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Chapter 45: Language
It is impossible for us to think without language.
The language you are reading is being processed by your brain.
You use language if you stop to think about the previous sentence.
There is a connection between language and cognition.
Some psychologists look at how language works and how we acquire it in order to understand better how we think and behave.
Phonemes and morphemes can be used to describe all languages.
The smallest units of sound are called phonemes.
Approximately 44 phonemes are used by English speakers.
If your primary language is not English, you have experience with other phonemes.
Many English speakers have difficulty learning how to make the rolled R phoneme since it is not used in English.
Some English phonemes are difficult to learn for speakers of other languages.
The smallest unit of sound is a morpheme.
Morphemes can be words, such as and but, or they can be parts of words.
The phonemes are put together to make words.
The words are written in a certain order.
Where the verbs is placed in the sentence is one of the differences between the languages.
Different languages can be described in detail by psychologists by examining phonemes, morphemes, and syntax.
Many psychologists are interested in how we learn language.
Developmental psychologists are curious about how our language learning affects our cognitive development.
The studies show that babies progress through the same basic stages in order to master a language.
If you've ever been around babies, you know that they babble.
This is the first stage of language acquisition that occurs about 4 months of age.
Babies born with no hearing go through the babbling stage.
A baby's babble is indicative of experimentation.
Babies in this stage can produce any phoneme from any language.
We retain the ability to make phonemes from our primary language, but lose the ability to make other phonemes as language acquisition progresses.
It is possible to learn more than one language at an early age.
Babies imitate the words they hear caregivers say.
The time when babies speak in single words is called the holophrastic stage.
Around their first birthday, this happens a lot.
There is a controversy about how we acquire language.
Language is learned through operant conditioning and shaping, according to behaviorists.
They thought that if children used language correctly, they would be more likely to use it in the future and that their parents would be more likely to encourage them.
The theory was challenged by cognitive psychologists.
They show how many words and language rules are learned by children without their parents knowing.
The nativist theory of language acquisition theorizes that humans are born with a language acquisition device that allows them to learn a language quickly.
Chomsky pointed to the case of children who were deprived of exposure to language during their formative years.
A window of opportunity during which we must learn a skill, or our development will suffer, may exist.
Most psychologists agree that we acquire language through a combination of conditioning and an inborn propensity to learn.
Benjamin Whorf thought that the language we use might limit our thinking.
The linguistic relativity hypothesis is a theory.
Few studies show that the language we speak changes what we think about.
It's difficult to describe thought.
We are trying to describe thought using thought itself.
A global, all-inclusive definition of thought is hard to define.
The concepts are similar.
Each of us has cognitive rules we apply to stimuli from our environment that allow us to think about objects, people, and ideas.
The rules are concepts.
Our concept of a dad is different from our concept of a mom.
We can base our concepts on prototypes or the most typical example of a concept.
Mental pictures we create in our minds of the outside world are called images.
Imagine what your cat looks like.
Images can be an image of a taste, such as what hot chocolate tastes like on a cold day.
Researchers look at the results of thinking to study thought.
Researchers can ask people to solve problems and find out how they were solved.
There are at least two different problem-solving methods we commonly use and some traps to avoid.
Try every possible solution in order to solve a problem.
The right solution can be guaranteed by using a formula or other method.
If you're trying to guess a computer password that's only two letters, you could use an algorithm and guess pairs of letters in combination until you hit the right one.
Sometimes a shortcut is needed to solve a problem.
A rule of thumb is a rule that we can use to make a judgement in a situation.
If you are trying to guess the password, you might start by guessing five-letter words rather than random combinations of letters.
Passwords are most often actual words and the password might be a meaningless combination of letters.
The possible combinations are limited dramatically by this heuristic.
Specific problems in judgments can be caused by the use of these heuristics.
Our tendency to underestimate how accurate our judgments are is called overconfidence.
It is not a good indicator of whether or not we are right.
Most people will report extreme confidence in a judgement that turns out to be wrong in a significant number of cases.
Belief bias and belief perseverance are related to overconfidence.
Our tendency not to change our beliefs in the face of conflicting evidence is one of these concepts.
Belief bias occurs when we make illogical conclusions.
Belief perseverance is our tendency to maintain a belief even after the evidence we used to form it is no longer valid.
The concepts show that humans are more confident in their beliefs than they should be, and that we often stick with our beliefs even when there is evidence against them.
Some people make mistakes while trying to solve problems.
The mental set refers to the tendency to fall into established thought patterns.
People use solutions and past experience to solve problems.
Occasionally, they can't see a novel solution.
Functional fixedness is the inability to see a new use for an object.
A student's car got stuck in the mud.
We could use the car jack to raise the car and put the plank under the tires after another student pointed it out.
The jack was only used to help with a flat tire, not to get a car out of the mud.
Not breaking the problem into parts is a common problem solving trap.
Good problem solvers identify subgoals, smaller and more manageable problems they need to solve in order to solve the whole problem, according to studies.
Good problem solvers are more successful when they tackle the problem in smaller parts.
The way a problem is presented can make it hard to solve it.
The way a problem is presented is called framing.
Presentations can change the way we view a problem.
The majority of my students have been able to solve this logic problem, so they would most likely feel confident and not expect much of a challenge.
If I told them that almost half of the students in my classes never get the answer to the logic puzzle, they would expect a very difficult task.
I tell them that 51 percent of the students can solve the logic problem, but the way I frame the task may affect their ability to solve the problem.
Researchers need to be careful about how they frame questions in their studies.
The concept is resistant to categorization.
Even though it's hard to define this concept, researchers have looked atdefinable aspects of creativity.
Wolfgang K o hler documented details of the "aha experience" by observing a group of Chimpanzees as they generated original solutions to retrieve bananas that were out of reach.
There is little correlation between intelligence and creativity.
While we may agree in general about specific examples that demonstrate creativity, individual criteria for creativity vary widely.
originality and appropriateness are included in most people's criteria.
We look at whether it is original or novel when judging if something is creative.
Some researchers are looking at the differences between convergent and divergent thinking, thinking of one solution and searching for multiple answers to a question.
Creativity is more closely associated with diverging thinking.
Creative activities usually involve thinking of new ways to use what we know or new ways to express emotions or ideas.
Painting by the numbers is convergent thinking, but we would probably call it painting outside the lines and/or mixing your own creative hues and divergent thinking.
Five suggested answers or completions are followed by each of the questions or incomplete statements.
Pick the one that is the best.
Mr. Krohn is frustrated because he misplaces his hammer and needs to pound in the last nail on the bookcase he is building.
He ignores the fact that he could use the tennis trophy to hit the nail.
A friend tells you that humans remember everything that happens to them.
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