Psychology 101: Chapter 9

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  • The Chapter 9 slides are relevant to APA Outcome 1.2a(1). Specific slides are additionally relevant to other outcomes as noted on the notes page associated with the relevant slide. The Chapter 9 slides also illustrate the cognitive perspective in psychology and thus relate to APA Outcome 1.4.
  • Figure 9.2. Languages have a hierarchical structure that includes the fundamental sounds of speech and the more complex levels of spoken conversation. Complex rules determine how words are combined into phrases and sentences and how fundamental speech sounds (phonemes) combine to create the smallest units of meaning (morphemes) and words.
  • Figure 9.3. The surface structure of a sentence is its appearance, the literal ordering of words. Deep structure is the meaning of the sentence. This figure shows how the same surface structure - “Visiting relatives can be a nuisance” - can reflect two different deep structures. Similarly, a single deep structure can be transformed into two or more acceptable surface structures.
  • The discussion of language among nonhuman animals is relevant to theme of continuity vs. discontinuity between humans and other species, Outcome 1.2d(2).
  • This slide illustrates the evolutionary perspective in psychology -- Outcome 1.4 is relevant.
  • Figure 9.4. One way to assign category membership is by defining features. For example, members of the generic category “bird” might be expected to fly regularly , sing, and lay eggs in nests. Unfortunately, people have a tough time identifying and agreeing on the defining features for most natural categories. All of the objects shown here are birds, but they don’t necessarily share the same properties. (Based on Smith, 1989.)
  • Figure 9.5. Are all of these objects members of the category “cup”? Labov (1973) discovered that as the width of the object increased, the more likely people were to label it as a “bowl.” But the cup category boundary was fuzzy rather than firm; a significant number of people remained convinced that the fourth object was indeed a cup. (From Goldstein, 1994.)
  • Figure 9.6. How do we decide whether an object is a member of a particular category? According to prototype theory, we compare the object to the abstract “best” example of the category (a generic bird). If the new object is similar to the prototype, it is assigned to the prototype’s category. Exemplar theories of categorization propose instead that we compare the new object to all the individual examples of the category that have been stored in memory. Category membership is based on the summed similarity between the new object and the exemplars.
  • Figure 9.7. Virtually all categories have a hierarchical structure - there are categories within categories within categories. Most things, like this cat, fit nicely into several natural category levels. But when people refer to something during normal conversation, they tend to use its intermediate, or basic-level , category label. They call this a “cat” rather than a “living thing,” an “animal,” or an “18-year-old Siamese cat who likes salmon.”
  • The slides on problem solving and decision making relate to such critical thinking outcomes as 3.1e -- Recognize and defend against common fallacies in thinking -- and 3.2 and 3.4 -- Engage in creative thinking and Approach problems effectively .
  • Figure 9.9. Using only the materials shown, figure out a way to mount the candle on the wall.
  • Psychology 101: Chapter 9

