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Purdue PSY 23500 - Chapter 7 Child Psychology

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Language lets us find the basic order of the world (as well as the super order and the suborder).Maybe we just notice the general similarities between members of a category. There’s a theoryof memory that says that in our brain, we have a prototype for each category; the best or mostrepresentative member of a category. Prototypes might not necessarily be the same as thearchetypal examples of a category.For kids to recognize things, you’d have to have an enormous variety of things.Benjamin Whorf’s linguistic relativity hypothesis says language changes how you think andperceive the world.Language is a kind of extrasensory perception, letting us perceive and understand more thanwhat is normally possible. Babies know all of the following before the age of 2:● Phonology: sounds of language● Phonotactics: combining different sounds and learning how the sounds go together● Segmentation: finding units in fluent speech. The ability to segment speech occurs ataround 7-10 months.a. Babies learn better when adults use infant-directed speech, the exaggeratedmusical-style speech we have when talking to babies.● Semantics: what the words mean● Grammar: the language-specific rules for combining units to express meaningsa. Syntax = the order of words going togetherb. When children are first learning syntax, they just say the words without any of thefluff like “the”, “and”, or “has.” This watered-down version of speech (but still withthe correct order) is called telegraphic speechc. The wug test is basically a grammar test that shows that 3-year-old children canfigure out how to modify words to suit a situation. For example, if a kid has anobject and is given a second one, they now know to say the plural “wugs.”Several methods have made all the difference in understanding babies’ linguistic capabilities1. Sucking paradigm: giving children pacifiers to both entertain them and get their mouthsused to moving in different ways so they can talk better2. The headturn sucking procedure: children respond (turn head) more to languages thatthey’ve been exposed to. English babies turn their heads to speaking English, Japanesebabies turn their heads to speaking Japanese, etc.3. The intermodal preference procedure: exposing children to pictures andcorresponding sounds. (Ex: hearing “mom” and seeing a picture of their mom.) If theylinger on the picture longer, it means they recognize what the word meansBabies produce speech in a few different ways1. They start with precanonical vocalizations. These are nonsense cooing phrases thatuse totally different parts of the brain2. At around 6 months, the cooing evolves to canonical vocalizations and the baby startsbabbling3. Finally, at around 10-18 months the child starts using advanced forms. It still makes nodamn sense, but it sounds like speechSome words develop faster than others because of three factors…1. Frequency: the more a child hears a word, the faster they learn it. However, they mightovergeneralize or undergeneralize what words mean2. Social cues: children who don’t follow eye gaze (such as autistic children) have themost problem with language3. Heuristics: different “rules” for what words might mean, letting the children guess atwhat unfamiliar words actually mean.a. The most common kind is shape bias, where children think that different shapesalone determine words. Because of this, it can be hard for children to learn aboutthe words for different colorsb. Another kind is morphology, which is especially confusing for children. This iswhen we change the suffix of a word to match context, such as saying “cutting”as a present tense for “cut.”Learning a second verbal language and learning sign language do similar things for the brain,but with one major distinction: because of the lack of auditory feedback, deaf children neverprogress past the babbling stage of making sound, and they actually stop making sounds after awhile.● Scientists believe language is an innate module● Children who learn a new language or learn new signs (even if they’re hearing) have alarger vocabulary by age 2 and speak earlier. These advantages disappear by 3 years


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