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Chapter 10

PSYA02H3 – Chapter 10 Notes.doc

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PSYA02H3 – Chapter Ten Notes
Language – symbols used to express many meanings
Many species can communicate but that does not mean they have language
True verbal ability is a social behavior (language for humans)
Use language for communication and a told for remembering and thinking
Psycholinguistics: a branch of psychology devoted to the study of verbal behaviour
They focus more on human cognition than rules that describe language like
Speech and Comprehension
Listening and reading allows us to profit from experiences of others (even the
Talking and writing allows us to share our own experiences with others
Perception of Speech
When speaking, we maintain a regular rhythmic pattern of stress
Speech does not come to us as a series of individual words; we must extract the
words from a stream of speech
We are able to distinguish an individuals speech from other sounds in their
vocalization such as coughs and chuckles
The auditory system recognizes patterns underlying speech rather than the sounds
Using fMRI scans, it was founded that some regions of the brain responded more
when people heard human vocalization than when they heard only natural sounds,
which was evident in both sides of the brain in the temporal lobe, on the auditory
The auditory area on the left hemisphere shows a grater contrast in response
(plays a larger role in analyzing detailed info on speech – beginning with
Phoneme: The minimum unit of sound that conveys meaning in a particular language,
such as /p/
Voice-onset time: the delay between the initial sound of a consonant (such as the puffing
sound of the phoneme /p/) and the onset of vibration of the vocal cords
This can be tested by seeing the difference between pa and ba
Regions of the left auditory cortex seem to specialize in recognizing the special
aspects of speech
Dark brown regions: respond to phonetic information (intelligible)
Light brown regions: respond to intelligible speech
Ganong conducted an experiment where he found that the perception of a
phoneme is affected by the sounds that follow it. Between /k/ and /g/, participants
heard gift after –ift and kiss after –iss
We recognize speech sounds in pieces larger than individual phonemes
Morpheme: the smallest unit of meaning in language
Morphemes are divided in free (fast) and bound (-est) morphemes
Morphemes affect how well people perform on the Stroop test (naming colour in
which each word is printed, ignoring the what the words says)
In an experiment conducted by Sanders and her colleagues, they found that when
people learned nonsense sounds as words, they showed the N100 response-
despite the fact that there were no additional auditory cues to segment the string
of sounds
Context affects the perception of words through top-down processing, which is
why we are able to recognizes the sounds despite sloppy pronunciation, muffled
sounds and hesitation
We also use our environment as a cue to understand a person’s speech sounds (ex,
someone in an ice cream shop says “I scream” you will probably hear “ice cream”
Understanding of the Meaning of Speech
If want a listener to understand us, we must follow the rules of language
Syntactical rule: a grammatical rule of a particular language for combining words to
form phrases, clauses and sentences
Our understanding of syntax is automatic, however our brains behave differently
when we encounter more difficult syntax (more active)
The ability to talk about these rules is not needed to speak or understand the
speech of others
Syntactical cues cues we attend to in trying to understand things people say) are
signaled by: (6 points)
oWord order – tells use who did what to whom (in English)
oWord class – lexical categories that don’t need to be learned to identify
what the word refers to
oFunction and content words – people with damages to the brain can lose
their ability to comprehend syntax
Function word: a preposition, article or other word that conveys little of the meaning of
a sentence but is important in specifying its grammatical structure
Content word: a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb that conveys meaning
oAffixes – the addiction of affixes made words more like a sentence and
they thus become easier to categorize and recall
Affix: a sound or group of letters that is added to the beginning of a word (prefix) or to its
end (suffix)
oWord meanings – in some cases, syntax can be ambiguous and also we
can understand the meaning of sentences even if the function words are
Semantics: the meanings and the study of the meanings represented by words
oProsody – very important, especially when much of our communication

