Thinking and Language
“What you hate is
walking. This is
hiking – hiking is
different from
Chapter 10 Group Lectures
Create Powerpoint, Interactive Handout,
AND a Short Engaging Class Activity)
Group 1 – Pages 385-389
Groups are responsible for
► Group 2 – Pages 389-395
making their own copies of
► Group 3 – Pages 395-399
► Group 4 – Pages 401-404
► Group 5 – Pages 404-408
► Group 6 – Pages 409-412
► Group 7 – Pages 413-417
*Planning Dates: February 1st (Today) – February 3rd
*Group Lectures will begin on Friday, February 4th
Hock Group Presentations
Create Powerpoint, Interactive Handout,
AND an Engaging Class Activity)
A Sexual Motivation (pg. 158-168) February 23rd
I Can See It All Over Your Face (pg. 168-175) February 23rd
What You Expect Is What You Get (pg. 93-100) March 4th
Are You the Master of Your Fate? (pg. 192-199) March 15th
The One; The Many (pg. 217-225) March 15th
You’re Getting Defensive Again (pg. 234-241) March 16th
Who’s Crazy Here, Anyway? (pg. 226-234) March 29th
Groups are responsible for
making their own copies of
Thinking = Cognition
The word “think” has many meanings.
In psychology, thinking means to reason,
to ponder, or reflect. In other words,
psychologists term thinking as Directed
Directed thinking = a set of internal
activities that are aimed at the solution
to a problem.
Thinking and Language
Cognition refers to all the mental activities
associated with processing, understanding,
and communicating information.
Cognitive psychologists study these mental
activities including logical and sometimes
illogical ways in which we create concepts,
solve problems, make decisions, and form
To think about the countless events, and
people in our world, we simplify things; we
form concepts.
In order to think about the world, we form……..
A mental grouping of
similar objects,
events, ideas,
physical states of
being, or people
 Concepts are similar
to Piaget’s idea of….
These animals all look different, but
they fall under our concept of “dogs”.
We base our concepts on ….
A mental image or
best example of a
•If a new object is
similar to our
prototype, we are
better able to
recognize it.
If this was your prototype of a
man; then what are you?
Thinking and Language
When we think we also use symbols. A
symbol is an object or act that stands for
something else.
Example: the American flag, an owl, a snake, etc.
Mental Images are types of symbols too.
Example: picture a dog in your mind, that image
stands for
a real dog; it is not itself a dog.
Components of Thought
Two schools of thought:
Some psychologists propose that the ultimate constituents (parts) are mental
Others suggest that thoughts are complex, abstract mental structures
composed of concepts and mental images.
Mental Imagery
According to this theory, all thought is ultimately comprised of images which
enter and exit consciousness.
Research has shown this theory too simplistic; mental imagery plays an
important role in thinking BUT not all.
Abstract Elements of Thought
 There are components of thought that are not just mental
images. They are essentially symbolic, abstract elements.
(example: words).
 Consider a picture of a mouse, the word “mouse” and the
real animal. (Compare them)
 The picture represents a mouse. The picture has many
similiarities to the real animal.
 In contrast, the word “mouse” stands for
the same animal; but, unlike the picture
the word has NO similarities to the real
animal. (only symbolic/abstract connection)
 The relationship between the sound “mouse”
or the written five-letter word mouse and the
real animal is entirely symbolic.
Propositions = mental combination of
simple associative train of thought in
which one idea leads to another.
“Dogs generally bite postmen.”
Propositions are statements that relate
a subject (the idea/object about which an
assertion is made e.g., “dogs”)
and a predicate (what is asserted about subject,
e.g., “generally bite postmen”)
In a way that can be true or false.
“And don’t forget – make it look like an accident.”
Problem Solving
Thinking is the solving the myriad of problems
we encounter every day.
Thinking is an active process.
Thinking can be defined as a stream of
organized activity producing a chain of
associated ideas each triggered by the one
A problem solver goes through a sequence of
internal steps which are organized in a special
way  directed towards the solving of a
How do we solve problems?
We approach different types
of problems in different ways.
A methodical, logical rule
or procedure that
guarantees solving a
particular problem.
Example: mathematics is a complex
system of algorithmic problem
Systemic search is an example
of algorithms.
Complete the word.
What are the
benefits and
detriments of
Who would you trust to
baby-sit your child?
