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Psychology Review Language Cognition The Structure of Language Language is a system of symbols and rules used for meaningful communication A language uses symbols and syntax and is meaningful and generative Language is organized hierarchically from phonemes to morphemes to phrases and sentences Children develop language in a set sequence of stages Theories of Language Acquisition Behaviorist B F Skinner strongly supported the idea that language depends Skinner believed that people acquire language through principles of largely on environment conditioning Critics argue the inadequacy of behaviorist explanations Some cognitive neuroscientists have created neural networks that can acquire some aspects of language by encountering many examples of language They think children may acquire language in the same way Noam Chomsky is the main proponent of the importance of biological influences on language development Chomsky proposed that human brains have a language acquisition device that allows children to acquire language easily Some researchers believe that language is both biologically and environmentally determined The linguistic relativity hypothesis states that language determines the Today researchers believe language influences rather than determines way people think thought Two ways that people use language to influence thinking are semantic slanting and name calling People master a new language better if they begin learning it in childhood Nonhuman animals can learn some aspects of language Language and Nonhuman Primates Some researchers have tried to teach apes to use language Apes can communicate but researchers are divided on whether this communication can really be considered learning language The Structure of Cognition Cognition involves activities such as understanding problem solving decision making and being creative People use mental representations such as concepts prototypes and cognitive schemas when they think Theories of Cognitive Development Jean Piaget believed that children s cognitive skills unfold naturally as they mature and explore their environment Lev Vygotsky believed that children s socio cultural environment plays an important role in cognitive development Some researchers have shown that humans are born with some basic cognitive abilities Problem Solving not easily attained and transformation Problem solving is the active effort people make to achieve a goal that is Three common types of problems involve inducing structure arranging Some approaches to problem solving are trial and error deductive and inductive reasoning use of algorithms and heuristics dialectical reasoning creation of subgoals use of similar problems and changes in the way the problems are represented Researchers have identified many obstacles to effective problem solving such as focus on irrelevant information functional fixedness mental set and assumptions about unnecessary constraints Decision Making Decision making involves weighing alternatives and choosing among them Additive strategies and elimination strategies are ways of making decisions about preferences Using expected value subjective utility the availability heuristic and the representativeness heuristic are all ways of making risky decisions Using the representativeness heuristic can make people susceptible to biases such as the tendency to ignore base rates and the gambler s fallacy Using the availability heuristic can make people susceptible to overestimating the improbable or underestimating the probable In an effort to minimize risk people also make decision making errors such as the overconfidence effect the confirmation bias and belief perseverance Creativity Creativity is the ability to generate novel useful ideas Creativity is characterized by divergent rather than convergent thinking Some characteristics of creative people are expertise nonconformity curiosity persistence and intrinsic motivation People can best realize their creative potential if they are in environmental circumstances that promote creativity Intelligence Theories of Intelligence Intelligence is the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge Intelligence includes the ability to benefit from experience act purposefully solve problems and adapt to new situations Charles Spearman proposed a general intelligence factor g that underlies all intelligent behavior Howard Gardner proposed that there are eight domains of intelligence Robert Sternberg distinguished among three aspects of intelligence Emotional intelligence helps people to perceive express understand and regulate emotions Intelligence Testing The most commonly used individual tests of intelligence are the Binet Simon scale the Stanford Binet Scale and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence The Binet Simon scale yielded scores in terms of mental age The original Stanford Binet test yielded scores in terms of intelligence Scale quotient or IQ The Wechsler test yields scores based on a normal distribution Although the term IQ is still used current intelligence tests present scores based on a normal distribution Group intelligence tests are often used in educational settings Some researchers have suggested that there are biological indices of intelligence such as reaction time and perceptual speed Many psychologists believe that cultural bias affects intelligence tests Intelligence tests are standardized Norms provide information about how a score compares with other people s scores Intelligence tests are very reliable Intelligence tests are reasonably valid measures of academic ability Intelligence tests have both critics and advocates The Influence of Heredity and Environment There is dispute about how and how much heredity and environment affect Evidence for hereditary influences come from family studies twin studies intelligence and adoption studies estimation groups discrepancy Heritability estimates for intelligence vary depending on the method used for Evidence for environmental influences comes from adoption studies studies of environmental deprivation and the Flynn effect There is probably a reaction range for IQ Reaction range refers to limits set on IQ by heredity Environment determines where IQ will lie within these limits There is a discrepancy in IQ scores between whites and some minority There are both hereditary and environmental explanations for this The higher IQ test scores and better school performance of Asian Americans may be due to cultural factors Achievement An achievement

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FAU PSY 1012 - The Structure of Language

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