    1. 1. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Chapter 9Language and Thought
    2. 2. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 What’s It For? Cognitive Processes• Communicating With Others• Classifying and Categorizing• Solving Problems• Making Decisions
    3. 3. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Communicating With Others: Learning Goals2. Understand the structure of language.3. Isolate the factors that contribute to language comprehension.4. Identify the major milestones of language development.5. Assess language in nonhuman species.6. Evaluate the possibility that language is an adaptation.
    4. 4. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 The Structure of Language• Grammar sets language apart from other communication systems – Set of rules that allow the communicator to combine arbitrary symbols to convey meaning – Three aspects: • Phonology: Rules for word sounds • Syntax: Rules for combining words • Semantics: Rules used to communicate meaning
    5. 5. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 The Hierarchical Structure of Language• Phonemes: Smallest significant sound units in speech – Example: “ee” as in “feet”• Morphemes: Smallest units of language that carry meaning – Examples: “do,” “un”• Words, phrases, and sentences – Words combine to make phrases • Example: “the interesting class” is a noun phrase
    6. 6. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9
    7. 7. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 The Structure of Sentences• Rules of syntax determine how words combine into phrases, and phrases into sentences• Chomsky’s idea of how sentences work: – Surface structure: Superficial appearance, literal ordering of words – Deep structure: Underlying representation of meaning – Producing sentences requires transformation of deep structure into a surface structure
    8. 8. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9
    9. 9. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Language Comprehension• How do we decide what another person is trying to communicate? – Communication depends on common knowledge among speakers• Pragmatic rules: How practical knowledge is used to comprehend speaker’s intention, produce an effective response – Example pragmatic guidelines (Grice): Be informative, tell the truth, be relevant, be clear
    10. 10. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Language Development• Is language a product of genes or experience? – Babies follow similar milestones all over the world• Babies are born producing phonemes appropriate for many languages, but soon narrow these down – By 3-5 weeks: Cooing (e.g., “oooh”) – By 4-6 months: Babbling (e.g., “baba”) – By 6-18 months: More like adult speech
    11. 11. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Child Speak• By the end of the second year, telegraphic speech begins – Simple two-word sentences – Word order almost always correct• Sophisticated grammar skills learned during the preschool years, with little formal teaching – Preschoolers tend to overgeneralize rules • Example: goed, foots• Grammatical knowledge fine-tuned from 3 to about 6 or 7
    12. 12. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Language in Nonhuman Species• Nonhuman animals definitely communicate, but not all communication is language• Attempts to teach chimps to speak failed• Signs/symbol communication in chimps: – Chimps such as Washoe, Sarah, and Kanzi have learned to use these• Is it really language? – Can they generate new combinations? – Can they learn from other chimps? – Psychologists disagree on the answers
    13. 13. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Is Language an Adaptation?• Many scientists believe that natural selection caused this special ability to develop• Evidence for adaptation view includes special brain regions for language, specially developed vocal tract, similarity of languages all around the world – However: Fossil record can’t show how or when it developed, or why
    14. 14. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Classifying and Categorizing: Learning Goals1. Explain how categories and category membership are defined.2. Distinguish between prototype and exemplar views of categorization.3. Describe the hierarchical organization of categories.
    15. 15. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Classifying and Categorizing• Category: Class of objects that most people agree belong together – Being able to categorize is adaptive• Important questions about categorizing: – What properties about an object make it belong to a particular category? – Do we form abstract category representations? – Are categories organized into hierarchies?
    16. 16. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Defining Category Membership• Example: You know that Monopoly is an example of the category “game,” but why?• Defining features view: Categories are defined by features that all members share – But: Many categories don’t have features shared by all; boundaries are fuzzy• Family resemblance view: Members of a category share certain core features, but not all members have to have all these features
    17. 17. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9
    18. 18. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9
    19. 19. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Do People Store Category Prototypes?• Prototype: Best or most representative member of a category (e.g., robin, for the category ‘bird’) – Could categorize by storing prototypes, comparing exemplars (examples) to them.• Alternative: Store all examples of the category, and categorize by comparing each exemplar to all the other ones• Different researchers disagree on this question; perhaps we do both
    20. 20. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9
    21. 21. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 The Hierarchical Structure of Categories• Most objects can be categorized in several ways – Example: Monopoly -> “board game,” “game,” “activity” – How do we organize different categories?• Basic-level category: Used most often, is most useful and predictive• Superordinate categories: More general, less descriptive• Subordinate-level categories: Very specific
    22. 22. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9
    23. 23. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Solving Problems: Learning Goals1. Distinguish between well- and ill-defined problems.2. Describe the pitfalls of problem representation.3. Compare algorithms and heuristics.4. Describe the “aha!” moment in problem solving.
    24. 24. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Problem Types• Well-defined: Goal and starting point are clear; you know when it’s been solved – Example: Algebra problems• Ill-defined: Goal and starting point are unclear; hard to tell when solution is reached – Many real-life problems are ill-defined – Example: What is the secret to having a happy life?
    25. 25. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Representing Problem Information• To solve a problem, you need to understand what information is given and how that information can potentially be used• Functional fixedness: Tendency to see objects and their functions in fixed and typical ways – Failure to restructure the way you think about elements in the problem
    26. 26. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9
    27. 27. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Developing Strategies• Two kinds of strategies: – Algorithms: Step-by step procedures that guarantee a solution – Heuristics: “Shortcuts” that are efficient but don’t guarantee a solution• Need to avoid “mental set”: Tendency to rely on problem-solving strategies that were successful in the past
    28. 28. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Common Heuristics• Means-end analysis – Find actions (means) that reduce the gap between the current starting point and goal (ends) – Usually requires breaking down problem into subgoals• Working backward• Searching for analogies
    29. 29. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 The “Aha!” Moment• Insight: Process by which solution seems to “magically” pop into mind – Tends to be sudden, rather than systematic progression toward solution• What causes it to happen? – Difficulty of re-creating and studying insight in laboratory studies makes this difficult to answer – Answer is largely a mystery
    30. 30. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Making Decisions: Learning Goals1. Explain how framing alternatives influences decision making.2. Identify common decision-making biases.3. Describe common decision-making heuristics.4. Evaluate the pros and cons of using heuristics.
    31. 31. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 The Framing of Decision Alternatives• Framing: How alternatives are presented – Example: Is a course of action framed as a way to ensure a gain or avoid a loss? – People tend to avoid risks when gain is emphasized, take risks when loss is emphasized• Framing can lead to irrational choices – Example: Doctors are more likely to choose a treatment they see as preventing death, as opposed to extending life
    32. 32. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Decision-Making Biases• Confirmation bias: Tendency to seek out and use information that supports and confirms a prior decision or belief – People avoid seeking out information that might contradict a prior belief• Belief persistence: Tendency to cling to initial beliefs even when confronted with disconfirming evidence – People tend to try to find reasons why beliefs could still be true, even with contradictory evidence
    33. 33. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Representativeness• When judging likelihood of something falling into a class, compare the similarity of that thing to the average member of that class• Example: Which is probably a random series of coin flips, H H H T T T or H T T H T H? – Both are equally likely, but one is more representative• Mistakes that can result from representativeness: – Ignoring the base rate – Conjunction error
    34. 34. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Availability• Base estimates of an event’s likelihood on ease with which examples of the event come to mind• Example: Diseases that get a lot of publicity are estimated as more common than other diseases• Example: You believe it’s more likely that you will do the dishes than your roommate will – You remember all the times you did the dishes, but not as many of the times that your roommate did them
    35. 35. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Anchoring-and-Adjustment• Judgments are influenced by starting points, such as initial estimates• Example: What percent of African countries belong to the United Nations? – “More than or less than 65?” -> Higher estimate – “More than or less than 10%” -> Lower estimate
    36. 36. Psychology, Fifth Edition, James S. Nairne Chapter 9 Heuristics: Pros and Cons• Research on heuristics emphasizes the serious mistakes we make• Good things about heuristics: – In real life, we often make good decisions anyway – They are faster and easier to use than optimal reasoning strategies – Oftentimes, we don’t have the statistical information for optimal reasoning anyway

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