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Chapter 8

PSYC 1010- Chapter 8 Review Questions

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York University
PSYC 1010
Doug Mc Cann

Learning Objectives Chapter 8: Language and Thought 1. Describe the “cognitive revolution” in psychology. • 1950s, cognitive psychologists investigate the complexities of language, inference, problem solving, decision making and reasoning 2. Outline the key properties of language. • Consists of symbols that convey meaning, plus rules for combining those symbols, that can be used to generate an infinite variety of messages • Symbolic: allows us to refer to objects that may be in another place and to events that happened at another time. Language symbols are flexible in that a variety of somewhat different objects may be called by the same name • Semantic/meaningful: The symbols used in a language are arbitrary in that no built-in relationship exists between the look or sound of words and the objects they stand for. • Generative: a limited number of symbols can be combined in an infinite variety of ways to generate an endless array of novel messages (i.e. sentences) • Structured: rules govern the arrangement of words into phrases and sentences; some arrangements are acceptable and some are not. 3. Outline the development of human language during the first year. • 1-5 months- Reflexive communication: vocalizes randomly. Coos, laughs, cries, engages in vocal play, discriminates language from non-language sounds • 6-18 months- Babbling: Verbalizes in response to the speech of others; responses increasingly approximate human speech patterns 4. Describe children’s early use of single words and word combinations. • 10-13 months- Most children begin to utter sounds that correspond to words (first words are similar to phonetic form and meaning) • 12-18 months- one-word sentence stage: vocabulary grows slowly; uses nouns primarily; overextensions begin • 18 months- can say between 3 to 50 words; receptive vocabulary is larger than productive vocabulary (can understand more than say); words refer most often to objects • 18-24 months- vocabulary spurt: Fast mapping facilitates rapid acquisition of new words • 2 years- two-word sentence stage: uses telegraphic speech; uses more pronouns and verbs • 2.5 years- three-word sentence stage: Modifies speech to take listener into account; over regularizations begin • 3 years- Uses complete simple active sentence structure; uses sentences to tell stories that are understood by others; uses plurals • 3.5 years- Expanded grammatical forms: Expresses concepts with words; uses four-word sentences • 4 years- Uses five-word sentences • 5 years- Well-developed and complex syntax: Uses more complex syntax; uses more complex forms to tell stories • 6 years- displays metalinguistic awareness 5. Describe the purpose, findings and conclusions of the Featured Study on infant babbling. • Laura-Ann Petitto: sees babbling as a function of the developing language capacity of the infant. Thus, babbling doesn’t reflect so much the developing motor portions of the brain but rather reflects the maturation of the language capacity controlled by the brain • Hypothesis: If babbling is due to the maturation of a language capacity and the articulatory mechanisms responsible for speech production, then it should be specific to speech. However, if babbling is due to the maturation of a brain-based language capacity and an expressive capacity capable of processing different types of signals, then it should occur in spoken and signed language modalities. • Findings: While all infants moved their arms and hands and gestured, only deaf infants showed evidence of manual babbling. The manual babbling of dead infants exhibited most of the other properties demonstrated by the hearing children in their babbling. • Conclusion: Deaf infants who are exposed to sign language babble like hearing babies, but they babble manually in their own language form. This suggests the conclusion that babbling is not simply a function of development of motor mechanisms but is instead tied to the developing capacity of the infant. 6. Summarize the effects of bilingualism on language and cognitive development and the factors that influence the learning of a second language. • Bilingual children have smaller vocabularies in each of their languages than monolingual children have in their one language. But when their two overlapping vocabularies are added, their total vocabulary is similar or slightly superior to that of children learning a single language. • Recent research suggests that learning two languages can subsequently facilitate the acquisition of a third language; bilinguals are better language learners • Bilinguals may have a slight disadvantage in terms of raw language0processing speed • Measures higher than monolingual subjects on measures of cognitive flexibility, analytical reasoning, selective attention, and metalinguistic awareness • Ellen Bialystok:  Since cognitive executive processes are necessary to deal successfully with the use of two languages, she suggests that bilingual children should develop control over executive processes earlier than monolingual children. Related, in part, to our ability to control attention  As adults, the enhanced executive control characteristic of bilinguals should afford them advantages in cognitive tasks implicating executive processing  Since executive processes are one of the first cognitive abilities to decline with age, bilinguals, because of their “continued reliance” on executive processes for dealing with their two languages, should show delayed decline relative to monolingual adults  Found that bilingualism is associated with higher levels of controlled processing on tasks that require control of attention. That is, bilingual children demonstrate greater facility at tasks where there is some type of misleading/ distracting information and where response choice is involved.  Some of the executive processes implicated in these differences between bilingual and monolingual children are those involving selective attention, attentional inhibition to distracting/misleading information and switching among competing alternatives. Bilingual children don’t have an advantage on all tasks; they show an advantage on some aspects of metalinguistic awareness but not for phonemic awareness. Bilingual and monolingual children perform similarly on tasks involving representational processes, such as encoding problems in sufficient detail and gaining access to relevant information. • Bilinguals not only are proficient at two languages, but they also develop the cognitive ability to “juggle” the two languages relatively easily. This is an important task because as bilinguals become more proficient in the second language, their conceptual stores for both languages overlap more and more. 7. Summarize evidence regarding language acquisition in animals. • Washoe: first chimp that was taught ASL by Allen and Beatrice Gardner. In 4 years, acquired a vocabulary
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