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Psychology 1000
Tom Haffie

January 9 Chapter Nine - Language and Thinking▯ ▯ Back Story ▯ • child was found in forest, made few sounds when found - was taught to read and write some worlds, never learned to speak • child was kept isolated in a locked room her entire life, her vocabulary increased but her ability to speak stalled • child was locked in basement most of her life, seemed able to acquire language but was institutionalized ▯ Language▯ • consists of a system of symbols and rules of combining the symbols that generate a number of possible messages/meanings Psycholinguistics - scientific study of the psychological view of language and how people understand, produce and acquire language ▯ Adaptive Functions of Language▯ • brain achieved its present form around 50,000 years ago - brain hasn't evolved much since but cognitive and linguistic skills have • humans have adapted to more socially oriented lifestyles • more need for social customs, communication, passing down knowledge - resulted in development of language ▯ Basic Properties of Language▯ 1. Language is Symbolic and Structured - Organized • language uses sounds, written characters to represent objects, events, ideas, etc • grammar - set of rules that dictate how symbols can be combined 2. Language Conveys Meaning • understanding semantics - meaning of a word or a sentence 3. Language is Generative and Permits Displacement • generativity - symbols of language can be combined to make an infinite number of messages displacement - language allows us to • communicate about events and objects that are not physically present ▯ The Structure of Language▯ Noam Chomsky: Transformational Grammar Surface Structure and Deep Structure • surface structure - symbols that are used and their order (sequence) • deep structure - underlying meaning of the January 9 combined symbols • a sentence can have different surface structures but the same deep structure - vice versa • rules to change the actual meaning into the sequence of words The Hierarchical Structure of Language ▯ • phoneme - smallest unit of speech sound in a language • only 45 in English • they have no inherit meaning but alter meaning when combined with other elements phonemes are combined into morphemes - smallest unit of meaning • • final level of hierarchy is discourse - sentences are combined into paragraphs, articles, books, etc • words - 250,000 to 300,00 words in a good, unabridged dictionary • most anything in English can be said with a vocal of 850 words • telephone conversations - 96% of “talk” is made up of 737 words • correlation word frequency and world length = -0.75 • the longer the word, the less likely you are to use it ▯ Syntax: Understanding and Producing Language ▯ PhonologicalAmbiguity • confusion of sounds (knock knock jokes) LexicalAmbiguity • confusion or double meaning of words (“I work as a baker because I knead the dough) SyntacticAmbiguity • confusion in structure SemanticAmbiguity • confusion of overall meaning Kids progress from phonological and lexical to syntactic and semantic The Role of Bottom-Up Processing • gathering information from linguistic stimuli involves both bottom-up and top-down processing • bottom up processing - individual elements are analyzed then combined to form a unified image • analyzing as a set of building blocks - using phonemes to create morphemes to create words, etc The Role of Top-Down Processing sensory info is interpreted from preexisting knowledge • • as you write you are calling on previous knowledge • speech segmentation - perceiving where each word begins and ends within a sentence • breaks in speech usually do not correspond to physical breaks in words Experiment: Irwin Pollack and J.M. Pickett • recorded conversations of four female students and text passages by four adult men • participants listened to one, two, three and four word segments • were able to guess initial word 70-100% of the time depending on the speaker Pragmatics: The Social Context of Language January 9 • a knowledge of the practical aspect of using language • helps you get your point across to people of what you're trying to say • example of how top-down processing influences language use Language Functions, the Brain and Sex Differences • language functions are distributed in many areas of the brain • aphasia - damage to Broca’s or Wernicke’s area resulting in impairment of speech • women tend to have less damage to their language with left hemisphere damage - function is shared within both hemispheres compared to males ▯ Acquiring a First Language▯ Biological Foundations • children are able to master language early in their lives • children are able to perceive the entire range of phonemes but discriminate the ones that are from their native tongue • LAD: language acquisition device - innate biological mechanism that contains general grammar rules • set of switches - where to insert a pronoun before a verb, switched on in one language and off in another Social Learning Processes • parents tend to use a child-directed speech towards their children, also point to objects and name them • Skinner - language acquisition is based strongly on adults’positive reinforcement/correction - not necessarily true • parents tend not to correct their child’s grammar - child’s language is not an imitation of its parents • true even for deaf infants, babbling has no convention learning, but takes on a social quality in hearing infants: rules of interaction • by 2 months, infant show phoneme discrimination Study: Jusczyk (1985) • sucking rates of “PA” vs. “BA” • sensitivity to foreign contrasts drops as infant approaches 12 months • Suggests: infants are “hard-wired” for language acquisition • prepared for any language Motherese • high pitch, slow rate, exaggerated tone • adults shift “automatically” • infants prefer this type of speech to normal adult speech • learning about pausing, pitch, characteristics, etc LASS: language acquisition support system (Bruner) - factors in the social environment that aid in the learning of a language Developmental Timetable and Sensitive Periods • there is developmental timetable that is common to all cultures - a child’s language skills to develop based on age January 9 • sechildren who are deprived from language still can acquire the skills if they aren't passed • puberty ▯ Bilingualism: Learning a Second Language ▯ • a second language is best learned when it is taught during the sensitive period • French immersion programs are now in place to allow children an early exposure to a second language • bilingual children show higher cognitive processing, reading, perceptual tasks, etc compared to monolingual children Is Earlier Better? Study (Johnson and Newport): compared two groups of immigrants who had moved during early vs late years then asked to determine whether or not a sentence was grammatically correct •participants who had moved in their later years did far worse on the task •proved the critical period hypothesis Study (Birdsong and Molis): •the group who arrived before 16 performed better than the group who arrived after 16 •difference - age made a difference on who did better on the task for the group who arrived after 16 ▯ Linguistic Influences on Thinking▯ Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis (Lee Whorf): language not only influences but also determines what we are capable of thinking Study (Rosch): compared two different cultures based on how many words they had for a certain idea •a group who only had two words for colours performed just as well as a group who has many words Study: compared English andAfrican children and how well they distinguished between different hues •English language has 11 words compared to 5 in theAfrican language •English children had a greater ability to distinguish between the different colours • language may not determine how we think but can influence how we think ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ January 14 Thinking & Problem Solving▯ ▯ Language Learning▯ How do infants acquire language? The One-Word Speaker • 5 to 8 months of age, respond
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