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Thinking and Language


Foreword
"The human understanding, when any proposition has been once laid down... forces everything else to add fresh support and confirmation."
- Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, 1620
  • The human brain is merely 3 pounds of wet tissue, yet it contains neural networks more complex than the circuitry of the planet's telephone networks
  • Overview of the human sensory system: disassembles visual stimuli into millions of nerve impulses, distributes them for parallel processing, and then reassembles them into lucidly vivid perceived images
  • Humans are influenced by the same principles that produce learning in rats and pigeons
  • Humans also tend to deceive themselves about pseudo psychic claims, hypnotic regression, and false memories
  • This explains why we often believe that we can read minds or travel outside our own bodies
  • Cognitive psychologists help us think smart by conducting research on the human thought process and by alerting us to common errors in our thinking

Thinking
  • By thinking about thinking, and by alerting us to common errors in our thinking, cognitive psychologists help us think smart Their research helps us appreciate both the powers and the limits of our intuition, and to reason more effectively when making practical decisions and everyday judgments. (Myers).
  • Cognition - mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating (Myers)
  • Cognitive Psychologists - study these mental activities, which include logical/illogical ways to create:
    • concept formation
    • problem-solving
    • decision-making
    • judgment formation
    • Concepts are mental groupings of similar objects, events, and people. They provide a great deal of information w/minimal cognitive effort, they are the basic units of thinking. Most concepts are formed around a best example, or prototype, of a particular category. We organize concepts into hierarchies: cities subdivide into geographical sectors, which subdivide into neighborhoods, which subdivide into blocks (Myers).
    • animals, too, are capable of feats of concept formation. (Myers) EX: Pigeons demonstrate the surprising intelligence of bird brains by sorting objects according to their similarity. Shown pictures of cars, cats, chairs, and flowers, they readily learn to identify the categories. (Meyers 386)
    • To think about the countless events, objects, and people we simplify things. (Myers)
    • We form some concepts by definition.
    • Concepts allow us to easily recognize things so that we can easily reference back to them later (Meyer).
    • Concept: a mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people. The concept chair sums up a variety of items - a baby's high chair, a reclining chair, the chairs around a dining room table, a dentist's chair. (Myers 386)
    • If we didn't have concepts we would have different names for everything instead of easily generalized terms like car, house, plane, and food that apply to many things (Meyer).
      • For example, if we're told a triangle has 3 sides, we then classify all 3 sided geometric forms as triangles. (Myers)
      • Another example is how we classify a food being a fruit, if it has seeds in side of it we will call it a fruit.
  • Prototypes- mental images or examples that show of all the features we associate with a category. The more closely something relates to our prototype of a concept, the more readily we recognize it as an example of the concept (Myers 386).
    • prototypes help include items in categories
    • a prototype is a quick and easy method to help one categorize
      • example - If asked to imagine a bird, most people quickly come up with a mental picture that is something like an American robin. It takes them a bit longer to to conceptualize a penguin because it doesn't match their prototype of a small, feathered, flying creature.
      • Another example would being asked to think of a fish, most people with think of anything that is commonly found in the ocean, but it would take them a minute to realize not everything in the ocean is a fish such as whales and dolphins
    • If we encounter something that is not in accordance with our prototype, we have to accommodate or assimilate for it.
      • Accommodation: When a person changes they way they think of things because of something new they encountered. For example, a child has developed the idea that a dog has four legs, so they will automatically assume all animals with four legs is a dog. They have to be taught that there are many type of animals with four legs, not just dogs.
      • Assimilation: When a person interprets something new in an already developed schema or prototype. For example if we see an awkward looking chair but quickly recognize it as a normal chair.
      • for example people are asked to picture a bird. Most people are likely to picture a Robin or an American type looking bird. It is a lot harder for people to picture a penguin because it is a bit different from other birds. It is featherless so people take less time to conceptulize since it does not match the prototype of small feathers or a flying creature (Myers 386).
  • Algorithm- step by step procedure to solve a problem and help find the solution.
    • This process usually takes more time than heuristics, leaving people to prefer heuristics because they save time
      • An example would be trying to rearrange the letters SPLOYOCHYG (The letters in PSYCHOLOGY) into a word, the results of combinations would be staggering (Myers).
