Language and Thinking
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Language and Thinking



The reference book for this presentation is

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Psychology: The Science of Mind and and Behavior 4th Edition by Michael Passer and Ronald Smith



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  • The use of sounds, written characters, or some other system of symbols (e.g., hand signs) to representobjects, events, ideas, feelings, and actions
  • A language’s grammar is the set of rules that dictate how symbols can be combined to create meaningful unitsof communication. Syntax are the rules that govern the order of words.
  • The behaviorist B. F. Skinner (1957) developed an operant conditioning explanation for language acquisition. His basic premise was that children’s language development is strongly governed by adults’ positive reinforcement of appropriate language and non reinforcement or correction of inappropriateverbalizations. However, most modern psycholinguists doubt that operant learning principles alone can account for language development.
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging 

Language and Thinking Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Prepared by: Rolyn Jean Acol
  • 2.  consists of a system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that can generate an infinite number of possible messages and meanings Psycholinguistics  the scientific study of the psychological aspects of language, such as how people understand, produce, and acquire language
  • 3.  Over the course of evolution, humans adopted a more socially oriented lifestyle Emergence of new SURVIVAL problems:  The need to create divisions of labor and cooperative social systems  To develop social customs  To communicate thoughts  To pass on knowledge and wisdom
  • 4.  Symbols  The use of sounds, written characters, or some other system of symbols (e.g., hand signs) to represent objects, events, ideas, feelings, and actions
  • 5.  Structure  Grammar – set of rules that dictate how symbols can be combined to create meaningful units of communication  Syntax – rules that govern the order of words
  • 6.  Meaning  Semantics - the meaning of words and sentences
  • 7.  Generativity  the symbols of language can be combined to generate an infinite number of messages that have meaning Displacement  refers to the fact that language allows us to communicate about events and objects that are not physically present
  • 8.  Surface structure  consists of the symbols that are used and their order Deep structure  refers to the underlying meaning of the combined symbols Consider these sentences:  Sam ate the cake.  The cake was eaten by Sam.  Eaten by Sam the cake was.
  • 9.  Bottom-Up Processing  Individual elements of a stimulus are analyzed and then combined to form a unified perception Top-Down Processing  Sensory information is interpreted in light of existing knowledge, concepts, ideas, and expectations
  • 10.  Pragmatics  knowledge of the practical aspects of using language
  • 11. Brain-imaging research bySusan Rossell and coworkers(2002)
  • 12.  It represents the joint influences of biology (nature) and environment (nurture). Many language experts believe that humans are born linguists, inheriting a biological readiness to recognize and eventually produce the sounds and structure of whatever language they are exposed to (Chomsky, 1965; Pinker, 2000).
  • 13.  Biological Foundation  Human children begin to master language early in life without any formal instruction  Languages throughout the world that developed independently seem to have common underlying structural characteristics  Recognition and distinction of phonemes
  • 14.  Language acquisition device (LAD)  an innate biological mechanism that contains the general grammatical rules common to all languages (Chomsky , 1987) Universal grammar becomes calibrated to the grammar and syntax of one’s native tongue
  • 15.  Social Learning Processes  Child-directed speech, parentese or baby talk  Parents are more concerned with deep structure Language Acquisition Support System (LASS)  represent factors in the social environment that facilitate the learning of a language (Jerome Bruner ;1983)
  • 16. Telegraphic One-Word Speech Utterances (2-3 year Babbling (12-24 old) (4-11 months) Cooing months) (1-4 months)Reflexive ComplexCrying at SpeechBirth (5 year old)
  • 17. Nature vs Nurture Genie (the Feral Child)  Subjected to a near-total isolation by her parents for the first 13 years of her life (1970)  Genies case presented researchers with a unique opportunity. If given an enriched learning environment, could she overcome her deprived childhood and learn language even though she had missed the sensitive period?
  • 18. NATURE NURTURENoam Chomsky Eric Lennebergthe acquisition of language could not be the ability to acquire language is subjectfully explained by learning alone. to what are known as sensitive periodsLanguage Acquisition Device (LAD) - an Sensitive Period - limited span of timeinnate ability to understand the principles during which an organism is sensitive toof language external stimuli and capable of acquiring certain skillsOnce exposed to language, the LAD The sensitive period for languageallows children to learn the language at acquisition lasts until around age 12.a remarkable pace. After the onset of puberty, he argued, the organization of the brain becomes set and no longer able to learn and utilize language in a fully functional manner.
  • 19. Nonhuman species communicate in diverse ways.
  • 20.  Some scientists attempted to challenge the assumption that only humans have the capacity to use full-fledged language by teaching apes to use human language Sign Language  Washoe (Allen and Beatrice Gardner; 1969) ▪ Loulis - learned by observing adoptive mother  Nim Chimspky (Herbert Terrace ;1979)
  • 21.  Kanzi (Savage-Rumbaugh;1993)
