Chapter 7: Cognition and Language What Is Cognitive Psychology? Cognition includes the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating Our study of cognition will examine such things as: concept learning, problem-solving, decision making and language Start with concept learning. Concepts: mental grouping of similar objects, events, or people. Formal and Natural Concepts Formal concepts (also known as logical or artificial concepts) have a rigid set of rules or parameters for membership e.g., a triangle Most of our concepts develop through our own experiences in the world and are known as natural
concepts e.g., colors A prototype is a typical example that exhibits all of the features associated with a certain category, more likely to be used as comparison for other (novel) objects. Prototypes more likely to be generic and basic Table 7.1 From Prototypes to Unusual Examples Note: more generic at top, more specific and we move down table More generic can serve as representatives or
comparisons (prototypes) Car= something you get in and it transports you Orange = round, peel, seeds, edible Vehicles Fruit Car Orange
Bus Apple Train Peach Bicycle Grape Airplane Strawberry
Boat Grapefruit Wheelchair Watermelon Sled Date Skates Tomato
Elevator Olive Generic Specific Classification of Concepts LO 7.2 Describe the hierarchical model of concept classification. Hierarchies of concepts: classifying concepts that progress from broad to narrow The categories that are the broadest, or include the most concepts, are superordinate concepts Basic concepts provide significantly more information
than the superordinate concepts Subordinate concepts are the most specific type of concepts and include the narrowest categories Figure 7.1 A Concept Hierarchy Problem-Solving Strategies LO 7.3 Identify different types of problem-solving strategies. A problem space can be defined in terms of the initial state, the goal state, and the set of operations We use a variety of different methods for solving different kinds of problems. trial and error algorithms
heuristics means-end analysis Heuristics vs. algorithms Heuristics: general problem solving strategies that are often useful but not always effective (in football: control line of scrimmage, avoid turnovers, in chess: control center of board.) Algorithms: step by step procedures guaranteed to solve a specific problem (recipe to bake a cake, formula to solve for area of triangle). Very narrow in scope, but guaranteed to work John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2007 Psychology in Action (8e) Huffman:
Means End Analysis Initial state (with problem) goal state (with solution) Problem space distance that must be traversed to move from initial to goal state Operators: legal moves that can be made to traverse problem space (no magic, nothing illegal or unethical). Lab example: tower of Hanoi problem Real world example: graduating from college (must pass classes, must attend classes, must get up in the morning, must set alarm (no cheating, no paying for a grade, etc.)
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2007 Psychology in Action (8e) Huffman: Challenges with Problem Solving LO 7.4 Describe different problem-solving difficulties. Fixation is the inability to see a problem from a fresh perspective because of our tendency to become stuck in our thinking A mental set is a preexisting state of mind we use to solve problems because its helped us solve similar problems in the past Functional fixedness is a bias that limits your ability to think about objects in unconventional ways
Figure 8.4 Functional Fixedness: Dunkers make a lamp problem Figure 8.3 Mental Set Problems: Luchins water jar problem How People Make Decisions LO 7.5 Identify different theories about how people make decisions. Rational choice theory states that we make decisions by determining how likely each outcome of that decision is as well as the positive or negative value of each outcome Prospect theory states that we have a tendency to avoid risk in situations where we stand to gain but to become more risk seeking when facing a potential loss
The presence of dopamine in the brain helps us make decisions that lead to good outcomes and avoid bad outcomes (role of emotions) Obstacles in Decision Making LO 7.6 Recognize obstacles that can hinder decision making. The framing of an issue can influence our decisions If there are too many alternatives, we develop decision aversion and avoid making any decision at all The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that tells us that if we can bring examples of an event to mind easily, that event must be common The representativeness heuristic is used when trying to make decisions about the probability of an event by comparing it to our existing prototype of the event
Confirmation bias: only look for evidence that supports our predispositions or initial inclinations Decision-Making biases: Representativeness and Availability Representativenesscommon category members We ignore how common behaviors actually are in a population and commit the base rate fallacy. Is John the druggie a rock star or accountant? (base rate fallacy) Availabilityoff the top of my head We estimate the likelihood of an event based on how easily it comes to mind. Confirmation bias: only looking for supportive evidence Confirmation Bias LO 7.7 Describe the role of confirmation bias in decision making. Confirmation bias is the belief that
something is true leads to the tendency to look for evidence that proves our beliefs while failing to notice evidence that disproves those beliefs It can lead people astray in three ways: 1. Influencing how we seek information 2. Influencing how we interpret information 3. Influencing how we remember information Figure 7.3 System 1 and System 2 Creative thinking LO 7.8 Distinguish between convergent and divergent thinking. Creativity is the ability to come up with new ideas that can lead to a
particular outcome, can involve both convergent and divergent thinking Convergent thinking occurs when we are confronted with welldefined, straightforward problems that have a right/wrong answer Divergent thinking includes thought processes used to generate many different possible solutions to a problem Figure 7.5 Threshold Theory of Creativity Sternbergs Theory LO 7.9 Explain Sternbergs theory of creative thinking. According to the investment theory of creativity, six ingredients must be present for creativity to emerge: 1. Intellectual skills (seeing novel patterns) 2. Knowledge (background in creative area, art, physics, etc.)