      • Step-by-step algorithms can be laborious, we can often solve problems with simple strategies. (Myers 387)
      • In Algorithm, they would try to rearrange every combination possible to form it into a word and it would result to a solution.
      • An example would be if you were looking for chutney you would search every aisle (Myers).
      • Algorithms are more reliable because their a step by step procedure (Myers).
  • Heuristic- a strategical procedure that helps to find the answer faster than an algorithm, however it is more error-prone;Rule-of-thumb strategies that provide us with problem-solving shortcuts (Myers).
    • An example would be formula to a math problem, as opposed to deriving something completely new.
    • An example of Heuristic is guessing the proportion of red marbles in a mixture of colored marbles in a jar instead of calculating and counting the red marbles over its total (Algorithm).
    • It's a bit sloppy because its a faster method so more mistakes may happen (Myers).
    • they are simple thinking strategies allowing people to make judgments to solve problems efficiently
-Thus, in rearranging the letters of SPLOYOCHYG, we might exclude letter combinations such as two Y's together. (Meyers 387)
  • An example would be to go to the grocery store for Captain Crunch and going straight to the cereal aisle rather than searching the whole store.
    • Heuristic does not guarantee solutions or prevent mental sets (Myers).
    • Heuristics prevents us from including relevant information and leads to judgmental errors (Myers).
      • we base our judgment on how likely it comes to mind (Myers).
    • Availability Heuristic- estimating the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory and also affects our social judgement.
      Example: If a large plane crash in which many people died has recently occurred, one might be more likely to drive somewhere on a trip than fly, even though it takes more time. However, statistically, it is much more likely one will have a fatal car accident than a plane accident, and so the car trip is more dangerous. Because of the recent plane crash in one's memory, it may not be seen that way.
    • For example if an insurance salesman gave many plausible stories of people who've gotten things damaged and gotten into accidents as well as natural disasters then one would think it's not a bad idea to buy insurance. However this is due to all the info available that causes one to make a decision (Meyer).
    • Like in the example above, looking for chutney you would only look in the spice section where it would most likely be found. (Myers)
    • insight provides a sense of satisfaction. for example, after solving a hard problem or learning to resolve a conflict, we feel happy. (Myers)
    • example- a religion believes in things based on the Bible and these people will look for only specific evidence that will support their views and ignore other aspect of the Bible.
      • Once we incorrectly represent a problem, it's hard to restructure how we approach that problem--causing a fixation on approaching problems (Myers).
      • An example would be a child being able to use the math term pie as 3.14 and not seeing how to use it correctly as 22/7
    • Mental Set- the tendency to apply a particular problem solving strategy even when it is no longer helpful. (Myers)
      • As a perceptual set predisposes what we perceive, a mental set predisposes how we think. (Myers)
        • example - If you just finished a word problem that had to require addition. You will also want to use addition to solve the next problem even if what you really need is subtraction.
    • This sudden leap to a separate and new perspective is often marked as the "Aha!" moment
    • Ex:The joy of a joke may similarly lie in the capacity for insight: such as our sudden comprehension of an unexpected ending or a double meaning (Myers 387).
    • Perceptual set: predisposes what we perceive (Myers).
    • Functional Fixedness- Our tendency to perceive the functions of objects as fixed and unchanging. (Myers)
      • Functional fixedness is being unable to conceive of an unusual function for an object (Myers)
      • For example, a person not realizing that a hammer may be used as a paperweight, and can only think of a hammer for its conventional use (eg. to beat on a nail)
      • Another example would be the functional fixedness of a book; the book could be used to nail thumb tacks or loose nails on a shelf.
      • example would be a person not realizing they can use their jacket as a pillow on a plane
    • Fixation- the inability to see a problem from a new perspective; revolves around the id'd urges of psychosexual development, a fixation occurs when a stage remains unsolved.
    • A good reason as to why we become fixated on specific solutions is because those that worked in past situations often work on new problems. This is what may interfere in finding a new solution.
    • For example, when asked to try to make four equilateral triangles out of six matches, most of us become fixated on trying to solve it using two dimensional solutions. Our fixation with a two dimensional solution eludes us from the three dimensional solution (Myers).
-Once we incorrectly represent the problem, it's hard to restructure how we approach it. (Myers 388)


      • If you had to sleep out in the woods when camping and forgot to bring a pillow, but in reality you could ball up one of your sweaters and use that as a pillow. This is functional fixedness because you cannot get past the fact that the sweater is not actually designed to be a pillow.
