Language_ Thinking_ and Intelligence

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					  Chapter 8
Language & Thinking
   Communication: the sending and receiving
    of information
       Language: the primary mode of communication
        among humans
           A systematic way of communicating information
            using symbols and rules for combining them
           Speech: oral expression of language
               Approximately 5,000 spoken languages exist today.
Broca’s & Wernicke’s
        Do Animals Use Language?

   Since 1930s, numerous attempts have been made
    to teach language to a few select species.

   The most appropriate conclusion to draw:
       Nonhuman species show no capacity to produce
        language on their own, but
       Certain species can be taught to produce
        languagelike communication.
                        Infants Born Prepared
                          to Learn Language
   Language acquisition – learning vs. inborn
       Behaviorism’s language theory
           People speak as they do because they have been
            reinforced for doing so.
           Behaviorists assumed children were relatively passive.
           The problem with this theory is that it does not fit the
           Operant conditioning principles do not play the primary
            role in language development.
Infants Born Prepared to Learn Language
     The nativist perspective:
         Language development proceeds according to an inborn
         Language Acquisition Device (Noam Chomsky): humans
          are born with specialized brain structures (Language
          Acquisition Device) that facilitates the learning of
     Interactionist perspectives:
         Propose environmental and biological factors interact
          together to affect the course of language development.
         Social interactionist perspective strongly influenced by
          Lev Vygotsky’s writings
                         Infants Born Prepared
                           to Learn Language
   Assessing the three perspectives on language
       General consensus:
            Behaviorists place too much emphasis on conditioning
            Nativists don’t give enough credit to environmental
            Interactionist approaches may offer best possible
                             The Linguistic Relativity
   Does language determine thought?
   Benjamin Lee Whorf’s linguistic relativity hypothesis
       Proposed that the structure of language determines the
        structure of thought (without a word to describe an experience,
        you cannot think about it).
       However, research indicates that just because a language lacks
        terms for stimuli does not mean that language users cannot
        perceive features of the stimuli.
       The answer is no. Most psychologists believe in a weaker
        version of Whorf’s hypothesis—that language can influence

   Thinking—cognition
       The mental activity of knowing
       The processes through which knowledge is
       The processes through which problems are
                      Concept Formation
   Concept: a mental grouping of objects, ideas, or
    events that share common properties
       Concepts enable people to store memories in an organized
   Categorization is the process of forming concepts.
       We form some concepts by identifying defining features.
       Problem with forming concepts by definition is that many
        familiar concepts have uncertain or fuzzy boundaries.
                         Concept Formation

   Thus, categorizing has less to do with features that define
    all members of a concept and has more to do with features
    that characterize the typical member of a concept.

   The most representative members of a concept are
    known as prototypes.
When Is It a “Cup,” and
 When Is It a “Bowl”?
              Fuzzy Boundaries
   Determine whether something belongs to a
    group by comparing it with the prototype.

   Objects accepted and rejected define the
    boundaries of the group or concept.

   This is different for different people.
   Common problem-solving strategies:
       Trial and error: trying one possible solution after
        another until one works
       Algorithm: following a specific rule or step-by-step
        procedure that inevitably produces the correct
       Heuristic: following a general rule of thumb to
        reduce the number of possible solutions
       Insight: sudden realization of how a problem can
        be solved
                     “Internal” Obstacles Can
                     Impede Problem Solving
   Confirmation bias: the tendency to seek information that
    supports our beliefs, while ignoring disconfirming

   Mental set: the tendency to continue using solutions that
    have worked in the past, even though a better alternative
    may exist

   Functional fixedness: the tendency to think of objects as
    functioning in fixed and unchanging ways and ignoring
    other less obvious ways in which they might be used
The Candle Problem
   Representativeness heuristic:
       the tendency to make decisions based on how closely an
       alternative matches (or represents) a particular prototype

       Availability heuristic:
          the tendency to judge the frequency or probability of an
          event in terms of how easy it is to think of examples of that
Five conditions most likely to lead to heuristic use:
 People don’t have time to engage in systematic analysis.

 People are overloaded with information.

 People consider issues to be not very important.

 People have little information to use in making a decision.

 Something about the situation primes a given heuristic.

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