Chapter 8: Language and Thought

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Benjamin Whorf

linguistic relativity
ones language determines thought - words/vocab limit our thoughts

phonemes

smallest units of sound which can be distinguished
"C"at

morphemes

smallest units of meaning

semantics

study meaning of word - sentence formation

syntax

structure of words
rules, order/functioning

Gleason study

language rules are generative
ex. children can apply rules to made up words

overregulations

grammatical rules incorrectly generalized to "exception" cases
past tense - add an "ed"
"yesterday we goed to the store"

language acquisition

inborn language mechanism
hard-wired to sort between 20-80 phonemes
1st 12 months - able to learn easier

expressive language (productive)

ability to produce language

receptive language

ability to comprehend, process and integrate the meaning of language
children - greater capacity for receptive

stages of language development

crying, cooing, babbling, 1st words

holophrases

simple words used to convey meaning
"go" as in yes ill go

telegraphic speech

content only sentences
"mommy go" - spoken like telegram

non-verbal communication

stress, pitch, volume
body language
gestures
facial expression

Genie case study

appears to be sensitive/critical period for language development

behaviorist theory

language is based on modeling, imitation, exposure and reinforcement

nativists theory

humans are neurologically pre-wired to learn language

interactionist theory

both biology and experience contribute to language development

broca's area

speech production

thought

extension of our perception and memory

concepts

mental representation of a category

categorization

recognizing an object as a member of a group

prototypes

we have existing prototypes
we rate things based on similarity to models of our prototypes which represent main characteristic of a group
ex. if you see a furry round thing - might think its an animal

Rosch

concepts are defined by a prototype
is a sparrow a bird?
is a bat a bird?
the more an object strays from prototype - longer it takes to categorize it

reasoning

process in which we generate and evaluate arguments

algorithms

methodical step by step procedure for trying all possible alternatives to solving a problem

inductive reasoning

reason from specific observations to general propositions
take observations to form conclusions

deductive reasoning

draw conclusions from a set of assumptions
If A is true then B is true

Syllogism

draw conclusion from 2 premises
Premise - all A are B
premise - C is A
Conclusion C is B

Greeno's 3 types of problems

problems of inducing structure
problems of arrangement
problems of transformation

Problems of inducing structure

must discover relationships between numbers, words, symbols
what follows 2,4,6___ 8

problems of arrangement

arrange parts of a problem to satisfy criterion - only a few arrangements work
ex. arrange "rca" to form a word (car)

problems of transformation

need to carry out sequence of transformations to achieve goal
ex. "getting hobbits and orcs across river"

framing

way in which decisions/problems are posed may change decision

hypothesis testing

make and test an educated guess about a problem/solution

mental stimulation

mental rehearsal of the steps needed to solve a problem

mental set

tendency to stick to solutions that have worked in the past
might not be best solution

functional fixedness

tendency to rely on specific function for object and ignore other possibilities
ex. an axe could be used as a weight - not just to cut wood

confirmation bias

we seek information to confirm what we already believe

distraction by irrelevant info

sidetracking detracts from effective problem solving

unnecessary constraint

we put restrictions on our problem solving which don't exist
ex. not drawing outside "box" on 4 lines problem

insight

sudden discovery of correct solution following incorrect attempts based on trial and error
AHA moment

decision making

involved evaluating alternatives and making choices front them

compensatory decision model

allows attractive attributes to compensate for unattractive attributes
book a cheaper flight but make 1 stop

non-conpensatory decision model

DONT allow some attributes to compensate for others
book non-stop flight not matter what cost

heuristics

shortcuts that guide us in decision making about probabilities
"rule of thumb"

availability heuristic

decision making based on fact that things easily recalled seem common
ex. see a plane crash - though rare you choose to drive - crashes seem common

subgoals

intermediate steps towards a solution

representative heuristic

basing estimated probability of an event on how similar it is to the prototype held of the event
ex. prototype is coin might land HTHTTH
however same prob. of TTTTTT
we would place a higher prob. on 1st event even though they have same prob.

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