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Chapter Nine - Thought, Language and Intelligence

Chapter Nine - Thought, Language and Intelligence - Chapter...

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Chapter Nine – Thought, Language and Intelligence Mental Representations : take a variety of forms, including images, ideas, concepts, and principles Language Thought and behaviour depend on more than the physical structure of the brain Language is the ‘jewel in crown of cognition’ The Nature and Structure of Language Language : system of symbols and rules for combining symbols in ways that produce an infinite number of possible meanings or messages o Symbolic: uses sounds, written signs, or gestures Displacement : past, future, and imaginary events and objects that are not physically present can be symbolically represented and communicated through the medium of language o Structure: symbols can be combined to create meaningful communication units o Generative: symbols can be combined to generate an almost infinite number of messages that can have novel meaning Surface and Deep Structure o Surface Structure : way symbols are combined within a given language o Syntax : rules of grammar of a language o Deep Structure : underlying meaning of combined symbols o Semantics : rules for connecting symbols to what they represent Language from the Bottom up o Phonemes : smallest units of sound that are recognized as separate in a given language English has 46 phonemes: vowels, consonant sounds, certain letter combinations such as th and sh Other languages use anywhere from 15-80 o Morphemes : phonemes combined into the smallest units of meaning Hat, sick, prefixes and suffixes Syntax determines how phonemes combined into morphemes Form words, nearly half a million o 5 step language hierarchy Acquiring a Language o Biological Foundations Human children begin to master language with no formal instruction All languages have common underlying deep structure Between 1-3 months infants vocalize all of phoneme’s of world’s languages 6 months unused ones are discarded and begin to lose ability to perceive differences in sounds of other languages Noam Chomsky (1987) language acquisition is similar of huge electrical panel with banks of linguistic switches that are thrown as children hear words and syntax of their native language Sensitive Period : language is most easily learned Infancy to puberty Evidence: recovery of language is rare if damage occurs after puberty
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Female stroke victims with left hemisphere damage, language functions are more likely to be spared, suggesting that more language function is shared with right hemisphere o Social Learning Processes Motherese : high pitched intonation that seems to be used all over the world Children’s language development is strongly governed by adults’ reinforcing appropriate language and non-reinforcing of inappropriate verbalization At 30 months learned several hundred words By age 6, children learning an average of more than 15 words per day, vocabs grow to between 8 000 and 14 000 words Telegraphic Speech : 2 year olds with 2 word sentences
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