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Chapter 9

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Psychology 1000

CHAPTER 9: THOUGHT, LANGUAGE, and INTELLIGENCE > LANGUAGE - evolutionary theorists believe that language evolved as humans gathered to form larger social units The Nature and Structure of Language - Language: a system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that con produce an almost infinite number of possible messages or meanings - Three properties: o Language is symbolic: uses sounds, written signs, or gestures  Displacement: past, future, and imaginary events and objects that are not physically present can be symbolically represented o Language has a structure: has rules that govern how symbols can be combined to create meaningful communication units o Language is generative: symbols can be combined to generate an almost infinite number of messages that can have novel meaning Surface and Deep Structure - Psycholinguists: study the psychological properties of language and the underlying mechanisms that produce it - Surface structure: the way symbols are combined within a given language  rules for these combinations is syntax: rules of grammar - Deep structure: the underlying meaning of the combined symbols  the rules for connecting the symbols to what they represent are known as semantics - Recall deep structure easier than surface structure (meaning over specific words) Language from the Bottom Up - Phonemes: the smallest units of sound that are recognized as separate in a language  English uses about 46 - Capable of producing hundreds, but most languages use 40-50 - Morphemes: the smallest units of meaning in a language  prefixes and suffixes - More than 100,000 morphemes which can form nearly 500,000 words Acquiring a Language Biological Foundations - children, despite limited thinking skills, begin to master language early in life without any formal instruction - despite differences at the phoneme level, languages developed all over the world seem to have common underlying deep structure - in between 1 and 3 months, children vocalize the entire range of phonemes found in all the world’s languages  called “cooing” - at around 6 months, they make sounds of their native tongue, and stop making the phoneme sounds of other languages  called babbling - sensitive period during which language is most easily learned  infancy-puberty - language deprived children who were found past puberty seemed unable to acquire normal language skills Sex Differences - Broca’s area  speech production - Wernicke’s area  speech comprehension - Aphasia  a disruption in speech comprehension and/or production 1 - Men who suffer left hemisphere strokes are more likely to show aphasia o Women’s language function is shared between left and right hemisphere Social Learning Process - motherese  a high-pitched intonation that seems to be used all over the world - parents teach by pointing out objects and naming them - Skinner  operant conditioning explanation  children’s language development is strongly governed by adults reinforcing appropriate language and vice versa o No longer believed b/c it has been found that parents typically do not correct their children’s grammar, rather focus on the “truth value” - by second year of life, children utter two-word sentences called telegraphic speech, that consist of a noun and a verb (want cookie) Bilingualism - vocab of a language can be learned at any age, but mastery of the syntax and grammar depends on early acquisition - bilingual children show superior cognitive processing over monolingual ppl and, show enhanced performance on tasks that require control of attention Linguistic Influences on Thinking - Whorf  linguistic relativity hypothesis  language not only influences, but determines what we are capable of thinking - linguists today disagree  say language can influence how we think, how efficiently we can categorize our experiences, and the detail we put into them - propositional thought: verbal sentences we hear in our minds - imaginal thought: consists of images we see, hear, or feel, in our mind - motoric thought: mental representations of motor movements Concepts and Propositions - much of our thinking is in the form of propositions: statements that express facts - propositions are combinations of concepts  usually one subject, one predicate - concepts: basic units of semantic memory – mental categories into which we place objects, activities, abstractions, and events - may concepts are defined by prototypes: the most typical and familiar members of the class > REASONING AND PROBLEM SOLVING Reasoning - deductive reasoning: from general principals to a conclusion  “top-down” o given a proposition, if X then Y, if X occurs, you can infer Y  syllogism - inductive reasoning: from specific facts to a general principal  “bottom-up” o certain to be correct if the premises are true, but leads to likelihood rather than certainty - belief bias: the tendency to abandon logical rules in favour of our personal belief Problem Solving Stages of Problem Solving 1. Interpret (frame) and understand the problem 2. Generate hypotheses or possible solutions 3. Test the solutions seeking to disconfirm one or more of them 2 4. Evaluate results and, if necessary, revise steps 1, 2, or 3 Problem Solving Schemas - problem-solving schemas: step-by-step scripts for selecting info and solving specialized classes of problems - experts develop schemas to guide problem solving, and are better at recognizing when to apply each schema - novices who don’t have schemas must solve problems using working memory - expertise is accompanied by alterations in brain functioning that increase processing efficiency  “expert neurons” Algorithms and Heuristics - Algorithms: formulas or procedures that automatically generate a correct solution - Heuristics: general problem solving strategies that are quick and easy similar to rules of thumb  mental shortcuts that compare the present facts with some concept or schema that seems applicable to the current situation - Means-end analysis: a heuristic  identity differences between the present situation and one’s desired state, or goal, and then make changes that will reduce these differences - Subgoal analysis: attack a large problem by formulating intermediate steps towards a solution - Representativeness heuristic: use to infer how closely something or someone fits into our prototype for a particular class, and therefore how likely it is to be a member of that class - Availability heuristic: causes us to base judgments and decisions on the availability of information in our memory Conformation Bias - Conformation bias: the tendency to look for evidence that will confirm what you currently believe, rather than looking for evidence that will disprove your beliefs > INTELLIGENCE - Intelligence: a concept, that refers to the ability to acquire knowledge, to think and reason effectively, and to deal adaptively with the environment
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