Cognition: Thinking &
Language
Book authors:
R. H. Ettinger
Chapter 8
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Slide authors:
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Landon O. Thomas
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Copyright 2003 Allyn & Bacon
Concepts
 Concepts
– A mental category used to represent a class or
group of objects, people, organizations, events,
situations, or relations that share common
characteristics or attributes
– Formal concept
 A concept that is clearly defined by a set of rules, a formal
definition, or a classification system; an artificial concept
– Natural concept
 A concept acquired not from a definition but through
everyday perceptions and experiences; a fuzzy concept
 We acquire many natural concepts through experiences
with examples, or positive instances of the concept
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Concepts
 Concepts (continued)
– Prototype
 A category member that embodies the most common and
typical features of a concept
– Tool
– Color
– Exemplars
 The individual instances of a concept that are stored in
memory from personal experiences
 To decide whether an unfamiliar item belongs to a concept,
we compare it with exemplars
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Reasoning
 Reasoning
– A form of thinking in which conclusions are drawn
from a set of facts
– Two basic forms of reasoning are deductive
reasoning and inductive reasoning
– Deductive reasoning
 Reasoning from the general to the specific, or drawing
particular conclusions from general principles
 Syllogism
– A scheme for logical reasoning in which two
statements known as premises are followed by a valid
conclusion
– Introduced by Aristotle
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Reasoning
 Deductive Reasoning Example
– Major premise:
 All of Prof. Bob’s pencils are yellow
– Minor premise:
 Daniel has borrowed a pencil from Prof. Bob
– Conclusion:
 The pencil Daniel borrowed from Prof. Bob is yellow
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Reasoning
 Inductive Reasoning
– A form of reasoning in which general conclusions
are drawn from particular facts or individual cases
– Resulting in conclusions which might be true
– Premises can be judged to be false on the basis of
conclusions, but they cannot be judged to be true
– Many people, especially those who don’t listen
carefully to instructions or follow them well, have
difficulty with formal reasoning problems
– Research suggests that people can improve their
reasoning skills when exposed to step-by-step
instruction and practice in formal reasoning
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Reasoning
 Deduction, induction, and the scientific method
– Both inductive and deductive reasoning are used in
scientific method
– Inductive reasoning is used to formulate a
hypothesis based on observations
– Deductive reasoning is used in the design of a study
– Once formulated, the hypothesis becomes a major
premise, and the method used to test it, a minor
premise
– The outcome of the study is the conclusion
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Decision Making
 Additive and elimination by aspects strategies
– Additive strategy
 A decision-making approach in which each alternative is
rated on each important factor affecting the decision and
the alternative rated highest overall is chosen
– Elimination by aspects
 A variation on the additive strategy
 The factors on which the alternatives are to be evaluated
are ordered from most important to least important
 Any alternative that does not satisfy the most important
factor is automatically eliminated
 The process of elimination continues as each factor is
considered in order
 The alternative that survives is the one chosen
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Decision Making
 Heuristics
– A rule of thumb that is derived from experience and
used in decision making and problem solving, even
though there is no guarantee of its accuracy or
usefulness
– Availability heuristic
 A cognitive rule of thumb that says that the probability of an
event or the importance assigned to it is based on its
availability in memory
 Any information affecting a decision, whether it is accurate
or not, is more likely to be considered if it is readily
available
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Decision Making
 Heuristics (continued)
– Representativeness heuristic
 A thinking strategy based on how closely a new object or
situation is judged to resemble or match an existing
prototype of that object or situation
 An example of the use of representativeness heuristic
occurs when people judge others based on stereotypes
– A person may expect someone from California to be
either a surfer or an actor because that fits the person’s
mental representation of a Californian
– In reality, however, most Californians are neither
surfers nor actors; only a small fraction fit this
stereotype
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Stereotypes
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
People who __________ are intelligent.
a.
Wear glasses
b. Wear jewelry
c.
Drive American cars d. Are tall
__________ are great lovers.
a.
Canadians
b. Italians
c.
Eskimos
d. Nigerians
__________ are not very intelligent.
a.
Lawyers
b. Football players
c.
Musicians
d. Salespeople
__________ are moody.
a.
Men
b. Women
c.
Americans
d. Children
__________ are unsophisticated country hicks.
a.
Californians
b. Easterners
c.
