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The mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating


A mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people


A mental image or best example of a category - matching new items to the prototype provided a quick and easy method for including items in a category


A methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular problem


A simple thinking strategy that often allows us to make judgments and solve problems efficiently


A sudden and often novel realization of the solution to a problem

confirmation bias

A tendency to search for information that confirms one's preconceptions


The inability to see a problem from a new perspective

mental set

A tendency to approach a problem in a particular way, especially a way that has been successful in the past

functional fixedness

The tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions

representative heuristic

Judging the likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to represent, or match, particular prototypes

availability heuristic

Estimating the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory


The tendency to be more confident than correct - to overestimate the accuracy of one's beliefs and judgments


The way an issue is posed

belief bias

The tendency for one's preexisting beliefs to distort logical reasoning, sometimes by making invalid conclusions seem valid, or valid conclusions seem invalid

belief perserverence

Clinging to one's initial conceptions after the basis on which they were formed has been discredited

artificial intelligence

The science of designing and programming computer systems to do intelligent things and to simulate human thought processes

computer neural networks

Computer circuits that mimic the brain's interconnected neural cells


Our spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning


In a spoken language, the smallest distictive sound unit


In a language, the smallest unit that carries a meaning (may be a word or part of a word)


In a language, a system of rules that enables us to communicate with and understand others


The set of rules by which we derive meaning from morphemes, words, and sentences in a given language


The rules for combining words into grammatically sensible sentences in a given language

babbling stage

Beginning at 3 to 4 months, the stage of speech development in which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first unrelated to the household language

one-word stage

The stage in speech development, from about age 1 to 2, during which a child speaks mostly in single words

two-word stage

Beginning about age 2, the stage in speech development during which a child speaks mostly two-word statements

telegraphic speech

Early speech stage in which a child speaks like a telegram, using mostly nouns and verbs and omitting "auxiliary" words

linguistic determination

Whorf's hypothesis that language determines the way we think

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