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Psychology March Midterm.docx

Psychology March Midterm.docx - Psychology March Midterm...

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Psychology March Midterm Psycholinguistics Investigation of language functions, models, and brain relationships 3 Broad Areas o Function of Language o Models of Language Processing o Physiological localization of functions in the brain What is language? Basic Hypothesis o Although every organism can relay information within species, only humans use language In human communication all languages have words that serve as symbols for objects and concepts Words alone, however are not sufficient to make a language More important feature common to all human languages is that they posses a system of rules for combining words into sentences Not sure if rules are only used by humans Properties of Language Language is symbolic o Uses written signs, sounds, and gestures to refer to objects, events, ideas, and feelings Language has structure o Rules that govern how symbols can be combined Language is generative o Symbols can be combined in infinite ways Surface structure o The way symbols are combined within a given language o Rules for = syntax Deep structure o The underlying meaning of the combined symbols o Rules for = semantics Phonemes o The smallest units of sound that are recognized as separate o E.g. th and sh Morphemes o The smallest units of meaning in a language; consist of one syllable o E.g. hat and stick Evidence for Biological Foundations o Human children begin to master language without formal instruction o All adult languages have a common deep structure o Infants vocalize the entire range of phonemes regardless of culture o There may be a sensitive period in which language is most easily learned Bilingualism o Sensitive period for second language acquisition o Positive correlates of bilingualism Superior cognitive processing ability Greater flexibility in thinking Higher scores on intelligence tests
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The linguistic relativity hypothesis (Whorf 1956) o Language determines what we are capable of thinking o Today, linguists believe that language shapes the way we think but does not determine it Thinking o Propositional thought Expresses a proposition (simple statements expressing facts) o Imaginal thought Consists of images we “see,” “hear,” “feel” etc. in our minds o Motoric thought Relates to mental representations of motor movements Concepts o Basic uses of semantic memory o Prototypes: a hypothetically typical member of a category Language Features Two major areas to investigate to evaluate our original hypothesis o Language and Human Evolution o Comparative Evaluation of Human and Non-Human Communication
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