Southerners
d. Northerners
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Decision Making
 Framing
– The way information is presented to emphasize
either a potential gain or loss as the outcome
– Kahneman and Tversky
 Did a study where participants where asked to choose
between two alternative programs to combat a disease
 The first version focused attention on gains and people
were more likely to choose the option they perceive to be
safest
 The second version was framed in terms of losses, so
people were more willing to choose the “risky” option
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Decision Making
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Problem Solving
 Approaches to problem solving
– Problem solving
 Using thoughts and actions required to achieve a desired
goal that is not readily attainable
– Trial and error
 An approach to problem solving in which one solution after
another is tried in no particular order until an answer is
found
 When you possess relevant background knowledge, using
the knowledge to find a solution to a problem is more
efficient than using trial and error
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Problem Solving
 Approaches to problem solving (continued)
– Algorithm
 A systematic, step-by-step procedure, such as a
mathematical formula, that guarantees a solution to a
problem of a certain type if the algorithm is appropriate and
is executed properly
– Heuristics
 Working backwards
– A heuristic strategy in which a person discovers the
steps needed to solve a problem by defining the
desired goal and working backwards to the current
condition
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Problem Solving
 Approaches to problem solving (continued)
– Heuristics (continued)
 Means-end analysis
– A heuristic strategy in which the current position is
compared with the desired goal, and a series of steps
are formulated and taken to close the gap between
them
 Analogy heuristic
– A rule of thumb that applies a solution that solved a
problem in the past to a current problem that shares
many similar features
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Impediments to Problem Solving
 Functional Fixedness
– The failure to use familiar objects in novel ways to solve
problems because of a tendency to view objects only in terms
of their customary functions
 Suppose you injured your leg and knew that you should
apply ice to prevent swelling, but you had no ice cubes
 If you suffered from functional fixedness, you might believe
there was nothing you could do
 Rather than thinking about the object that you don’t have,
think about the function that it performs
 What you need is something very cold, not necessarily an
ice bag, but a cold can of soda could be a solution
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Impediments to Problem Solving
 Mental set
– The tendency to apply a familiar strategy to the solution of a
problem without carefully considering the special requirements
of that problem
– Recent research indicates that our problem-solving abilities
may remain relatively undiminished over our lifetimes, even
though our pace may slow down a little with age
– Haught and others
 Reported that older problem solvers performed as well as
younger ones on practical, everyday problems
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Impediments to Problem Solving
 Availability Heuristics
– A cognitive rule of thumb that says that the
probability of an event or the importance assigned
to it is not, is more likely to be considered if it is
readily available.
 An example is the perceived increase risk of plane crashes
after September 11th twin tower crashes in New York
 Representative Heuristics
– A thinking strategy based on how closely a new
object or situation is judged to resemble or match an
existing prototype or that object or situation.
 An example is the use of stereotypes.
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Impediments to Problem Solving
 Gambler’s Fallacy
– The belief that the chances of an event’s occurring
increases if the event has not recently occurred.
 He is due for a hit in baseball.
 Belief in Small Numbers
– A small sample of observers is likely to be highly
variable but some believe it is more likely to occur if
a few individuals support their belief.
 Religious leaders telling congregation that the end of the
world is coming soon.
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Impediments to Problem Solving
 Overconfidence
– The tendency to be more confident than correct.
– When people over estimate the soundness of their
judgments and accuracy of their knowledge.
 He is due for a hit in baseball.
 Confirmation Bias
– The tendency to cling to beliefs despite
contradictory evidence.
 I do not need to study for psychology because I listen well
in class. This belief continues in spite of poor test grades.
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
High-Tech Applications of
Cognition
 Artificial intelligence
– Computer systems that simulate human thinking in
solving problems and in making judgments and
decisions
– Allen Newell and Herbert A. Simon were the first to
successfully program computers to mimic human
thinking
– Expert systems
 Computer programs designed to carry out highly specific
functions within a limited domain
 MYCIN was one of the first medical expert systems
 Outside its area of expertise, an expert system cannot
function
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
High-tech Applications of
Cognition
 Artificial Neural Networks
– Computer systems hat are intended to mimic the
human brain
– Using neural networks, psychologists can also learn
more about how the brain works
– Alex Waibel and colleagues
 Used a neural network in their research on speech
recognition
 They developed a system “programmed to modify itself
according to whatever signals come into the system . . .
The speech recognizer actually learns how to identify
sounds and words”
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
High-Tech Applications of
Cognition
 Robotics
– The science of automating human and animal
functions
 Help stroke patients by assisting them in exercise
 Help surgeons make precise surgical movements
 Complete dangerous tasks
–
–
–
–
Sensing for harmful and toxic chemical agents
Defusing bombs
Destroying mines
Cleaning up nuclear waste sites
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Language
Book authors:
Samuel Wood
Ellen G. Wood
Denise Boyd
Chapter 7
Web link: www.ablongman.com/wood5e/
This multimedia product and its contents are protected under copyright law.