Your answer
is based on
heuristic of
A rule-of-thumb
strategy that often
allows us to make
judgments and solve
problems efficiently
•A creative short
cut (that can be
prone to errors)
C _ _ CH  use
heuristics to solve this
Availability Heuristic
Although diseases kill many
more people than accidents,
it has been shown that
people will judge accidents
and diseases to be equally
fatal. This is because
accidents are more dramatic
and are often written up in
the paper or seen on the
news on t.v., and are more
available in memory than
Estimating the likelihood
of events based on their
availability in our memory
*If it comes to mind easily (maybe a
vivid event) we presume it is common.
Judging a situation based
on examples of similar
situations that come to
mind initially
EXAMPLE: Estimating the divorce
rate by recalling the number of
divorces among your friends’
Representativeness Heuristic
A rule of thumb for
judging the
likelihood of things
in terms of how well
they match our
Can cause us to
ignore important
Below is Linda. She loves
books and hates loud
noises. Is Linda a librarian
or a beautician?
Chances are, she is a beautician!!!
Other heuristic problem solving methods
Means-end analysis – breaking problem down
into parts and trying to solve each part, eventually
leading to the whole solution.
Working backwards – (similar to means-end)
breaking down into parts except you start with the
final goal and work backwards to figure total
Analogies – comparative solving method where
one similar item, situation, idea, etc. is used to
solve another similar problem.
Trial and error – random search for a solution
Difference reduction – identifying goal and
where we are in relationship to that goal and then
seek to reduce the difference between the two.
A sudden and often
novel realization of
the solution to a
•No real strategy
Reasoning is the use of knowledge or
information to research conclusions.
Deductive reasoning – begin with general
ideas or principles and reason down to
specifics that fit the general statement/ideas.
Inductive reasoning – begins with specifics
and reason towards general conclusions.
Obstacles to problem solving
Confirmation Bias
A tendency to
search for
information that
confirms one’s
For example, if you believe that
during a full moon there is an
increase in admissions to the
emergency room where you work,
you will take notice of admissions
during a full moon, but be
inattentive to the moon when
admissions occur during other
nights of the month.
Match Problem
Can you arrange these six matches into four
equilateral triangles?
Match Problem
 The inability to
see a problem
from a new
Mental Set
tendency to approach a
problem in a particular way,
especially if it has worked in
the past
 May or may not be a good thing
Functional Fixedness
The tendency
to think of
things only in
terms of their
usual functions
What are some things I can do with
this quarter (other than spend it)?
The tendency to
be more
confident than
 To overestimate
the accuracy of
your beliefs and
Considering “overconfidence” who would
risk 1 million dollars on an audience poll?
The way an
issued is posed
 It can have
drastic effects
on your
decisions and How do you think
framing will play a part
in this years’ CA
governor election?
Belief Bias
1. Democrats support
free speech.
2. Dictators are not
Conclusion: Dictators do
not support free speech.
The tendency for
one’s preexisting
beliefs to distort
logical reasoning
Sometimes making
invalid conclusions
valid or vice versa
Belief Perseverance
Clinging to your
initial conceptions
after the basis on
which they were
formed has been
discredited (in the
face of contrary
All Chicago Cubs fans who still
believe that this is their year are
suffering from belief perseverance.
Unnecessary Constraints
People often make assumptions that impose
unnecessary constraints on problem-solving
These constraints are
problem-solver imposed;
NOT problem imposed.
Solution to Nine-dot Problem
What other possible solution can you come up
Matchstick Problem
only 2 matches to create 4
identical match stick squares.
AI: The science of designing and programming
computer systems to do intelligent things and to
stimulate human thought processes, such as
intuitive reasoning, learning, and understanding
Language and Thought
It’s all about communication!!!
Our spoken, written,
or gestured words and
the way we combine
them to communicate
 A complex set of
symbols with specific
meaning to
communicate thoughts
Believe it or not, this
communication is a form of
Language as Creative
 With language, we create and interpret
new ideas continuously.
 Language is a system that allows us to
reach limitless end from limited means:
Our stock of memorized meaningful
words is finite, but we have capacity to
create an infinite number of new
– Example: “That’s a rabbit.” OR
“That’s a rabbit over there.”
“A rabbit is what I see over there.”
“Obviously, that’s a rabbit.”
