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Chapter 9

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Psychology 1000

Humans have a remarkable ability to create mental representations – include images, ideas, concepts, and principles. Language: concsists of a system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that can generate an infinite number of possible messages and meanings. Psycholinguistics: scientific study of the psychological aspect of language, such as how people understand, produce and acquire language. Adaptive Functions of Language: some evolutionary theorists believe that the use of language evolved as people gathered to form larger social units. As the social environment became more complex, new survival problems emerged: the needed to create divisions of labour and cooperative social systems, to develop social customs, communicate thoughts, and to pass on knowledge and wisdom. Language also is an extremely powerful learning mechanism. Properties of Language: Language is symbolic and structured: language uses sounds, written characters, or some other system of sysbols to represent objects, events, ideas, feelings and actions. Symbols used in any given language are arbitrary. - Grammar: is a set of rules that dictate how symbols can be
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