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Chapter 5

PSYC14H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Analytic Reasoning, Parenting Styles

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Sisi Tran

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Chapter 5: Development and Socialization
Main topic of this chapter: People acquire their culture through socialization
Humans are not born with cultural knowledge and skills, we must learn them
- We have different biological potentials that enable us to learn them well
- Our universal biological foundation is shaped by our experiences, such that we are able
to thrive in an extremely broad array of cultural environments
- All humans have been socialized into some kind of cultural environment that influences
how they perceive and understand themselves and their worlds
Sensitive period: is a period of time in an organism’s development that allows for the relatively
easy acquisition of a set of skills
- If an organism misses that chance to acquire those skills, it would have a difficult time
doing so later, after the sensitive period has expired
- Human cultural learning continues throughout the lifespan, although the developmental
trajectory of learning can vary across cultures
- Most species go through a critical developmental transition from emphasizing the
acquisition of new skills to emphasizing the specialization and the exploitation of the
skills that have already been acquired these developmental transitions indicate the
existence of a sensitive period
Sensitive Periods for Language Acquisition
- One source of evidence: people’s abilities to discriminate among different sounds
o Humans are capable of recognizing 150 phonemes in communication; however,
no language uses more than 70 of them
o It’s easier to understand an utterance if we can recognize that any sound that
falls within a particular range is ‘la’, and that any sound that falls within a slightly
different range is ‘ra’
If we did not perceive sounds categorically, we would have a most
difficult time understanding the sounds that we hear
Begins within the first year of life
o Early in life (before puberty) our brains are especially pliable for organizing
themselves in response to language input. Later on, however, our brains are not
As a result, humans are better at acquiring and mastering languages early
in life, but this capacity declines with age, especially with respect to
aspect such as accent and grammar
- Another source of evidence: early in life the language center of the brian is quite
flexible at attuning itself to various kinds of linguistic input
o fMRI studies with bilingual people who learned their second language later in life
vs. early in life. Results showed that in the bilinguals who learned their second
language later in life have another area in the Broca’s area light up than their
native language, however, for bilinguals who learned their second language early
in life have the same area light up in Broca’s area for both languages.
- We are born biologically to learn a language, and our early experiences determine how
our minds process the different kinds of human speech we later encounter
Sensitive Periods for Acquiring Culture
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