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Chapter 9 - Language and Thought

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April M

on 5 March 2015

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Transcript of Chapter 9 - Language and Thought

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
Language and Thought
Language and Communication
Concepts and Categories
Rational Choice Theory
Decision Making
Means-Ends Analysis
Problem Solving
Transforming Information
a system for communication with others using signals that convey meaning
a set of rules that specify how the units of language can be combined to produce meaningful messages
combined according to
The smallest units of sound that are recognizable as speech rather than as random noise
Phonological rules
Indicate how phonemes can be combined to produce speech sounds
combined according to
structure of
Basic Characteristics
some English phonemes
combined into
The smallest meaningful units of language
result in

e 'to
away from'
e 'to
e 'to
e 'to
t 'to
Example of the English (function) Morpheme 'duc'
Morphological rules
Indicate how morphemes can be combined to form words
combined according to
Syntactical rules
Indicate how words can be combined to form phrases and sentences
lead to
Surface Structure
How a sentence is worded
Deep Structure
What a sentence means
The dog chased the cat.
The cat was chased by the dog.
Fast mapping
children map a word onto an underlying concept after only a single exposure
Telegraphic speech
Speech that is devoid of function morphemes and consists mostly of content words
development of
Language Milestones
Language is learned through reinforcement, shaping, extinction, etc
Language and Thought
Theories of Language Development
Language development is best explained as an innate, biological capacity
Although infants have innate ability for language, social interactions are crucial
Language acquisition device
a collection of processes that facilitate language acquisition
Language disorders
Genetic dysphasia
A syndrome characterized by an inability to learn the grammatical structure of language despite having otherwise normal intelligence
evidence for
Difficulty in
Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis
The proposal that language shapes the nature of thought
A mental representation that groups or categorizes shared features of related objects, events, or other stimuli
Theories of Concepts and Categories
Family Resemblance
Members of a category have features that appear to be characteristic of category members but may not be possessed by every member
Category membership is determined based on a new instance's resemblance to a "best" or "most typical" member of a category
Category judgments are made by comparing a new instance with stored memories for other instances of the category
Is this Superman?
compare to
new instance
Is this Superman?
compare to
new instance
is the average of
Concepts, Categories, and the Brain
Category-Specific Deficit
A neurological syndrome that is characterized by an inability to recognize objects that belong to a particular category though the ability to recognize objects outside the category is undisturbed
Participants asked to silently name pictures of animals and tools while being scanned with fMRI
We make decisions by determining how likely something is to happen, judging the value of the outcome, and then multiplying the two
Which would you choose?
a. A 10% chance to win $500 b. A 20% chance to win $2,000
Expected gain $50
($500 x 10%)
Expected gain $400
($2000 x 20%)
more rational
The Rational Ideal
Frequency & Probability
Frequency = Count
The Irrational Reality
easy for people
harder for people
Probability = Likelihood
Availability Bias
Items that are more readily available in memory are judged as having occured more frequently
A fast and efficient strategy that may facilitate decision making but
does not guarantee
that a solution will be reached
A well-defined sequence of procedures or rules that
a solution to a problem
Conjunction Fallacy
When people think that two events are more likely to occur together than either individual event
The Linda Problem:
Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. In college, she majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice and also participated in antinuclear demonstrations.
Which is more probable?
a. Linda is a bank teller

b. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement
Here's the issue
(Most people say 'b')
Representative heuristic
A mental shortcut that involves making a probability judgment by comparing an object or event to a prototype of the object or event
Framing effects
When people give different answers to the same problem depending on how the problem is phrased or framed
Which drug would you take?
A drug that works 70% of the time
A drug that fails 30% of the time
hint: These are both the same drug
Sunk-Cost Fallacy
A framing effect in which people make decisions about a current situation based on what they have previously invested
You just spent a non-refundable $12 to see Adam Sandler's movie 'Jack and Jill'. Like almost everyone else, about ten minutes into the movie you realize you hate it. Do you stay to finish the movie?
Many people would say 'yes' because they don't want to have wasted their $12, however the real choice is:

a. Spend $12 and have an extra hour of free time if you leave the movie

b. Spend $12 and endure the terrible movie wasting both your time and your money
Why We Make
Prospect theory
The proposal that people choose to take on risk when evaluating potential losses and avoid risks when evaluating potential gains
Which would you choose?
a. A 100% chance to win $3000 b. An 80% chance to win $4,000
Expected value $3000
Expected value $3200
($4000 x 80%)
Most people choose 'a' even though it has a lower expected value!
Frequency format hypothesis
The proposal that our minds evolved to notice how frequently things occur, not how likely they are to occur
leads to
A process of searching for the means or steps to reduce differences bwetween the current situation and the desired goal
Analogical Problem Solving
Solving a problem by finding a similar problem with a known solution and applying that solution to the current problem
You are given four separate pieces of chain that are each three links in length. It costs two cents to open a link and three cents to close a link. All links are closed at the beginning of the problem. Your goal is to join all twelve links of a chain into a single circle at a cost of no more than fifteen cents.
An island surrounded by bridges is the site of an enemy fortress. The massive fortification is so strongly defended that only a very large army could overtake it. Unfortunately, the bridges would collapse under the weight of such a huge force. So, a clever general divides the army into several smaller units and sends the units over different bridges, timing the crossings so that the many streams of soldiers converge on the fortress at the same time and the fortress is taken.
A patient has an inoperable tumor in his abdomen. The tumor is inoperable because it is surrounded by healthy but fragile tissue that would be severely damaged during surgery. How can the patient be saved?
Does this help?
Functional Fixedness
The tendency to perceive the functions of objects as fixed
The strings hung from hooks on either side of the ceiling are long enough to be tied together, but they are positioned too far apart to reach one while holding on to the other. Using the tools shown on the table, how can you accomplish the task?
A mental activity that consists of organizing information or beliefs into a series of steps to reach conclusions
Practical Reasoning
Figuring out what to do, or reasoning directed toward action.
Theoretical Reasoning
Reasoning directed toward arriving at a belief
type of
type of
Belief Bias
People's judgments about whether to accept conclusions depend more on how believable the conclusions are than on whether the arguments are logically valid
Syllogistic reasoning
Determining whether a conclusion follows from two statements that are assumed to be true
Are the following syllogisms true?
Statement 1: No cigarettes are inexpensive.
Statement 2: Some addictive things are inexpensive.
Conclusion: Some addictive things are not cigarettes.
Statement 1: No addictive things are inexpensive.
Statement 2: Some cigaretttes are inexpensive.
Conclusion: Some cigarettes are not addictive.
if you said "false" you
are most likely demonstrating
The smallest meaningful units of language
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