    • Representatives 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) This influences a lot of our decisions, because if we want to figure out if something is likely we compare it with our mental representation. (Myers)
    • Ex) A child is shown two pictures and is asked to determine which person in the picture is a scientist. One picture shows an actor wearing a white lab coat, safety goggles, and gloves and is surrounded by lab material, whereas the other picture shows the real scientist wearing a suit and a tie. Since the picture of the actor seems more representative of a scientist, the child would probably choose the actor. The representatives heuristic enables one to make the right decision
  • The faster people can remember an instance of some event ("a broken promise"), the more they expect it to recur. (Myers 390)
    • Example: most people incorrectly guess that the letter "k" is more common as the first letter in words than as the third letter (Myers).
    • Ex.- In 2002, 10 people were killed in a three week shooting spree in the D.C. area sniper, the world was aghast. Although less noticed, 30 other Americans are murdered with firearms each day.(Myers)
    • Ex) More people are likely to be scared to ride in a plane than a car, for fear of a plane crash. Since plane crashes do not happen as often as car accidents, the news tends to highlight airline crashes, which makes one think that it is more dangerous to ride in a plane, when really this is a rare event.
      • Confirmation bias involves looking only for proofs that support one's own beliefs, while disregarding information that contradicts one's own beliefs.[1]
    • An example of this is when McHenry was sure that I, Brandon Hopkins, had messed up his template for the college placards. He was sure that he was correct, so much so that he bet me five dollars. Upon further investigation, he found that he was wrong.
  • Overconfidence- "A tendency to overestimate the accuracy of our knowledge and judgments" ; being more confident than being correct (Myers 391).
  • Intuition- Knowing or sensing something without the use of reason: an insight
  • Ex) Having that "gut feeling"
  • Ex) on questions where only 60% of people answer correctly, respondents typically feel 75% confident (Myers 392)
    ex) How people overestimate what it was, is, or will come to be (Metcalfe, 1998).
    • Overconfidence does have an adaptive value. Although failing to appreciate one's potential for error when making various kinds of judgments can have horrible consequences, so can a lack of self-confidence. People who err on the side of overconfidence live more happily, find it easier to make tough decisions and seem credible (Baumeister, 1989; Taylor, 1989).
    • Framing- The way an issue is posed
    • "students are bothered more by hearing that 65 percent of their class had cheated than by hearing that 35 percent had not." (Meyers)
    • example: the best way to market ground beef-- 25% fat or 75% lean?
    • the fact that our judgements can be so easily swayed suggests that our judgements and decisions may not be so well reasoned
    • those who understand the power of framing can use it to influence important decisions and judgements (it can affect people's perception of the issue or answer to the question). (Myers)
    • Ex: "Merchants mark up their 'regular prices' to appear to offer huge savings on 'sale prices'. A $100 coat marked down from $150 by store X can seem like a better deal than the same coat priced regularly at $100 by store Y" (Urbany & others, 1988).
      • ex using 'loaded language' in surveys to make people support or reject a certain viewpoint
      • "Knowing that abortion kills unborn babies, do you still support it?" vs "What are your feelings on abortion?"
      • Example; Some communists are golfers. All golfers are Marxists. Some communists are Marxists. (Myers)
    • once beliefs are formed it takes stronger evidence to alter them than to create them(Myers)
    • we tend to accept more logical conclusions that agree with with our beliefs. (Myers)
    • Belief perseverance fuels social conflict. If you want to rein in the belief perseverance phenomenon, the simple remedy is to consider the opposite. (Myers)
  • Belief Bias- prior knowledge or beliefs affect the reasoning trough the acceptance of another individual's reasoning.
Ex: Accepting that some good ice skaters are not professional hockey players, but will reject the assertion that some professional hockey players are not good ice skaters.
- Logic does help, but we still find it easier to accept conclusions that agree with our opinions. We are quick to find the illogical aspects of an argument that go contrary to our accepted beliefs (Myers).
-However, if something does not make logical sense but supports our beliefs, we will be more likely to accept it. an example would be
Premise 1: Democrats support free speech.
Premise 2: Dictators are not democrats.
Conclusion: Dictators do not support free speech.
