CogPsych Notes 9.6.17.docx

Associations that are bad in some sentences are good

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Associations that are bad in some sentences are good in others o The girl and the boy are geniuses (boy* is) Language has hierarchical structure Linguists proposed a set of rules, or grammar, to account for language structure Human language has the property of recursion in syntax – parts can resemble the whole. For example, a sentence can be part of a larger sentence.
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Empiricism vs. nativism Behaviorism is fundamentally empiricist o Learning is the most important phenomenon o Organism is a blank slate at birth and is formed and shaped by interaction with the environment Cognitive theory sees an important role for innate mechanisms and knowledge (nativist) “Poverty of the Stimulus” argument in support of Nativism o Perception is richer (contains more information) than the stimulus that gives rise to the perception o The grammar of a human language (e.g., English, Russian, Chinese, etc.) is unlearnable given the limited data available to the child Therefore, the input is reinforced by some innate linguistic knowledge Children Say things that they have never heard before and that they were never reinforced for saying “Mommy I hate you.” “He hitted me.” In many circumstances, children seem to be unable to use feedback in learning language, as in this case of a mother correcting her child’s “double negative” o Child: Nobody don’t like me. o Mother: No, say, ‘Nobody likes me.” (8 repetitions of this dialogue) o Mother: No, now listen carefully; say, “Nobody likes me.” o Child: Oh! Nobody don’t likes me. Children behave as if they have structure-sensitive rules for language The boy is a genius. Vs. Is the boy a genius? o One analysis of how to produce the question form of a sentence says “move the first occurrence of ‘is’ to the beginning of the sentence” But, this analysis is wrong. Consider these comple questions: o The boy who is wearing a sweater is a genius. o *Is the boy who wearing a sweater is a genius? [first ‘is’ is moved to the front] o Is the boy who is wearing a sweater a genius? [‘is’ of the main clause is moved to the front] Despite having almost no experience hearing these complex questions, children do not make the
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