# Fall 2015 10-27 Chapter 9

```https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjAOw-n3CxQ
 Thinking and Language
Chapter 9
 Thinking and Language
Thinking
Cognition refers to all
the mental activities
associated with
thinking, knowing,
remembering, and
communicating
The Thinker, Rodin
 Thinking and Language
Thinking
Problem Solving
Some problems we
solve by trail-and-error,
and others by using
algorithms—
methodical, step by
step procedures that
guarantee a solution.
However, algorithms
are time-consuming,
and thus we often use
heuristics—sample
thinking strategies that
allow us to solve
problems efficiently.
Heuristics are usually
speedier but more error
prone.
Credit: B2M Productions/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Obstacles to Problem Solving
Confirmation bias–our tendency to search for information
that supports our preconceptions and to ignore
Obstacles to Problem Solving
The Matchstick Problem:
How would you arrange
six matches to form four
equilateral triangles?
Fixation – our inability to see a problem from a new
perspective, employing a different mental set.
Obstacles to Problem Solving
The Matchstick Problem:
How would you arrange
six matches to form four
equilateral triangles?
Fixation – our inability to see a problem from a new
perspective, employing a different mental set.
Obstacles to Problem Solving
Fixation – our inability to see a problem from a new
perspective, employing a different mental set.
Obstacles to Problem Solving
The Candle-Mounting
Problem: Using these
materials, how would you
mount the candle on a
bulletin board?
Functional Fixedness – our tendency to think of things
only in terms of their usual functions.
Obstacles to Problem Solving
Functional Fixedness – our tendency to think of things
only in terms of their usual functions.
 Thinking and Language
Thinking
Making Decisions and Forming
Judgments
Using and Misusing Heuristics
Amos Tversky
Daniel Kahneman
Courtesy of Greymayer Award, U. of Louisville
Using and Misusing Heuristics
If you meet a slim, short, man
who wears glasses and likes
poetry, what do you think his
profession would be?
An Ivy league professor of
Classics or a truck driver?
The Representativeness Heuristic – judging the
likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to
represent, or match, particular prototypes.
Using and Misusing Heuristics
How many Ivy league schools are there? 10
How many Classics professors are at each school? 4
Of those 40, what proportion are short and slim? Half
Of those 20, what proportion read poetry? Half
or 10
The Representativeness Heuristic – judging the
likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to
represent, or match, particular prototypes.
Using and Misusing Heuristics
How many truck drivers are there? 400,000
Of those 400,000, what proportion are short and slim? 1 in 5
Of those 80k, what proportion read poetry? 1 in 1,000
or 80
The Representativeness Heuristic – judging the
likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to
represent, or match, particular prototypes.
Using and Misusing Heuristics
The Representativeness Heuristic – judging the
likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to
represent, or match, particular prototypes.
Using and Misusing Heuristics
Hypothetically…
How many members of (minority) Ethnic Group X are there in the
U.S. population? 1.5 million
Of those 1.5 million, what percentage have strong anti-American
sentiment? 1/20, or 5%
or 75,000
The Representativeness Heuristic – judging the
likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to
represent, or match, particular prototypes.
Using and Misusing Heuristics
Hypothetically…
How many members of (majority) Ethnic Group Y are there in the
U.S. population? 100,000,000 million
Of those 100 million, what percentage have strong anti-American
sentiment? 1/200, or .5%
or 500,000
The Representativeness Heuristic – judging the
likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to
represent, or match, particular prototypes.
Using and Misusing Heuristics
Hypothetically…
How many members of Ethnic Group Y are there in the U.S.
population? 100,000,000 million
Of those 100 million, what percentage have strong anti-American
sentiment? 1/200, or .5%
or 500,000
Randomly chosen person from (majority)
Ethnic Group Y is 6.7 times more likely to have
strong anti-American sentiment than person from
(minority) Ethnic Group X!
The Representativeness Heuristic – judging the
likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to
represent, or match, particular prototypes.
Using and Misusing Heuristics
Credit: Anynobody
The Availability Heuristic – estimating the likelihood of
events based on their availability in memory; that is, how
readily they come to mind. For example, although flying is
much safer than driving, many people insist on driving.
Using and Misusing Heuristics
The Availability Heuristic – estimating the likelihood of
events based on their availability in memory; that is, how
Using and Misusing Heuristics
Despite the rarity of
dying from a terrorist
attack, many Americans
list it as the top priority
for our government
The Availability Heuristic – estimating the likelihood of
events based on their availability in memory; that is, how
Overconfidence
The Americans were overconfident in invading
Vietnam in the 1960s.
The Soviets were overconfident in invading
Afghanistan in the 1970s.
Our use of intuitive heuristics (representative and availability) and our
eagerness to confirm the beliefs we already hold (confirmation bias)
combine to create overconfidence—a tendency to overestimate the
accuracy of our knowledge and judgments. This can create problems,
big and small.
Overconfidence
Our use of intuitive heuristics (representative and availability) and our
eagerness to confirm the beliefs we already hold (confirmation bias)
combine to create overconfidence—a tendency to overestimate the
accuracy of our knowledge and judgments. This can create problems,
big and small.
The Belief Perseverance Phenomenon
Credit: CA Corrections
supposedly new research
findings—one supporting
use of the death penalty as
a deterrent, and the other
refuting it. Participants were
most impressed with the
study that confirmed their
death penalty.
Belief Perseverance – our tendency to cling to our initial
concepts even after the basis on which they were formed
has been discredited.
Effects of Framing
The way a message is
presented can have striking
effects: In one study, 9 of 10
college students rated
condoms as effective
against HIV if they were
described as having a “95
percent success rate”…
Framing – the way an issue is posed; how an issue is
framed can significantly affect decisions and judgments.
