Psych 101 – Chapter 9 - Part 1

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Transcript Psych 101 – Chapter 9 - Part 1


(5th Ed)

Chapter 9

Thinking, Language, and Intelligence

Thinking (cognition)

 Thinking:  Mental activities associated with:     processing understanding remembering communicating


 Concepts:  mental groupings of similar objects or ideas  examples:  truck  dog  sad

Concepts – formed by definition

 Example: shape with 3 sides

Concepts – formed by developing prototypes  Prototype  mental image or best example

Thinking: Solving Problems

 Insight:  suddenly realize the solution to a problem  doesn’t require use of strategies  example: “getting” a joke

Thinking: Solving Problems

 We also use strategies  Algorithms:    methodical step-by-step can take longer  Heuristics:   simpler strategies quicker  more error-prone

Problem Solving Obstacles

 Confirmation Bias  we tend to search for info that confirms our ideas  overlook contradictory info  example: communication with deceased  Fixation  inability to see a problem from a new perspective

The Representativeness Heuristic

 judge likelihood of things by how well they match prototypes  ignore other info

Representativeness Heuristic

A person is short, slim, and likes to read poetry.

more likely to be a professor of classics at Ivy League university or truck driver?

Availability Heuristic

 judging likelihood of events based on how readily they come to mind (memory)  quickly comes to mind  we assume it is common  sometimes true, but not always  results in errors

Availability Heuristic

Does the letter k appear more often as the first or third letter in English usage?

 examples of 1 st letter: knife, king, know  think of examples quickly  examples of 3 rd letter: take, likelihood, ask   harder to think of but actually more likely


 tend to overestimate:  accuracy of our knowledge  our performance in tasks  examples  school assignments (take longer than we expect)  can also be positive  people who have more overconfidence:  happier   find it easier to make decisions seen as more credible


 same information, presented differently can lead us to feel differently  hearing that 10% die from a surgery vs. hearing that 90% survive  risk is rated as greater when we hear 10% die  risks framed with numbers cause more fear than percentages  10 people out of 10 million will die versus .000001 will die  survey questions can be framed to support or reject viewpoints

Belief Perseverance

 stick with our beliefs even if they have been discredited  example: opposing views of capital punishment  subjects were shown mixed evidence:   more impressed by the study that supported their beliefs disputed the other study

Fear: Why do we fear the wrong things?

 Flying versus driving    Ancestral history  (snakes, heights) Fear what we cannot control  driving we control (flying we don’t) Fear what is immediate  smokers may fear flying  Fear what is most readily available in memory  dramatic tsunami (killed 300,000) vs. malaria killing similar # of children every few months


 Language  spoken, written, signed words  combined to communicate meaning  1 st birthday to high school graduation  we learn 60,000 words (10 per day)


 Babbling Stage  beginning at 3 to 4 months  infant spontaneously utters various sounds  at first: unrelated to the household language  can’t identify language (e.g., English, Korean)  at 10 months: household language can be identified


 One-Word Stage  the stage in speech development during which a child speaks mostly in single words  from about age 1 to age 2


 Two-Word Stage  starts about age 2  two word statements  Telegraphic Speech  early speech stage (age 2)  child speaks like a telegram  “go car”; “want milk”  mostly nouns and verbs


Month (approximate) 4 10 12 24 24+ Summary of Language Development Stage Babbles many speech sounds.

Babbling reveals household language.

One-word stage.

Two-word, telegraphic speech.

Language develops rapidly into complete sentences.


 Influences  Biological  brains are wired to use language  Environmental    need exposure early on differences in environment influence language ability 49&page=1


Percentage correct on grammar test 100 90 80 70 60 50 Native 3-7 8-10 11-15 17-39

 Second language learning gets harder with age

Age at arrival


 Linguistic determinism (1950s)  Benjamin Lee Whorf  hypothesis that language determines the way we think  Now:  “determines” is too strong…  but language influences thinking

Language Influences Thinking

 English –  more words for self-focused emotions (e.g., anger)  Japanese –  more words for interpersonal emotions (e.g., sympathy)

Do Animals Think?

 Animals (especially great apes) display capacity for thinking  Form concepts  monkeys learn to classify cats and dogs; different neurons respond  Display Insight    fruit and long stick placed beyond reach chimpanzee given short stick in cage couldn’t reach fruit, gave up, suddenly used short stick to get long stick

Do animals exhibit language?

 They can comprehend and communicate  Monkeys: different alarm cries depending on predator  Whales: clicks and wails  Honeybees: dance to inform others of food source location  Dogs: interact with us; can fetch items by name

Do animals exhibit language?

 Depends on definition of language   ability to communicate through meaningful symbols? yes (apes) expression of complex grammar? no  Previously thought that animals could not:  plan, form concepts, count, use tools   show compassion use language  Animal research has found that animals CAN do all of these