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Chapter 9

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Psychology 1000

Psychology 1000: Chapter 9 – Thought, Language, and Intelligence Language: a system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that can produce an almost infinite number of possible messages or meanings Three critical properties essential to any language: 1. Is symbolic: uses signs or gestures to refer to objects, events, ideas, and feelings 2. Has structure: rules that govern how symbols can be combined to create meaningful communication units 3. Is generative: symbols can be combined to generate an almost infinite number of messages that can have novel meaning Displacement: past, future, and imaginary events and objects that are not physically present can be symbolically represented and communicated through the medium of language Psycholinguists: study the psychological properties of language and the underlying mechanisms that produce it Language has a surface structure and a deep structure - Surface Structure: the way symbols are combined within a given language o Syntax: the rules for combination of symbols of a language (grammar); order is important - Deep Structure: the underlying meaning of the combined symbols Semantics: the rules for connecting the symbols to what they represent; meaning Phonological Ambiguity: confusion of sounds Lexical Ambiguity: confusion or double meaning of words Semantic Ambiguity: confusion in meaning of words Language Structure: from the bottom up Phonemes: the smallest units of sound that are recognized as separate in a given language Morphemes: phonemes are combined into the smallest units of meaning in a language (ex. Hat, sick) Morphemes form words, which form phrases, and then form sentences Biological Foundations of Language: human children learn language without any formal instruction Social Learning Processes: parents speak to children, and teach them words by pointing objects out and naming them Telegraphic Speech: consists of a noun and a verb (ex. want cookie) Bilingualism: Easiest when learned during the sensitive period of childhood: from infancy to puberty Linguistic Influences on Thinking: Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis: language not only influences, but also determines what we are capable of thinking Propositional Thought: mode of thought that takes the form of verbal sentences that we “hear” in our minds Imaginal Thought: consists of images that we can see, hear, or feel in our mind Motoric Thought: mental representations of motor movements, such as throwing an object Concepts and Propositions: Propositions: statements that express facts—consist of concepts combined n a particular way Concepts: basic units of semantic memory—mental categories into which we place objects, activities, abstractions, and events that have essential features in common Prototypes: define concepts Reasoning and Problem Solving: Reasoning: Two types; deductive and inductive - Deductive Reasoning: reason from top-down - from general principles to a conclusion about a specific case - Inductive Reasoning: reason from bottom-up – from specific facts to developing a general principle - Deductive conclusions are certain to be correct if the premises are true, but inductive reasoning leads to likelihood, not certainty Interferences with Reasoning: many factors prevent us from selecting the information needed to draw conclusions - Distraction by irrelevant information - Failure to apply deductive rules - Belief Bias: the tendency to abandon logical rules in favour of our own personal beliefs Problem Solving: people systematically use inductive and deductive reasoning to solve problems Four Stages of Problem Solving: 1. Understanding of Framing the Problem: how we mentally represent or frame a problem can make a difference 2. Generating Potential Solutions: once the problem is identified, begin to formulate potential solutions 3. Testing the Solutions: make a test and evaluate the explanations in light of the evidence from the test Mental set: the tendency to stick to solutions that have worked in the past—less effective 4. Evaluating Results: evaluate the solutions Problem-Solving Schemas: employing shortcut problem-solving methods that apply to specific situations Algorithms: formulas or procedures that automatically generate correct solutions (ex. mathematical formulas) Heuristics: general problem-solving strategies that we apply to certain classes of situations Means-Ends Analysis: an example of a heuristic—identify differences between the present stimulation and one’s desired state, or goal, and then make changes that will reduce these differences Subgoal Analysis: formulating subgoals or intermediate steps toward a solution Representative Heuristic: to infer how closely something or someone fits are prototype for a particular concept, or 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 the memory Confirmation Bias: People tend to look for evidence that will confirm what they currently believe, rather than looking for evidence that could disconfirm their beliefs - Can occur when the hypotheses tested does not relate to a strong personal belief Intelligence: a concept, or construct, that refers to the ability to acquire knowledge, to think and reason effectively, and to deal adaptively with the environment Intelligence in Historical Perspective: th Sir Francis Galton: late 19 century - Conducted the first scientific studies of mental skills - Shows that eminence and genius seems to occur across generations within certain families th Alfred Binet: turn of the 20 century - Was interested in solving a practical problem, rather than supporting a theory - Certain children seemed unable to benefit from normal public schooling - Test was meant to identify these children so that special education could be arranged for them - Mental Age: (the result to Binet’s test)the age level at which a child performs - Expanded by William Stern into the intelligence quotient ((mental age/chronological age) X 100) The Stanford-Binet and Weschsler Scales: Lewis Terman of Stanford University revised Binet’s test for use in the United States—revision became known as the Stanford-Binet test – combined mostly verbal items, and yielded a single IQ score David Wechsler – believed that intelligence should be measured as a group of distinct but related verbal and non-verbal abilities; developed intelligence tests for adults and for children that measured a wide range of intellectual skills Group Tests of Aptitude and Achievement: Achievement Test: designed to find out how much a student has learned in high school Aptitude Test: contains novel puzzle-like problems that presumably go beyond prior learning and are thought to measure an applicant’s potential for future learning and performance Scientific Standards for Psychological Tests: Psychological Test: a method for measuring individual differences related to some psychological concept, or construct, based on a sample of relevant behaviour
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