The following are prohibited by law:
Slide authors:
Larry D. Thomas
Landon O. Thomas
•Any public performance or display, including transmission of any image over
a network;
•Preparation of any derivative work, including the extraction, in whole or in
part, of any images;
•Any rental, lease, or lending of the program
Copyright 2003 Allyn & Bacon
Language
 The structure of language
– Psycholinguistics
 The study of how language is acquired, produced, and
used, and how the sounds and symbols of language are
translated into meaning
– The structure and rules governing language involve
four basic building blocks-phonemes, morphemes,
syntax, and semantics
– Phonemes
 The smallest units of sound in a spoken language
 Letters combined to form sounds are also phonemes
 English uses abut 45 phonemes
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Language
 The structure of language (continued)
– Morphemes
 The smallest units of meaning in language
 In almost all cases in the English language, a morpheme is
made of two or more phonemes
 Morphemes, singly and in combination, form the words in a
language and provide meaning
– Syntax
 The aspect of grammar that specifies the rules for
arranging and combining words to form phrases and
sentences
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Language
 The structure of language (continued)
– Semantics
 The meaning or the study of meaning derived from
morphemes, words, and sentences
 Noam Chomsky
– Maintained that the ability to glean a meaningful
message from a sentence is stored in a different area
of the brain than are the words used to compose the
sentence
– He distinguished between the surface structure and the
deep structure of a sentence
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Language
 The structure of language (continued)
– Semantics (continued)
 Surface structure
– The literal words of a sentence that are spoken or
written
 Deep structure
– The underlying meaning of a sentence
 In some sentences, the surface structure and the deep
structure are the same
 Alternatively, a single sentence may have one or more
different deep structures
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Language
 The structure of language (continued)
– Pragmatics
 Indicators of the social meaning of an utterance, such as
intonations and gestures
 In English, statements fall in intonation at the end, while
questions rise
 Language and the brain
– Researchers used PET scans to view activity in
areas of the brains of Italian and English speakers
while they read aloud a list of words and non-words;
no difference was found in the end
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Language
 Language and the brain (continued)
– Paulesu and colleagues
 Uncovered that the brain activity in three regions varied
according to the speaker’s native language
– Brain-imaging studies have identified one area in
the lower rear section of the left temporal lobe that
plays a major role in processing information about
both syntax and semantics
– Two brain areas that are important for processing
language are Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Language
Language and the brain (continued)
– Broca’s area
Frontal lobes
Physical production of speech
Processing errrors in syntax
– Wernicke’s area
Temporal lobes
Comprehension of speech
Grammatical characteristics of language
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
Language
 Animal language
– As far as scientists know, humans are the only
species to have developed this rich, varied, and
complex system of communication
– Chimpanzee language
 Allen and Beatrix Gardner
– Took in Washoe when she was one year old and taught
her sign language
– By the end of her fifth year she had mastered about
160 signs
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Language
– Chimpanzee language (continued)
 David Premack
– Taught another chimp, Sarah, to use an artificial
language he developed
– Sarah mastered the concepts of similarities and
differences, and eventually she could signal whether
two objects were the same or different with nearly
perfect accuracy
 Herbert Terrace
– Taught sign language to a chimp they called Nim
Chimpsky and reported Nim’s progress from the age of
2 weeks to 4 years
– Nim learned 125 symbols, which is respectable, but
does not amount to language
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Language
 Animal language (continued)
– Communication in other animals
 Most animal species studied by language researchers are
limited to motor responses, such as sign language,
gestures, using magnetic symbols, or pressing keys on
symbol boards
 Research with sea mammals such as whales and dolphins
has established that they apparently use complicated
systems of grunts, whistles, clicks, and other sounds to
communicate within their species
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Language
 Language and thinking
– Linguistic relativity hypothesis
 The notion that the language a person speaks largely
determines the nature of that person thoughts
 Eskimo’s variety of language for snow
 Created by Benjamin Whorf
– Eleanor Rosch
 Tested whether people whose language contains many
names for colors are better at thinking about and
discriminating among colors than people whose language
has only a few color names
 Dani tribe in New Guinea vs. English speaking Americans
 Found no significant differences in color memory
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Language
 Language and thinking (continued)
– Berlin and Kay
 Found a consistent pattern in establishing names for colors
in all the cultures they studied
 Concluded that people in cultures throughout the world
think about colors in much the same way, regardless of the
language they speak
 Bilingualism
– In European countries, most students learn English
in addition to the languages of the countries
bordering their own
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Language
 Bilingualism (continued)
– Research suggests that there are both advantages
and disadvantages to learning two languages early
in life
 One of the pluses is that, among preschool and school-age
children, bilingualism is associated with better
metalinguistic skills
 On the downside, even in adulthood, bilingualism is
sometimes associated with decreased efficiency in memory
tasks involving words
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Language
 Bilingualism (continued)
– Kenji Hakuta and his colleagues
 Used census data to examine relationships among
English-language, age at entry into the United States, and
educational attainment among Chinese- and Spanishspeaking immigrants
 Even when immigrants entered the United States in middle
and late adulthood, their ability to learn English was
predicted by their educational backgrounds
– Other studies have shown that the more you know
about your first language the easier time you will
have learning another one
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Language
 Bilingualism (continued)
– Kim and others
 Suggests that bilinguals who learned a second language
early (younger than age 10 or 11) rely on the same patch of
tissue in Broca’s area for both of the languages they speak
 But in those who were older when they learned a second
language, two different sections of Broca’s area are active
while they are performing language tasks-one section for
the native language and another for the second language
Copyright © 2004 Allyn & Bacon All rights reserved
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