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Chapter 8: Language and Thought

Benjamin Whorf
linguistic relativity
ones language determines thought - words/vocab limit our thoughts
smallest units of sound which can be distinguished
smallest units of meaning
study meaning of word - sentence formation
structure of words
rules, order/functioning
Gleason study
language rules are generative
ex. children can apply rules to made up words
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
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
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
extension of our perception and memory
mental representation of a category
recognizing an object as a member of a group
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
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
process in which we generate and evaluate arguments
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
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"
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
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
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
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.