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PSYA02H3 – Chapter Ten Notes  Language  • Language – symbols used to express many meanings  • Many species can communicate but that does not mean they have language  • True verbal ability is a social behavior (language for humans)  • Use language for communication and a told for remembering and thinking  Psycholinguistics: a branch of psychology devoted to the study of verbal behaviour  • They focus more on human cognition than rules that describe language like  linguists  Speech and Comprehension  • Listening and reading allows us to profit from experiences of others (even the  deceased) • Talking and writing allows us to share our own experiences with others Perception of Speech  • When speaking, we maintain a regular rhythmic pattern of stress  • Speech does not come to us as a series of individual words; we must extract the  words from a stream of speech  • We are able to distinguish an individuals speech from other sounds in their  vocalization such as coughs and chuckles  • The auditory system recognizes patterns underlying speech rather than the sounds  themselves  • Using fMRI scans, it was founded that some regions of the brain responded more  when people heard human vocalization than when they heard only natural sounds,  which was evident in both sides of the brain in the temporal lobe, on the auditory  cortex • The auditory area on the left hemisphere shows a grater contrast in response  (plays a larger role in analyzing detailed info on speech – beginning with  phonemes) Phoneme: The minimum unit of sound that conveys meaning in a particular language,  such as /p/ Voice­onset time: the delay between the initial sound of a consonant (such as the puffing  sound of the phoneme /p/) and the onset of vibration of the vocal cords  • This can be tested by seeing the difference between pa and ba  • Regions of the left auditory cortex seem to specialize in recognizing the special  aspects of speech  • Dark brown regions: respond to phonetic information (intelligible) • Light brown regions: respond to intelligible speech  • Ganong conducted an experiment where he found that the perception of a  phoneme is affected by the sounds that follow it. Between /k/ and /g/, participants  heard gift after –ift and kiss after –iss • We recognize speech sounds in pieces larger than individual phonemes  Morpheme: the smallest unit of meaning in language  • Morphemes are divided in free (fast) and bound (­est) morphemes  • Morphemes affect how well people perform on the Stroop test (naming colour in  which each word is printed, ignoring the what the words says) • In an experiment conducted by Sanders and her colleagues, they found that when  people learned nonsense sounds as words, they showed the N100 response­  despite the fact that there were no additional auditory cues to segment the string  of sounds  • Context affects the perception of words through top­down processing, which is  why we are able to recognizes the sounds despite sloppy pronunciation, muffled  sounds and hesitation • We also use our environment as a cue to understand a person’s speech sounds (ex,  someone in an ice cream shop says “I scream” you will probably hear “ice cream”  instead) Understanding of the Meaning of Speech  • If want a listener to understand us, we must follow the rules of language  Syntactical rule: a grammatical rule of a particular language for combining words to  form phrases, clauses and sentences  • Our understanding of syntax is automatic, however our brains behave differently  when we encounter more difficult syntax (more active) • The ability to talk about these rules is not needed to speak or understand the  speech of others  • Syntactical cues cues we attend to in trying to understand things people say) are  signaled by: (6 points) o Word order – tells use who did what to whom (in English)  o Word class – lexical categories that don’t need to be learned to identify  what the word refers to  o Function and content words – people with damages to the brain can lose  their ability to comprehend syntax Function word: a preposition, article or other word that conveys little of the meaning of  a sentence but is important in specifying its grammatical structure  Content word: a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb that conveys meaning o Affixes – the addiction of affixes made words more like a sentence and  they thus become easier to categorize and recall  Affix: a sound or group of letters that is added to the beginning of a word (prefix) or to its  end (suffix) o Word meanings – in some cases, syntax can be ambiguous and also we  can understand the meaning of sentences even if the function words are  removed  Semantics: the meanings and the study of the meanings represented by words  o Prosody – very important, especially when much of our communication  relies on spoken forms  Prosody: the use of changes in intonation and emphasis to convey meaning in speech  besides that specified by the particular words, an important means of communication of  emotion  • Noam Chomsky (a note linguist) suggested that newly formed sentence are  represented in our brain in terms of their meaning (what the person intended to  say) – deep structure • This is then transformed into a surface structure   Deep structure: the essential meaning of a sentence, without regard to the grammatical  features (surface structure) of the sentence that are needed to express it in words  Surface structure: the grammatical features of a sentence • People with conduction aphasia have difficulty repeating words or phrases, but  they understand them. They retain deep structures but no surface structures of  other people’s speech  Scripts: the chara
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