If that conclusion seems logical, you are experiencing belief bias. (Myers)
  • Belief Perseverance- clinging to one's initial conceptions after the bias on which they formed has been discredited. Often fuels social conflict. (Myers)
    • Belief perseverance phenomenon doesn't preclude our changing our beliefs, but once beliefs form and get justified, it takes more compelling evidence to change them than it did to create them (Myers).
    • For example: "Once you see a country as hostile, you are likely to interpret ambiguous actions on their part as signifying their hostility" (Political Scientist Robert Jervis 1995).
    • It is very difficult to change our false beliefs once we have ideas to support it.
    • For example: In a study with Mark Lepper people were asked to consider who make better fire fighters, risk-takers or cautious people. When told a story about a risk taker that was a great fire fighter and a cautious person who was a poor fire fighter, the people in the experiment tended to say that risk-takers are the better fire fighters. When told the opposite story the people tended to choose that cautious people were better fire fighters. Once they were told that the stories were lies the people tended to stick with their choice because they held on to their beliefs of why the explanations made sense to them.
    • Craig Anderson and Lee Ross discovered that it can be surprisingly difficult to change a false belief once a person has ideas that support it. (Myers 396)
    • Divergent thinking involves trying to find many potential solutions to a problem.
    • Convergent thinking involves finding a single solution to a problem.
    • Psychologists believe that divergent thinking is correlated with aspects of creativity, since new methods. [2]

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Designing and programming [[#|computer systems]] to do intelligent things and to stimulate human thought processes such as: intuitive reasoning, learning, and understanding language. (Myers)
    • An example of an AI would be Siri, the artificial intelligence on the Iphone 4s.
  • Rely on massive stored information and rules for retrieving it. (Myers)
  • the computer neural network are copmuter systems designed to mimic the brain's interconnected neural networks. (Myers)
  • A hybrid of cognitive psychology and computer science, AI has two facets, one practical, the other theoretical.
  • The practical side of A.I is creating robots that can sense their environments with expert systems that can carry out chemical analyses (Myers)
  • The theoretical side of A.I. was pioneered by psychologist Herbert Simon who studied the brain and sought to create computer programs and systems that could both learn and remember information as a human would. (Myers)
  • both with positive (excitatory) and negative (inhibitory) messages.
  • Computer Neural Networks - computer circuits that mimic the brain’s interconnected neural cells (Myers)
    • The computer's electronic "neural network" can be programmed to execute rules that mimic how the brain's neurons communicate -- with positive (excitatory) or negative (inhibitory) messages that fire when the signal strength reaches a certain threshold. (Myers 393)
      • learning to recognize visual patterns
      • learning to recognize smells
    • Ex: Industrial robot that can carry out chemical analyses, offer tax planning advice, forecast weather, and help diagnose diseases.
  • human brains beat computers for simultaneous processing (Myers)
  • While huge advances have been made with AI, artificial intelligence chat robots have yet to pass Alan Turning's test of computer intelligence of making it impossible to discern between a conversation with a human or a computer (Myers).
  • Compared with conventional artificial intelligence systems, neural network computers show greater capacity for parallel processing and learning from experience (Myers).

Language
The most tangible indication of our thinking [[#|power]] is language-our spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them as we think a communicate. (Myers)
-any form of communication, it allows us to communicate ideas to other human being with the hisses that come out of our breath because it makes sense, and we can sit for hours and listen to someone.
- Language frames much of our thinking, it is built of various elements that emerge as a child matures. (Myers)
  • more than half the world's 6000 languages are spoken by fewer than 10000 people. And slightly more than half world's population speaks one of the 20 languages.(Gibbs)
  • Theory of Linguistic Relativity: speakers of different languages develop different cognitive systems as a result of their differences in language. (Princeton Review)

Key Features about Language:
  1. words rarely sounds like ideas that they convey ( Talamo)
  2. language has structure that is additive. Ex: words to sentences to paragraphs, etc (Talamo)
  3. can be understood and analyzed in many different ways (Talamo)
  4. endless meaningful combination of words (Talamo)
  5. constantly changing and evolving ( Talamo)

For a spoken language, you would need three building blocks for creation. (Myers)
  1. Phonemes - a set of basic sounds. (Myers), or the smallest unit of sound in a word, they are the basic units of sound in a language.
