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PSYC 3440 (22)
Caron Bell (10)
Chapter 6

Cognitive Development - Chapter 6 summary

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PSYC 3440
Caron Bell

Cognitive Development Chapter 6 Language DevelopmentGeneral Issues Regarding Language Development Is Language SpecialMajority of children learn language rapidly and wellNoam Chomsky 1972 believed children learned so rapidly because people possess a language organ that allows them to acquire language easilyo He proposed that the language organ embodies innate knowledge of aspects of grammar that apply across all the worlds languages known as universal grammarMacWhinney 2002 says that the capacity to learn language has evolved over a period of 6 million years o During this period evolution has occurred not only in the brain structures specifically relevant to language learning but also in more general cognitive capacities in the social structure of primate groups which led to a need for more refined systems of communication o In his view he thinks language is special because language learning emerges from a unique and complex interplay of neural cognitive and social factors that have gradually evolved over historical timeSpecial characteristics of language acquisition o Its universalityOccurs quickly across a wide range of environments o Selfmotivating propertiesChildren have an interest in language to master a very complex system in a relatively short time o Its relation to disorders that affect thinking Down Syndrome Williams SyndromeChildren with both syndromes tend to have IQs that are much lower than normalLanguage skills of children with Williams Syndrome tends to be much better than those of children with Down SyndromeChildren with Williams Syndrome score higher than would be expected from their IQs on many tests of vocabulary and complex syntaxSome adults with Williams Syndrome speak well enough that they could be mistaken for typical adultsDoesnt happen with children with Down Syndrome but these children succeed on Piagetian tasks designed to measure reasoning such as number conservation and class inclusion that children with Williams Syndrome failCriticisms of Chomskys claim that children have innate knowledge of a universal grammar o Evidence for the existence of universal grammar is weak
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