THE LANGUAGE AND THOUGHT (CHAPTER 8)
cognition: mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge.
-cognitive psychologists investigate language, inference, problem solving,
decision making and reasoning.
-language: consist of symbols that conveys meaning, plus rules for combining
those symbols that can be used to generate an infinite variety of messages.
-symbolic: people use spoken and written language to represent objects, actions,
events and ideas.
-semantic (or meaningful): symbols used in a language are arbitrary in that no
built-in relationship exists between the look or sound of words and objects they
-generative: limited number of symbols can be combined in an infinite variety of
ways to generate an endless array of novel messages.
-structured: theses sentences must be constructed in a limited number of ways.
-phonemes: smallest speech unit in a language that can be distinguished
-english composed of about 40 phonemes corresponding with 26 alphabets.
-morphemes: smallest unit of meaning in language.
-50000 morphemes in english many words are combinations of morphemes +
prefixes (friend-ly, un-friend)
-semantics: the area of language concerned with understanding the meaning of
words and word combinations.
-a words meaning may consist of both denotation (dictionary definition) and its
(emotional overtones and secondary implications.)
-syntax: system of rules that specify how words can be arranged into sentences
1-5 mints: reflexive communications: vocalizes randomly (non language sounds)
6-8 months: babbling: verbalizes in response to speech of others (increasingly
approximate human speech patterns)
10-13 months: first words - typically referring to objects.
12-18 months: one word sentence stage: vocabulary grows slowly: uses nouns:
over extensions begin.
18-24 months: vocabulary spurt: fast mapping facilitate rapid acquisitions of new
2 years: two word stage: telegraphic speech
2.5 three word sentence stage: over regulations begin.
-fast mapping: process by which children map a word into an underlying concept
after only one exposure.
-overextensions: occurs when a child incorrectly uses a word to describe a wider
set of objects or actions than it is meant to
-underextension: occurs when a child incorrectly uses a word to describe a
narrower set of objects or actions than it is meant to.
-telegraphic speech: consists mainly of content words; articles, prepositions and
other less critical words are omitted.
-overregularizations: occur when grammatical rules are incorrectly generalized to irregular cases where they do not apply.
-metalinguistic awareness: ability to reflect on use of language.
-between ages 6 and 8 sarcasm and irony
-irony: convey implied meaning that is opposite of a statements literal meaning (i
failed, oh that just great)
-sarcasm: a variation of irony in which there is a caustic element directed at a
particular person (my husband, the genius)
-bilingualism: acquisition of two languages that use different speech sounds,
vocabulary and grammatic rules.
-no disadvantage children go at the same pace if bilingual can facilitate third
-conveys cognitive advantages, language processing speed is faster. cognitively
more flexible, better analytical reasoning, better selective attention and
-bilingual subjects do not have phonemic awareness
-language learning more effective prior to age 7, still proficient when younger
than age 15.
-acculturation: The degree to which a person is socially and psychologically
integrated into a new culture.
-greater acculturation= rapid acquisition
-integrative motivation: willingness to be like valued members of the language
-B.F skinner: environmental factors govern language development (imitation,
reinforcement and other established condition principles) (ex: water before
supplying requested drink)
-noam chomsky: biological determinism children learn the rules of language not
specific verbal responses
--> nativist theory: language acquisition device: an innate mechanism of process
that facilitates the learning of language.
-interactionist theories: cognitive theories: assert language development is simply
an important aspect of more general cognitive development. (maturation and
-social communication theories: emphasize the functional value of interpersonal
communication and social context.
-emergenist theories: argue that neural circuits supporting language are not
prewired but emerge gradually in response to language learning experience.
-linguistic relatively: hypothesis that ones language determines the nature of
-problem solving: active efforts to discover what must be done to achieve a goal
that is not readily attainable
-problem of inducing structure: requires people to discover the relationships
among numbers, words, symbols or ideas. (ex: series completion problems or
-problems of arrangement: require people to arrange a problem in a way that fits
a criterion (ex: string problem, anagrams) (usually associated with insight.) -problems of transformation: carry out a sequence of transformation in order to
reach a specific goal. (ex hobbits and orcs problem and water jar problem)
-insight: sudden discovery of the correct solution following incorrect attempts
based on primarily trial and error.
-functional fixedness: tendency to perceive an item only in emirs of its most
-young children are less vulnerable.
-mental set: exists when people persist in using problem solving strategies that