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Chapter 8 Language and Thought.

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1 Chapter 8 Language and Thought

2 Language: Turning Thoughts into Words
Properties of Language Symbolic Semantic Generative Structured

3 The Hierarchical Structure of Language
Phonemes = smallest speech units 100 possible, English – about 40 Morphemes = smallest unit of meaning 50,000 in English, root words, prefixes, suffixes Semantics = meaning of words and word combinations Objects and actions to which words refer Syntax = a system of rules for arranging words into sentences Different rules for different languages

4 Language Development: Milestones
Initial vocalizations similar across languages Crying, cooing, babbling 6 months – babbling sounds begin to resemble surrounding language 1 year – first word similar cross-culturally – words for parents receptive vs. expressive language


6 Language Development: Milestones Continued
18-24 months – vocabulary spurt fast mapping over and underextensions End of second year – combine words Telegraphic speech Mean Length of Utterance (MLU) End of third year – complex ideas, plural, past tense Overregularization

7 Bilingualism: Learning More Than One Language
Research findings: Smaller vocabularies in one language, combined vocabularies average Higher scores for middle-class bilingual subjects on cognitive flexibility, analytical reasoning, selective attention, and metalinguistic awareness Slight disadvantage in terms of language processing speed Second languages more easily acquired early in life Greater acculturation facilitates acquisition

8 Fig 8. 4 – Age and second language learning
Fig 8.4 – Age and second language learning. In the study of how well immigrants to the United States master English as a second language, Johnson and Newport (1989) examined the relationship between the subjects’ age of arrival and their mastery of syntax. As you can see, it was advantageous to start learning English at an earlier age, up through about age 15. After that, age of arrival did not make a difference. For example, those who started at 20 were no better off than those who started at 30. (Adapted from Johnson & Newport, 1989)

9 Can Animals Develop Language?
Dolphins, sea lions, parrots, chimpanzees Vocal apparatus issue American Sign Language Allen and Beatrice Gardner (1969) Chimpanzee - Washoe 160 word vocabulary Sue Savage-Rumbaugh Bonobo chimpanzee - Kanzi Symbols Receptive language – 72% of 660 requests

10 Theories of Language Acquisition
Behaviorist Skinner learning of specific verbal responses Nativist Chomsky learning the rules of language Language Acquisition Device (LAD) Interactionist Cognitive, social communication, and emergentist theories

11 Fig 8. 5 – Interactionist theories of language acquisition
Fig 8.5 – Interactionist theories of language acquisition. The interactionist view is that nature and nurture are both important to language acquisition. Maturation is thought to drive language development directly and to influence it indirectly by fostering cognitive development. Meanwhile, verbal exchanges between parents and others are also thought to play a critical role in molding language skills. The complex interrelations depicted here shed some light on why there is room for extensive debate about the crucial factors in language acquisition.

12 Problem Solving: Types of Problems
Greeno (1978) – three basic classes Problems of inducing structure Series completion and analogy problems Problems of arrangement String problem and Anagrams Often solved through insight Problems of transformation Hobbits and orcs problem Water jar problem

13 Fig 8. 6 – Six standard problems used in studies of problem solving
Fig 8.6 – Six standard problems used in studies of problem solving. Try solving the problems and identifying which class each belongs to before reading further. The problems can be classified as follows. The analogy problems and series completion problems are problems of inducing structure. The solutions for the analogy problems are Buy and Patient. The solutions for the series completion problems are 4 and E. The string problem and the anagram problems are problems of arrangement. To solve the string problem, attach the screwdriver to one string and set it swinging as a pendulum. Hold the other string and catch the swinging screwdriver. Then you need only untie the screwdriver and tie the strings together. The solutions for the anagram problems are WATER and JOKER. The hobbits and orcs problem and the water jar problem are problems of transformation. The solutions for these problems are outlined in Figures 8.7 and 8.8.

14 Effective Problem Solving
Well defined vs. ill defined problems Barriers to effective problem solving: Irrelevant Information Functional Fixedness Mental Set Unnecessary Constraints

15 Fig 8. 12 – The tower of Hanoi problem
Fig 8.12 – The tower of Hanoi problem. Your mission is to move the rings from peg A to peg C. You can move only the top ring on a peg and can’t place a larger ring above a smaller one. The solution is explained in the text.

16 Approaches to Problem Solving
Algorithms Systematic trial-and-error Guaranteed solution Heuristics Shortcuts No guaranteed solution Forming subgoals Working backward Searching for analogies Changing the representation of a problem

17 Fig 8. 16 – Representing the bird and train problem
Fig 8.16 – Representing the bird and train problem. The typical inclination is to envision this problem spatially, as shown here. However, this representation makes the problem much more difficult than it really is.

18 Culture, Cognitive Style, and Problem Solving
Field dependence – relying on external frames of reference Field independence – relying on internal frames of reference Western cultures inspire field independence Cultural influence based in ecological demands Holistic vs. analytic cognitive styles

19 Decision Making: Evaluating Alternatives and Making Choices
Simon (1957) – theory of bounded rationality Making Choices Additive strategies Elimination by aspects Risky decision making Expected value Subjective utility Subjective probability


21 Heuristics in Judging Probabilities
The availability heuristic The representativeness heuristic The tendency to ignore base rates The conjunction fallacy The alternative outcomes effect

22 Fig 8. 19 – The conjunction fallacy
Fig 8.19 – The conjunction fallacy. People routinely fall victim to the conjunction fallacy, but as this diagram makes obvious, the probability of being in a subcategory (college teachers who are politicians) cannot be higher than the probability of being in the broader category (college teachers). As this case illustrates, it often helps to represent a problem in a diagram.

23 Understanding Pitfalls in Reasoning About Decisions
The gambler’s fallacy The law of small numbers Overestimating the improbable Confirmation bias and belief perseverance The overconfidence effect Framing

24 Evolutionary Analyses: Flaws in Decision Making and Fast and Frugal Heuristics
Cosmides and Tooby (1996) Unrealistic standard of rationality Decision making evolved to handle real-world adaptive problems Problem solving research based on contrived, artificial problems Gigerenzer (2000) Quick and dirty heuristics Less than perfect but adaptive

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