    Ex: Fish has three Phonemes, "F" "i" sh"
  • prosody is the rhythm, stress, and intonation of speech (Talamo 117)
  • generally, though, consonant phonemes carry more information than do vowel phonemes. (Myers)
  • In the English language, there about forty phonemes. (Myers)
  • People who grow up learning one set of phonemes usually have difficulty pronouncing those of a different language.(Myers)
  • Changes in phonemes produce changes in meaning. (Myers)
    • For example, in the word "child" there are four phonemes; ch-i-l-d.
  1. Morpheme - smallest unit of language that carries meaning; may be a word or part of a word (such as a prefix). (Myers)
    • For example, in the word "smallest" there are two morphemes; the first being "small" and the second being "-est".
    • There are a few morphemes that are also phonemes, like "I" and "a". (Myers)
    • Morphemes include prefixes and suffixes, such as preview or -ed that shows past tense. (Myers)
    • Morphemes are made of combinations of two or more phonemes
  2. Grammar - a system of rules that enables us to communicate with others. (Myers)
  • Semantics- The set of rules that we derive meaning from a sentence, morphemes, and words. (Myers)
    • by adding "ed' to the end of laugh we know that it happened it the past. (Myers)
    • For example, "They are hunting dogs." Semantics tells us if the dogs are the ones seeking animals or if people are seeking the dogs.
  • Syntax- The rules we use to combine words into a sentences. Example: in English, the adjective comes before the noun, as in "White House" (Myers). in Spanish, adjectives usually come after nouns an example would be casa blanca.
  • Linguistic Determinism- American linguist Benjamin Whorf’s hypothesis that language determines the way we think. This applies more to people who speak two dissimilar languages like English and Japanese. It seems obvious that that a person thinks differently in different languages (Myers)
    The language(s) one speaks not only influences thinking, but it also influences the way one categorizes, memorizes, perceives, recognizes and recalls information
  • The actual words and grammar may differ from culture to culture, but every society has a history that it transmits in story form to its children. (Myers)
    • In every language the most common words are the smallest. (Myers 402)
    • The more a phrase is used the shorter it becomes.
      • ex) Television becomes TV
      • ex) Compact disk become CD
      • ex) Electronic mail becomes E-mail
  • Words convey ideas, and different languages embody different ways of thinking. (Myers)
    • Language transmits the history of a culture to its children; so despite the words and grammer being different between culturesthe use f language remains the same (Myers 401)
  • Language becomes more complex as you move from phoneme to morpheme, word to sentence.
    • In English, there are around 40 phonemes which can form more than 100,000 morphemes
      • which produce the approximate 616,500 words in the English language
  • Language influences thinking : Words convey ideas, and different languages contains different ways of thinking. It is more accurate to say that language influences thought than language determines thought. (Myers)
Language Development
Children’s language development mirrors language structure- it moves from simplicity to complexity. Infants start without language.(Myers)
[[#|Learning]] to Speak
  • "Children's language development mirrors language structure- it moves from simplicity to complexity" (Myers 402).
  • before 4 months infants make cooing sounds (Talamo 117)
  • Babbling- beginning at 3-4 months, the stage of speech development in which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first not related to household language (Myers)
    • Babbling consists of phonemes, not words.(Myers)
    • Deaf babies babble as well. Many of the natural babbling sounds are consonant-vowel pairs that are formed by bunching the tongue in front of the mouth or by the lips, both are actions that babies do naturally for feeding(Myers 403)
    • Example; When a child of 6 months is trying to speak it comes out unintelligible.
  • One word stage- age 1 -2 years, during which the child speaks mostly in single words. (Myers)
    • In the one word stage, the child has already learned that sounds carry meaning, and use sounds to communicate meaning (Meyer 403).
    • In the one word stage, an inflected word may equal a sentence.
      • An example of this is when a kid says "Doggy!" and may mean "Look at the dog out there!"
