Thinking and language
-thinking about our own thinking
1. Learning about your own best style of
2. Becoming aware of your own biases in
judging others.
3. Learning which strategies are best at solving
certain problems
-mental groupings
-helped to simplify the world
PROTOTYPES: best/most typical example of a
-problem-solving strategy
-step-by-step procedure where guaranteed
the right answer
-reading a map
-mathematical formulas
-using recipe
-can be time consuming
-shortcuts to problem-solving
-rules of thumb, educated guesses
-quicker but not always accurate
-sudden understanding
-answer just appears
-Wolfgang Kohler: chimpanzees with bananas
-solve problem with no trial and error
Inductive reasoning: reason from specific to
-make conclusions about category based on
some examples of the category
-bad exs.=bad conclusions
Deductive reasoning: reason from general to
-good conclusions if you start with good initial
Fixation: inability to look at a problem from a
fresh perspective
-Mental set: tendency to approach a problem
in the same way that has worked previously
-Functional fixedness: can’t see a new way to
use a familiar object
Representativeness heuristic: judging by how well
it matches a prototype (ex. Changing your
answer on a multiple choice test because it’s the
4th A in a row)
Availability heuristic: estimating how probable
something is based on how easily it comes to
mind (ex. Judging that people are more likely to
be murdered than die of diabetes because of
vivid cases)
Anchoring heuristic: judging based on a previously
determined reference point (negotiating a price
on a car based on the original asking price, they
always start higher than they want)
Confirmation bias: looking for information that
supports your beliefs and ignoring what
Belief perseverance: continuing to believe even
after evidence refutes it
Belief bias: tendency for beliefs to distort logic
Hindsight bias: to falsely believe, after the
event, you knew it all along
Overconfidence: to overestimate how right we
Framing: the way that problem is presented
can affect the way that you think about the
1. The procedure has a 95% survival rate v. 5%
of the people who have this procedure die.
2. 90% fat free v. 10% fat
3. The majority of the students passed the test
v. almost half failed.
-ability to think in new and unusual ways
Convergent thinking: thinking toward one
correct solution
Divergent thinking: producing many solutions
System of spoken, written or signed symbols
that allows for communication
-transmits culture
PHONEMES: smallest unit of sound
-English=about 45 -World=about 100
“a”, “b”, “ch”, “th”
MORPHEMES: smallest unit of sound with
-small words, prefixes, suffixes
-most morphemes are made up of phonemes
-rules that govern a language
SYNTAX: order of words into sentences
English: “beautiful girl”
Spanish: “bonita chica”
SEMANTICS: rules that govern meaning in a
Denotation: actual meaning
Connotation: emotional associations
1. BABBLING: (4 mths.) production of
2. HOLOPHRASE: (around 1) single word
3. TELEGRAPHIC SPEECH: (about 2) 2-word
4. GRAMMATICAL SPEECH: (by about 3) follow
rules of grammar
Errors in language, caused by lack of
-Holophrase: use 1 word for broad category
Dog=all furry animals
-Overregularization: apply rules to irregular
“I goed to the store”
“I hitted the ball”
BF Skinner:
-learned through imitation,
reinforcement, and
-language is learned by
shaping from parents
-nativist-language is innate
-Language Acquisition Device:
brains are prewired with
ability to learn language
-Critical Period: best time
-must learn language by adolescence or
cannot learn as well