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all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 395)


a mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 396)


a mental image or best example of a category. Matching new items to the prototype provides a quick and easy method for including items in a category (as when comparing feathered creatures to a prototypical bird, such as a robin). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 396)


a methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular problem. Contrasts with the usually speedier—but also more error-prone—use of heuristics. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 397)


a simple thinking strategy that often allows us to make judgments and solve problems efficiently; usually speedier but also more error-prone than algorithms. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 398)


a sudden and often novel realization of the solution to a problem; it contrasts with strategy-based solutions. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 398)

confirmation bias

a tendency to search for information that confirms one's preconceptions. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 399)


the inability to see a problem from a new perspective; an impediment to problem solving. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 400)

functional fixedness

the tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions; an impediment to problem solving. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 400)

mental set

a tendency to approach a problem in a particular way, often a way that has been successful in the past. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 400)

representativeness heuristic

judging the likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to represent, or match, particular prototypes; may lead one to ignore other relevant information. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 401)

availability heuristic

estimating the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory; if instances come readily to mind (perhaps because of their vividness), we presume such events are common. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 402)


the tendency to be more confident than correct—to overestimate the accuracy of one's beliefs and judgments. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 403)


the way an issue is posed; how an issue is framed can significantly affect decisions and judgments. we prefer to hear that beef is 80% lean not 10% fat(Myers Psychology 8e p. 406)

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. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 407)

belief perseverance

clinging to one's initial conceptions after the basis on which they were formed has been discredited. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 407)


our spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 410)


in a language, the smallest distinctive sound unit. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 410)


in a language, a system of rules that enables us to communicate with and understand others. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 411)


in a language, the smallest unit that carries meaning; may be a word or a part of a word (such as a prefix). (Myers Psychology 8e p. 411)


the set of rules by which we derive meaning from morphemes, words, and sentences in a given language; also, the study of meaning. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 411)


the rules for combining words into grammatically sensible sentences in a given language. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 411)

babbling stage

at about 4 months, the stage of speech development in which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first unrelated to the household language. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 412)

one-word stage

the stage in speech development, from about age 1 to 2, during which a child speaks mostly in single words. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 413)

telegraphic speech

early speech stage in which a child speaks like a telegram—"go car"—using mostly nouns and verbs and omitting auxiliary words. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 413)

two-word stage

beginning about age 2, the stage in speech development during which a child speaks mostly two-word statements. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 413)

linguistic determinism

Whorf's hypothesis that language determines the way we think. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 418)


thinking about how you think - this is what happens when you consider how you solved a problem.

trial and error

a type of algorithm which is time consuming but sometimes is the only solution. It involves guessing at random without much thought or reasoning at every possible solution until the correct one is found.

anchoring heuristic

a type of heuristic that invoves making decisions based on standard or ideas that are important to us


A sudden and often novel realization regarding the solution to a problem. It contrasts with strategy based solutions. The Ah-Hah moment in learning. This type of learning is associated with Wolfgang Kohler's research on chimps' problem solving.


the tendency to overestimate the accuracy of our own knowledge and judgments

belief bias

The tendency for one's preexisting beliefs to distort logical reasoning. Sometimes making invalid conclusions seem valid and valid conclusions seem invalid

belief perserverance

Clinging to ones invalid conceptions even after the basis on which they were formed has been discredited.


A type of thinking in which a person tries to solve a problem by incorporating two or more aspects of past experience.

deductive reasoning

Thinking that moves from general principles to specific cases. Two or more premises used to reach a conclusion. The conclusion is ALWAYS true if premises are true.

inductive reasoning

Thinking that moves from specific cases to general principles. A loose and inexact reasoning that moves from limited cases to larger generalizations. Categorization and concept formation are products of this type of reasoning.

dialectical reasoning

Reasoning that involves critically thinking about problems and evaluating conflicting viewpoints. Consists of moving back and forth between contrary lines of reasoning, using each to cross-examine the other.

receptive language

the total of the words that babies can understand

productive language

the total of words that babies can use

telegraphic speech

A type of speech used by toddlers that consists of mainly content words. The articles, prepositions and other less critical words are omitted. "Give doll" vs. "I would like you to give me the doll"

Noam Chomsky

theorist who believed that humans have an inborn or "native" propensity to develop language. (Native = Nature).

B.F. Skinner

theorist who believed that humans learned language the same way they learn everything through reinforcements and punishments.

language acquisiton device

an innate mechanism or process that facilitates the learning of language which humans posses. this idea was proposed by Noam Chomsky

critical period

A limited time span in the development of an organism when it is optimal for certain abilities (such as language) to emerge because they are especially responsive to certain experiences

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