  • Janet Werker proved that infants at 6 months can perceive subtle phoneme differences from other languages but by 12 months they cannot
  • First words of an infant are you usually one syllable like ma or da and are barely recognizable but family members quickly understand the infants sounds (Myers)
    • these single words have meaning and are called holophrases (Talamo 117)
    • An infant may look at a dog and yell "Doggy!" to get your attention to the dog. (Myers)
  • Two word stage- Beginning about 2 years, the stage in speech development during which the child speaks mostly two-word statements. (Myers)
    • Children in this telegraphic speech stage tends to follow the rules of syntax; the words are in an understandable order frame
  • Telegraphic speech contains mostly nouns and verbs, and typically says adjectives before nouns like "big doggy" rather than "doggy big" (Myers)
  • There seems to be no "three-word stage". Once children children learn to move out of the two-word stage, they quickly begin uttering longer phrases. (Myers)
  • A problem involving grammar rules known as overregularization (also known as, over-generalization) can occur with children. As children are learning how to speak, they may begin to apply the suffix,-ed, incorrectly. It will be easy to understand what the children are attempting to say, but the grammar rules will not be properly used.
    • For example, it will be described as overrugularization if a child says, "I goed to school yesterday." The child wishes to express the past tense, but does not know not to use the -ed suffix, and instead say "went". [3]
  • We are all born with the ability to recognize speech sounds from all the worlds languages (Myers 403) as we age this ability lessens because we are adapting to the language which we hear on a regular basis
Explaining language development:
  • B.F Skinner believed that we can explain language development with familiar learning principles such as association, imitation and reinforcement. (Myers)
    • A toddler may call any passing person "mama" since the child does not know enough words to express his thoughts properly.
  • Skinner argued, babies learn to talk in many of the same ways that animals learn to peck keys and press bars. (Myers)
  • Noam Chomsky believed that language is almost entirely inborn, but it isn't children do learn their environments language. (Myers)
    • Chomsky proposed an innate language acquisition device, which would facilitate the acquisition of language in children, and a critical period for the learning of language (The Princeton Review).
  • Cognitive neuroscientists believe language is learned through gradual changes in network connections based on experience (Myers)
  • Research that shows that infants learn language extremely easily suggesting an inborn/genetic capacity for language.
  1. six-month old babies looked at a tv screen with their mothers when a synthetic voice said "mommy" and towards a screen with their father's face when the voice said "daddy" suggesting that infants associate the word "mommy" with a video of their mother and "daddy" with a video of their father and are leaning the meaning of language even at this young age.
Thinking and Language
  • in everyday language the most common words are the shortest. As a word or a phase is used more and more, it often gets shortened. television becomes t.v., compact disc becomes CD, electronic mail becomes e-mail. (Triandis)
    • Whorf's hypothesis would probably not occur to people who speak only one language and view that language as simply a vehicle for thought. (Myers)
  • The "bilingual advantage" is where bilingual children, who learn to inhibit their spoken language, can better inhibit their attention to irrelevant information.(Myers)
  • To expand language is to expand the ability to think. (Myers)
  • Inside the ever-active brain, many streams of activity flow in parallel, function automatically, are remembered implicitly, and only occasionally surface as conscious words. "think lite", this unconscious processing has been called "one-fourth the effort of regular thinking."(Myers)
  • Thinking affects our language, which affects our thoughts (Myers).
  • Playing the piano engages thinking without language. In the absence of a piano, mental practice can sustain one's skill. (Myers)
  • Genes design the mechanisms for a language, and experience activates them as it modifies the brain. (Myers)
Explaining Language Development
Skinner: Operant Learning- "B.F. Skinner believed that we can explain language development with familiar learning principles, such as association(of the sights of things with the sounds of words), imitation(Of the words and syntax modeled by others), and reinforcement(with success, smiles, and hugs when the child says something right)." (Myers)
Chomsky: Inborn Universal Grammar- "Chomsky maintains that our language acquisition capacity is lie a box-a "language acquisition device"- in which grammar switches are thrown as children experience their language." (Myers)
Cognitive neuroscientists: learning occurs during life's first few years as the brain builds a dense network of neuronal connections for the mastery of grammar which is critical in development (Myers).
-Our biological predispositions for language does not create language in a vacuum. But activated by social context, nature and nurture work creatively together. (Myers)
- All human languages have the same grammatical building blocks, such as nouns and verbs, subjects, negations, negations and questions.
-The window for learning language is wide open in our early years, then after age 7 it slowly starts closing. The impact of early experience is evident in comparison of deaf and hearing children (Myers).
- As a flower's growth will be stunted without nourishment, so too will children become linguistically stunted if isolated from language during the critical period for its acquisition (Myers).
-overgeneralization in language: Kids overextend rules (Myers)
  • ex: they might call all four legged creatures "dogs"
  • ex: or all flying machines "airplanes"
-When a young brain does not learn any language, its language-learning capacity never fully develops (Myers).