Effects of Framing
But only 4 of 10 students
rated condoms as effective
against HIV if they were
described as having a “5
percent” failure rate.
The bottom-line: The
message matters in shaping
people’s decisions and
judgments.
Framing – the way an issue is posed; how an issue is
framed can significantly affect decisions and judgments.
 Thinking and Language
Language
Language refers to our
spoken, written, or
signed words and the
ways we combine them
as we think and
communicate—“the
jewel in the crown of
cognition.”
Credit: M. &amp; E. Bernheim/Woodfin Camp &amp; Associates
 Thinking and Language
Language
Language is arbitrary:
sounds produced to
resemble a word do not
reflect the meaning of
the word.
Credit: M. &amp; E. Bernheim/Woodfin Camp &amp; Associates
 Thinking and Language
Language
Language Structure
Building Blocks of Language:
What We Would Need to Create a Human Language
Phonemes – the smallest distinctive sound unit in
language, such as the b sound in “bag”.
Building Blocks of Language:
What We Would Need to Create a Human Language
Morphemes – the smallest unit that carries meaning in
language, including words such as “bag”, and parts of
words, such as prefixes (e.g., anti for “against”).
Building Blocks of Language:
What We Would Need to Create a Human Language
Grammar – a system of rules that enables us to communicate,
including rules for deriving meaning from morphemes (semantics)
such as adding “ed” to form the past tense (as in “bagged”), and rules
for ordering words to form sentences (syntax) such as that adjectives
come before nouns (as in “brown bag”).
 Thinking and Language
Language
Language Development
Children learn their
native languages
much before learning to
we learn, on average,
3,500 words a year,
amassing 60,000 words
from high school.
When Do We Learn Language?
Babbling – the stage of speech development in which the infant
spontaneously utters various sounds, at first in a way unrelated to
household language (e.g., ah-goo) and then in a way related (e.g., da)
When Do We Learn Language?
One-word stage – the stage of speech development during which a
child speaks mostly in single words (e.g., Doggy!, Fish!)
When Do We Learn Language?
Two-word speech – the stage of speech development during which a
child speaks mainly in two-word statements, as in the sort of telegram
(or e-mail) that you may have sent your parents (SEND MONEY!).
When Do We Learn Language?
The speaker – the stage of speech development in which a child
begins uttering longer phrases.
Explaining Language Development
“Verbal behavior evidently
came into existence when,
through a critical step in the
evolution of the human
species, the vocal
musculature became
susceptible to operant
conditioning.”
- B. F. Skinner
Credit: Silly Rabbit
Explaining Language Development
“Not only is Skinner’s
account wrong, but a
behaviorist explanation
cannot, in principle, ever
account for language.&quot;
- Noam Chomsky
Explaining Language Development
When a young brain does
not learn any language, its
language-learning capacity
never fully develops.
As an alternative to Skinner’s account, Chomsky argued that we come
into the world equipped with a language acquisition device—a
neurological system, which when given adequate nurture, allows us to
understand and produce language.
Explaining Language Development
After the window for learning
language closes, even
learning a second language
is more difficult. The older
the age at which one
emigrates to a new country,
the harder it is to learn its
language.
As an alternative to Skinner’s account, Chomsky argued that we come
into the world equipped with a language acquisition device—a
neurological system, which when given adequate nurture, allows us to
understand and produce language.
 Thinking and Language
Language
The Brain and Language
Many brain regions are involved in the two major aspects
of language processing—understanding language and
producing it.
We know about involvement of different brain regions in
language processing from studies that use of neuroimaging
techniques, and from clinical observation…
0%
People with damage to Broca’s area have an inability to
produce speech.
0%
People with damage to Wernicke’s area have an inability
to understand speech.
 Thinking and Language
Language
Thinking and Language
There is some evidence
that language at least
influences thinking. For
example, people
express different
profiles of personality
traits depending on the
language in which they
take the test…
And expanding your
vocabulary expands
and the best way to do
writing.
 Thinking and Language
Animal Thinking and Language
What Do Animals Think?
Credit: Worth Publishers
Credit: Tetsuro Matsuzawa/Primate Research Inst., Kyoto U.
Kyoto University
researcher Tetsuro
Matsuzawa has studied
chimps’ ability to
remember and relate
numbers. At left, Ai taps
in an ascending order
randomly displayed
numbers.
“Chaser”, trained by
psychologists
Alliston Reid and
John Pilley, knows
more than 1000
words—the largest
tested memory of
any animal.
Credit: Michael Nichols/National Geographic Image Collection
Cultural transmission – On the western bank of one Ivory
Coast river, a youngster watches as its mother uses a
stone hammer to open a nut. On the river’s other side, a
few miles away, chimps do not follow this custom.
 Thinking and Language
Animal Thinking and Language
Do Animals Exhibit Language?
The Case of Apes
Credit: Paul Fusco/Magnum Photos
The Case of Apes
1.
Apes acquire their limited
vocabularies with a great deal
of difficulty, unlike children.
2.
Chimps can make signs to
receive a reward, just as a
pigeon who pecks at the key
pigeons have not learned a
language.
3.
Chimpanzees use signs
meaningfully but lack human
syntax.
Credit: Mila Zinkova
 Chapter Review
What is cognition, and how do
psychologists study it?
What are some basic ways that
humans solve problems?
How do heuristics influence decision
making?
How is language structured? How
does language unfold with age?
 Chapter Review
What is known about the brain and
language processing?
How do animal and human
communication systems differ?
 Chapter Review
Question(s) from textbook on material
not covered in class:
Thinking in Images
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