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Chapter 9

PSYCH1000 - Chapter 9 and 10

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Western University
Psychology 1000
Corey Isaacs

Chapter 9 Language and ThinkingMental representations images ideas concepts and principlesLanguageLanguage a system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that can generate an infinite number of possible messages and meaningsPsycholinguistics the scientific study of the psychological aspects of language such as how people understand produce and acquire languageAdaptive Functions of LanguageHumans adapted socially oriented lifestyle to help them survive and reproduce Use of language evolved as people gathered to form larger social units Social environment more complexcreate divisions of labour and cooperative social systems social customs and communicate thoughts and to pass on knowledge and wisdomBrain can acquire any of the 5 to 6000 languages in the world Properties of Language Language is Symbolic and StructuredLanguage uses sounds written characters or hand signs to represent objects events ideas feelings and actions Symbols used in language are arbitrarysymbols dont look or sound like wordGrammar set of rules that dictate how symbols can be combined to create meaningful units of communication Syntax the rules that govern the order of wordsLanguage Conveys MeaningOnce people learn symbols and rules they can form and transfer mental representations to mind of another person Semantics the meaning of words and sentencesLanguage is Generative and Permits Displacement Generativity the symbols of language can be combined to generate an infinite number of messages that have novel meaning English language26 lettersmillions of wordsDisplacement the fact that language allows us to communicate about events and objects that are not physically present oLanguage frees us from being restricted to focusing on events and objects in the presentcan discuss past and future events The Structure of LanguageSurface Structure and Deep StructureSurface structure the symbols that are used and their orderDeep structure underlying meaning of the combined symbols Single surface structure can have two different meaningsspeak or write ambiguous sentencesWhen reading or hearing speech move from surface structure to deep structure how it sounds to what it really meansWhen expressing thoughts to someone else transform deep structure into surface structure The Hierarchical Structure of LanguagePhoneme the smallest unit of speech sound in a language that can signal a difference in meaning oHave no inherent meaning until being combined with other elements Morphemes the smallest units of meaning in a language oPrefixes and suffixes Discoursesentences are combined into paragraphs articles books conversations etcUnderstanding and Producing a LanguageThe Role of BottomUp Processing Bottomup processing individual elements of a stimulus are analyzed and then combined to form a unified perception
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