-Genes design the mechanisms for a language, and experience activates them as it modifies the brain.
ex. Grow up in Paris and you will speak French (environment), but doesn't matter if you are a cat (genes) (Myers).
-Brain scans reveal that there is a difference in how the brain records a second language learned versus a second language learned later in life (Myers).
  • Adults who learned a second language early in life use the same patch of frontal lobe tissue to recount an event in either the native or second language (Myers).
  • People who learn their second language after childhood display activity in an adjacent brain area while using their second language (Myers).
  • Those who learn s second language as adults usually speak it with the accent of their first language. Moreover, they typically show poorer mastery of the grammar of the second language. (Myers)
-Deaf children of deaf signing parents and hearing children of hearing parents develop language skills at the same rate, they both are equally effective at opposing parental demands (Myers). Children who learn sign language can communicate with their parents before they learn how to talk.

Animal Thinking and Language

  • Animals, especially the great apes, display remarkable capacities for thinking (Myers 413).
  • Human Language may have evolved from gestured communications (Corbillas,1999, 2002). This fact makes it unsurprising that apes communicate with many gestures and that hand gestures are still a large part of people's speech. In fact, signing is easily developed among deaf people in order to communicate, and even congenitally blind people make hand gestures that are similar to those of sighted people (Myers).
  • Animals communicate in various ways. Ex. bees communicate through dance and sound
  • Chimpanzees have shown insight. (Kohler)
    • Kohler designed an experiment in which a chimpanzee in a cage tried to find a way to reach the out of reach banana outside of the cage. The chimpanzee first used the shorter stick that it was given, and it failed to reach the bannana. Eventually, the chimpanzee saw the connection. There was a longer stick outside of the cage as well. This stick was within reach, if the shorter sticks was used. The chimpanzee, once it had gotten the longer sticks, used it to get the banana.[4] [5]
  • Professor Irene Pepperberg trained an African gray parrot to understand numbers. The parrot can answer question right like "How many green balls," more than 80 percent of the time. (Myers)
  • Apes have been proven to have a cognitive ability (Myers)
  • Apes have the ability to find and use tools for various tasks.
  • Honeybees also show communication. At first people thought, based on Aristotle's beliefs, that an explorer bee that finds nectar has to show the rest where it is, but in fact, it tells them where it is through an intricate dance.
  • A debate issue is whether language is uniquely human. Animals obviously communicate. And several teams of psychologist have taught various species of apes, to communicate with humans by signing or by pushing buttons wired in a computer.(Myers)
  • Apes have developed considerable vocabularies. However, it cannot be said that Apes have developed language because a toddler has better syntax and understanding of language than an adult chimp.We can't say Chimps with a very short vocabulary can talk or because they can perform tasks to earn rewards because other animals, like pigeons, can do the same thing to earn food. (Myers)
  • Skeptics point out important differences between apes' and humans' facilities with language, especially in their respective abilities to order words using proper syntax. (Myers)
  • The ability of chimpanzees to express themselves in American Sign Language (ASL) raises questions about the very nature of language. (Myers)
  • The ability of animals to communicate opens a new problem in which researchers must determine whether their form of language gives them a sense of morality and higher level of intelligence. It was before presumed that animals simply behaved to survive without any meaningful moral rights. Now, scientists have discovered that animals do know how to value relationships and behave in ways that show they comprehend more of the complexities in life than was originally supposed (Myers).
  • Although they may be able to communicate, apes gain their limited vocabularies only with great difficulty. (Myers)
  • Steven Pinker concluded that "Chimps do not develop language." (Myers)

  1. ^ McEntarffer, Robert, and Allyson Weseley. Barron's AP Psychology. Fifth ed. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series, 2012. Print.
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  2. ^ McEntarffer, Robert, and Allyson Weseley. Barron's AP Psychology. Fifth ed. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series, 2012. Print.
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  3. ^ McEntarffer, Robert, and Allyson Weseley. Barron's AP Psychology. Fifth ed. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series, 2012. Print.
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  4. ^ McEntarffer, Robert, and Allyson Weseley. Barron's AP Psychology. Fifth ed. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series, 2012. Print.
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  5. ^ Myers, David G. Myers' Psychology for AP. Seventh ed. New York, NY: Worth, 2004. Print.
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