3. Thinking styles (convergent, divergent thought) 4. Personality (openness*, moderately risk-taking) 5. Motivation (persistence) 6. Environment (encouraging of innovation) Language: symbolic, rule-based system of communication shared by a community Features of langauge Phonemes are the smallest units of sound possible in a language Morphemes are the smallest units that have meaning Syntax refers to the rules about how words are to be arranged to form sentences Semantics refers to the meaning of words and sentences in a given language Grammar combines syntax and semantics to provide a
system of rules that governs the way people compose and use language The Features of Language (2 of 6) LO 8.3a Describe the four levels of analysis that make up language. Phonemes Categories of sounds that our vocal apparatus produces Smallest units of sound/gesture in language Probably around 100 total; each language only uses a subset ranging from 15 to 60 40 to 45 in English The Features of Language (3 of 6) LO 8.3a Describe the four levels of analysis that make up language.
Morphemes The smallest units of meaning in a language Convey information about semanticsmeaning derived from words and sentences Can be full words (dog) or suffixes/prefixes (s, ed) modifiers (re-), and other inflections that carry meaning The Features of Language (4 of 6) LO 8.3a Describe the four levels of analysis that make up language. Syntax The set of rules of a language for constructing sentences Includes word order, morphological markers, and sentence structure Real-world language rarely follows these rules completely. Language Development Based on the behavioral model, Skinner believed that children
acquire their native language through the process of imitation and reinforcement Chomsky proposed that humans are born with an innate capacity for acquiring language and the ability to learn the rules of grammar The critical period hypothesis (CPH) suggests that there is a limited window of opportunity for children to effectively learn language, which is within the first few years of life Language Development LO 7.12 Identify milestones in language development. Children typically develop receptive language skills (the ability to understand language) much sooner than they develop expressive language skills (the ability to communicate with others using language) Fast mapping is the ability to acquire and retain new
words or concepts with minimal exposure The process of slow mapping occurs when a child acquires a word through a more gradual process that requires repeated exposures Table 7.2 Language Development Milestones, Birth to 2 years Age Receptive Language Skill Expressive Language Skill Birth to 3 months
Recognizes caregivers voice and calms down if crying When feeding, starts or stops sucking in response to sound Reacts to loud sounds Calms down or smiles when spoken to Coos and makes pleasure sounds Has a special way of crying for different needs Smiles when he or she sees caregiver 4 to 6 months
Babbles in speech-like way and uses many different sounds, including sounds that begin with p, b and m Laughs Babbles when excited or unhappy Makes gurgling sounds when alone or playing with someone Follows sounds with his or her eyes Responds to changes in tone of voice Notices toys that makes sounds Pays attentions to music 7 months to 1 year Turns and looks in the direction of sound
Listens when spoken to Understands words for common items such as cup, shoe, or juice Responds to requests (come here) Babbles using long and short groups of sounds (tata, upup, bibi) Babbles to get and keep attention Communicates using gestures such as waving or holding up arms Initiates different speech sounds Has one or two words (hi, dog, Dada, or Mama) by first birthday (Holophrasic speech) 1 to 2 years
Knows a few parts of the body and can point to them when asked Follows simple commands (roll the ball) and understand simple questions (wheres your shoe?) Points to pictures, when named, in books Acquires new words on a regular basis Uses some one- or two-word questions (where kitty? or go bye-bye?) Puts two words together (telegraphic speech) Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words Table 7.2 Language Development Milestones, 2-4 years Age
2 to 3 years 3 to 4 years Receptive Language Skill Expressive Language Skill Increase in understanding of object names When asked, points to a picture of something named (such as where is the cow? or show me the airplane)
Has a word for almost everything (vocab explosion) Uses two- or three-word phrases to talk about or ask for things Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds Speaks in a way that is understood by family members and friends Names objects or asks for them or to direct attention to them Hears when you call from another room Hears the television or radio at the same sound level as other family members Answers simple who? what? where?
and why? questions Talks about activities at daycare, preschool or friends homes Uses sentences with four or more words Speaks easily without having to repeat syllables or words Table 7.2 Language Development Milestones, 4-5 years Age 4 to 5 years Receptive Language Skill
Expressive Language Skill Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it Hears and understand most of what is said at home and in school Uses sentences that give many details Tells stories that stay on topic Communicates easily with other children and adults Says most sounds correctly, except for a few (j, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, th) Uses rhyming words Names some letters and numbers Uses adult grammar
Developmental milestones are universal: all typically-developing children regardless of language. Language and Thought LO 7.13 Explain the relationship between language and thought. The linguistic relativity hypothesis states that the way people think is strongly affected by their native language There is evidence that the language we speak influences our perceptions of the world The Brain and Language LO 7.14 Identify the areas of the brain associated with language. Brocas area is the area of the brain in the left frontal
lobe associated with the production of speech Wernickes area is the area of the brain in the left temporal lobe focused on language comprehension When there is damage to the arcuate fasciculus, people develop conduction aphasia and they are unable to repeat words or sentences spoken by other people The angular gyrus is important in tasks of reading and writing, and damage to this area has been associated with alexia (inability to read) and dyslexia (difficulty with reading) Figure 7.7 Language Areas in the Brain
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