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Psychology in Action

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Critical Thinking/Active Learning: Solving Problems in College Life: The critical thinking exercise allows students to practice the three major problem solving strategies (algorithms and heuristics) and two specific heuristics (means-end analysis, working backward, and creating sub-goals). D. Creativity - Creativity is the generation of ideas that are original and useful. Creative thinking involves originality, fluency, and flexibility. Two distinct types of creative thinking include: convergent, where the person works toward a single solution to a problem; and divergent, in which the person tries to generate as many solutions as possible II. LANGUAGE A. Characteristics of Language - Human language is a building block of thinking, enables us to communicate our thoughts and feelings in creative and complex ways, and is largely learned rather than instinctive like other animals. Phonemes are the basic speech sounds; they are combined to form morphemes, the smallest meaningful units of language. Phonemes, morphemes, words, and phrases are put together by rules of grammar (syntax and semantics). Syntax refers to the grammatical rules for ordering words in sentences; semantics refers to meaning in language. A. Language and Thought – The Whorf hypothesis is presented as an intriguing hypothesis that theorizes language determine our perceptions of reality. Some researchers suggest that a more tenable position is that language influences thought. Several examples are presented to support Whorf’s linguistic relativity hypothesis. B. Language Development – Stages and theories of language development are explored. The first prelinguistic stage begins with the newborn’s reflexive cry and becomes more purposeful. At about 2 to 3 months, babies begin cooing and around 4 to 5 months they start babbling. The linguistic stage begins near the first year. Around 2 years, a pattern called telegraphic speech begins and by age 5 children have usually mastered the basic rules of grammar. Most theorists believe that language acquisition is a combination of both nature and nuture. Noam Chomsky believes that humans are born “pre-wired” with an ability to put words together in a meaningful way and possess a type of language acquisition device (LAD) that enables a child to analyze language and extract the basic rules of grammar. C. Animals and Language – Nonhuman animal use of language is explored. One of the most successful studies taught apes nonvocal language using American Sign Language. In another study, dolphins were taught to understand sentences that varied in syntax and meaning. Although evidence suggests that animals can learn language, skeptics suggest that animals are being trained to respond for rewards., but it is less complex, less creative, and more rule- laden than human language.
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  • Intelligence quotient, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Watchmen

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