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Chapter 9

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Benjamin Lee Whorf, Eleanor Rosch, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Laura Fazakas- De Hoog

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Chapter 9
- mental representation - cognitive representations of the world, including images, ideas,
concepts, and principles, that are the foundations of thinking and problem solving
- displacement - refers to fact that past, present, future, and imaginary events and objects
that are not physically present can be symbolically represented and communicated through
the medium of language
- language is symbolic, has structure, and is generative
- surface structure - consists of the way symbols are combined within a given language
- rules for these combinations are syntax (rules of grammar)
- deep structure - refers to the underlying meaning of the combined symbols
- semantics - rules for connecting the symbols to what they represent
- phonemes - smallest units of sound that are recognized as separate in a given language
- English uses about 46 phonemes
- morphemes - smallest units of meaning in a language (syllables)
- language-deprived children found at 6 years old seemed to be able to develop normal
language abilities
- language-deprived children past puberty seemed to be unable to acquire normal language
- Broca's area - located in left hemisphere's frontal lobe - is involved in speech production
- Wernicke's area - in rear portion of temporal lobe - is involved in speech comprehension
- those suffering with damages in one or both areas suffer from aphasia (a disruption in
speech comprehension and/or production)
- telegraphic speech - two-word sentences that consists of a noun and a verb
- linguistic relativity hypothesis - the idea, suggested by Benjamin Whorf, that people's
language determines the ways in which they perceive and think about their world
- to date, most linguists do not agree with Whorf
- Whorf thinks language determines how we think
- argued that language instead can influence how we think, how we efficiently
categorize our experiences, how much detail we attend to our daily experience
- language can create and maintain stereotypes
- ex: using gender neutral words VS using "he", "men"
- how one encodes information affects perception and memory in important ways
- Asian languages facilitate development of mathematical skills
- learn from a base-10 mode of thinking
- propositional thought - statement that expresses an idea in subject-predicate form
- imaginal thought - a form of thinking that uses images that can be from any sense
- motoric thought - mental representations of motor movements (such as throwing an
- prototypes - most typical and familiar member of a class of things
- Eleanor Rosch suggests people often decide which category something belongs to
based on its degree of resemblance to the prototype
- reasoning
(A) deductive reasoning
- reason from the "top down"
- general principles to specific cases
- basis of formal mathematics and logic
- if X then Y, if X occurs, then you can infer Y
- conclusions are true if premises are true
(B) inductive reasoning
- reason from the "bottom up"
- start with specific facts and develop a general principle
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- leads to likelihood rather than certainty
- hypothetico-deductive approach to scientific theory building - if results from experimental
tests do not support hypotheses, conclude explanation or theory cannot be correct and must
be revised or discarded
Stumbling Blocks in Reasoning - unsuccessful deductive reasoning can result from:
- distraction by irrelevant information - not focusing on relevant information and take
into account the irrelevant that leads them astray
- failure to apply deductive rules - learned use of general problem-solving methods (like
formal logic and mathematical formulas) are usually used in certain situations and one failed
to apply them to new problems
- belief bias - tendency to abandon logical rules in favour of our personal beliefs - many
confuse factual correctness with logical correctness
Stages of problem-solving
1 - interpret (frame) and understand the problem
2 - generate hypotheses or possible solutions
3 - test the solutions, hypotheses, seeking to disconfirm one or more of them
4 - evaluate results and, if necessary, revise steps 1, 2, or 3
- heuristics - general problem-solving strategies that we apply to certain classes of
situations - mental shortcuts
- means-ends analysis - identify differences between present situation and one's
desired state or goal, then make changes that will reduce these differences
- subgoal analysis - a problem-solving heuristic in which people attack a large
problem by formulating subgoals, or intermediate steps toward a solution
- representativeness heuristic - a guide in estimating the probability that an object or
event belongs to a certain category based on the extent to which it represents a prototype
of that category
- availability heuristic - a guideline used to make likelihood judgements based on how
easily examples of that category of events come to mind, or are "available" in memory
- confirmation bias - tendency to look for evidence that will confirm what they currently
believe, rather than looking for evidence that could disconfirm their beliefs
Intelligence in Historical Perspective
(1) Sir Francis Galton: Quantifying Mental Ability
- study showing eminence and genius seemed to occur across generations within certain
- approach to mental skills measurement fell into disfavour because his measures of
"nervous system efficiency" proved unrelated to socially relevant measures of mental ability
(like academic and occupational success)
- did set the stage for Alfred Binet
(2) Alfred Binet's Mental Test
- forerunner of all modern "intelligence tests"
- certain children not benefitting from public schooling - educators wanted objective
way to identify these children earlier on to be able to create specialized education
- created test to see if children were performing at correct mental level for their age
- mental age - the mental level or age at which a child is performing as determined by a
"standardized interview" in which the child responds to a series of questions
- William Stern expanded concept of mental age to provide relative score
- intelligence quotient (IQ) - an IQ of 100 indicates individual's average for his or
her age group - scores today now based on norms derived from people of various ages
- IQ = (mental age/chronological age) x 100
- today's tests do not use concept of mental age
- deviation IQ - standardized distance or deviation a score is above or below the
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