegraphic speech- consists of noun + verb (e.g want cookie) ; starts at 2y/o Seems to be a sensitive period where theres importance of early language exposure (before puberty) *Language development depends on innate mechanisms that permit learning and production of language, provided that child is exposed to appropriate linguistic env’t during SENSITIVE period extending from early childhood to puberty Bilingualism: learning a second language  Second language learned/spoken best most fluently when learned during sensitive period of childhood  vocab can be learned at any age, but grammar+syntax must be early acquisition  Seems that bilingual children show better cognitive processing compared to monolingual peers, and can focus better on perceptual tasks and ignore irrelevant features of object to pay attention to another. They have higher flexibility in thinking and better performance on intelligence tests.  Fobs learn best when taught in both native and new language, making them less likely to drop out and develops high self-esteem, better academic performance and eng fluency  Second language learned best during sensitive period extending thru mid-adolescence. Either way, acquiring second language is easier during childhood than adulthood Linguistic Influences on Thinking Linguistic relativity hypothesis- language influences and determines what we are capable of thinking  By Benjamin Lee Whorf  But most psycholinguists say that language doesn’t DETERMINE how we think, but just influence how we think, categorize info, attend to daily exp’s, perceptions, decisions, and conclusions Language can help create and maintain stereotypes (and gender biases) *Language influences how WELL (effectively) we think too. (Asian better at math b/c words+symbols has more conceptual relation so easier to rmb the base-10 number system like 12=ten two) *When ppl acquire second language early in life or high degree of proficiency later in life, both languages share common neural network *Expansion of vocabs allow ppl to encode and process info in sophisticated ways THINKING: Thought, braind and mind  Many brain regions and connecting circuits join in unified activity to become conscious thought or perception. So thought exists as patterns of neural activity! Propositional thought- thinking that takes the form of verbal sentences that we say or hear in our minds  Expresses proposition or statement (e.g Im hungry) Imaginal thought- consists of images that we can see, hear, or feel in our mind Motoric thought- mental representations of motor movements (e.g throwing object) *All 3 modes of thinking influence ability to reason, solve probs, and engage in intelligent behavior Concepts and Propositions Propositions- statements that express ideas  Much of our thinking occurs in this form  All propositions consist of concepts combined in particular way o E.g college students are intelligent ppl (college students , intelligent ppl) Concepts- basic uni
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