  • 22.  the use of two languages in daily life It is said that a second language would be learned best and spoken most fluently when acquired early in life
  • 23.  The Journal of Neuroscience (Jan. 09,2013)  A study of Brian T. Gold, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine utilizing fMRI  Seniors who have spoken two languages since childhood are faster than single-language speakers at switching from one task to another  Cognitive flexibility – the ability to adapt to unfamiliar or unexpected circumstances
  • 24.  A UCSD study tried to find out how the brain works in the learning of a second language. In general, they found that in the less proficient language, the brain recruits many more areas than in processing the dominant language
  • 25.  The internal language of the mind refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individuals subjective consciousness
  • 26.  Propositional Thought  it expresses a statement, such as “I’m hungry” , “ I didn’t eat breakfast” or “It’s almost time for lunch.” Imaginal Thought  consists of images that we can see, hear, or feel in our mind Motoric Thought  relates to mental representations of motor movements, such as throwing an object All three modes of thinking enter into our abilities to reason, solve problems, and engage in many forms of intelligent behavior.
  • 27.  Propositions  statements that express ideas Concepts  basic units of semantic memory—mental categories into which we place objects, activities, abstractions and events that have essential features in common Prototypes  the most typical and familiar members of a category or class
  • 28.  (1) You are the bus driver. At your first stop, you pick up 29 people. On your second stop, 18 of those 29 people get off, and at the same time 10 new passengers arrive. At your next stop, 3 of those 10 passengers get off, and 13 new passengers come on. On your fourth stop 4 of the remaining 10 passengers get off, 6 of those new 13 passengers get off as well, then 17 new passengers get on. What is the color of the bus drivers eyes?
  • 29.  (2) A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that havent eaten in 3 years. Which room is the safest for him?
  • 30.  Distraction by Irrelevant Information Belief bias  tendency to abandon logical rules in favor of our own personal beliefs Emotions Framing  refers to the idea that the same information, problem, or options can be structured and presented in different ways
  • 31. Humans have an unmatchedability to solve problems andadapt to the challenges oftheir worldMental set - the tendency tostick to solutions that haveworked in the past
  • 32.  Algorithms  formulas or procedures that automatically generate correct solutions
  • 33.  Heuristics  general problem-solving strategies that we apply to certain classes of situations Means-ends analysis  Identify differences between the present situation and the desired state, or goal, and then make changes that will reduce these differences Subgoal analysis  formulating sub goals or intermediate steps, toward a solution
  • 34.  Few decisions in everyday life can be made with the absolute certainty that comes from applying some mathematical formula or other algorithm Typically, the best we can hope for is a decision that has a high probability of a positive outcome
  • 35.  Representativeness Heuristic  Infer how closely something or someone fits our prototype for a particular concept, or class, and therefore how likely it is to be a member of that class  Priming Function - activating the elements in memory that are associated with a certain concept Availability Heuristic  causes us to base judgments and decisions on the availability of information in memory
  • 36.  Confirmation Bias  tending to look for evidence that will confirm what they currently believe rather than look for evidence that could disconfirm their beliefs Overconfidence  the tendency to overestimate one’s correctness in factual knowledge, beliefs, and decisions
  • 37.  the ability to produce something that is both new and valuable
  • 38.  Knowledge forms a foundation for expertise and wisdom Each culture passes down its knowledge and worldview from one generation to the next through language, instruction, and socialization
  • 39.  Expert Schema and Memory Experts have developed many schemas to guide problem solving in their field, and just as critically, they are much better than novices at recognizing when each schema should be applied. Applying the correct mental blueprint provides a proven route to solving a problem quickly and effectively.
  • 40.  represents a system of knowledge about the meaning and conduct of life
  • 41.  Rich factual knowledge about life Rich procedural knowledge about life An understanding of life- span contexts An awareness of the relativism of values and priorities The ability to recognize and manage uncertainty
  • 42.  Representation of a stimulus that originates inside your brain, rather than from external sensory input Imagery Neurons  Respond to a particular stimulus regardless of whether it is visual (a photo of a baseball) or imagined (a mental image of a baseball)
  • 43.  awareness and understanding of your own cognitive abilities Two components:  Metamemory ▪ How well one gauges his memory capabilities  Metacomprehension ▪ How well one gauges her comprehension capabilities
  • 44.  Linguistic Relativity and Determinism  language differences cause differences in the mind of people who use that language  structure of human cognition is determined by the categories and structures that already exist in the language Humans can think without using language but language skills facilitate learning and remembering, identify issues and draw conclusions
  • 45.  Language influences what people think and how effectively they think. Expansion of vocabulary allows people to encode and process information in more sophisticated ways.