“That’s clearly a rabbit.”
Language is Highly Structured
 We construct utterances in accord with
certain abstract principles/rules of
language structure.
– Example: would NOT say, “Is rabbit a that.”
Structural principles underlie the way in
which we combine words to make up
new expression, and they are followed by
most individuals (so that we can all
understand each other).
 Prescriptive rules are essentially “rules
of grammar.”
Language as Meaningful
 Each word in a language expresses a
meaningful idea (or concept) about some
thing (e.g., rabbit, camera), action (e.g., run,
jump), abstraction (e.g., justice, fun), quality
(e.g., red, altruistic)
– Example: “dogs”, “cats”, and “bites” express
very different meaningful thoughts depending
on how they are put together
Language is Interpersonal
Many aspects of human language are within the
individual and are thus the property of each
single human mind.
 Language is a process that goes beyond the
individual, for it is the social activity in which the
thoughts of one mind are communicated to
another mind.
 Each speaker must know the sounds, words,
and sentences of his/her language as well as
the principles of conversation.
Structure of Language: Linguistics
All human languages are organized as a hierarchy of
At the bottom of the hierarchy, each language consists
of little snippets of sound.
And at the top, complex dialogues and written
Phonemes are the smallest distinctive
sound units that are perceived.
There are approximately 40 phonemes
Examples: “th” “z” “b” “er” “t”
How many phonemes
does platypus have?
Fixed sequences of phonemes are joined into
There are approximately 80,000 morphemes.
Morphemes are the smallest language units that
carry bits of meaning.
Some words consist of single morphemes such as
“and” “run” or “strange”  These are called
Content Morphemes.
Many morphemes can stand alone and must be
joined with others to make up a complex
– Example: “er” “s”  These are called
Function Morphemes.
A system of rules
in a language that
enables us to
communicate and
understand others
Semantics +
The set of rules
by which we
derive meaning in
a language
Adding ed at the
end of words
means past
The Chinese languages
do not have expansive
semantic rules. They
usually have totally
different symbols for
different tenses.
The rules for
combining words
into grammatically
In English,
adjectives come
before nouns, but
not in Spanish!!
Is this the White
House or the
House White?
Language Development
Language is developed in a sequence of steps.
1. Crying (birth – 1 month) Crying is innate.
The first signs of language is crying. (The beginning
of sound.)
1. Cooing (2 months – 6 months) By the second month,
babies begin cooing. Coos are vowel sounds –
expressing feelings of pleasure.
2. Babbling (3/4 months – 10 months) Babbling is the
combination of vowel and consonant sounds.
Example: “ba”, “ga”, “da”
3. Words (11 months – 18 months)
4. Learning grammar - rules of language (beyond 18
Language Development
► Crying,
cooing and babbling are basic human
abilities regardless of culture or language (these
steps are universal around the world).
► All babies produce the same early sounds no
matter the culture or language.
► By about the eleventh month, babies begin to
create sounds that they pick out and repeat from
phonemes used by the people around them.
Example: “mama”
► One-word stage – From age 1-2 a child speaks
mostly in single words.
► The start of real language begins with words.
Language Development
► Word
acquisition occurs slowly. After the baby
has learned its first word, it might be another
3 or 4 months before the baby develops a 10word vocabulary.
► By 18 months, a child has dozens of words in
his/her vocabulary (mostly nouns).
► Reading to young children increases their
► Children sometimes overreach – they try to talk
about more things than they have words for.
This is called overextension.
 Example: “dog” used for other animals.
Language Development
► Two-word
stage – by 2 years, most children
begin to use two-word sentences. “That doggie.”
means “that is a dog.”
► Even brief two-word utterances show
understanding of grammar, “Sit chair” or “My
doggy” – “Mommy go” vs. “Go mommy”
► Telegraphic speech – Early stage in which a
child speaks like a telegram – using mostly nouns
and verbs; omitting “auxiliary words.”
► Between 2-3 years, children begin to add the
missing words such as conjunctions, articles,
pronouns, etc.
How do we explain language
that we can
explain language
through social
learning theory
(which is?).
The young boy imitates his
dad, then gets a reward.
Inborn Universal Grammar
► We
acquire language
too quickly for it to
be learned.
► We have this
“learning box” inside
our heads that
enable us to learn
any human language.
Does language influence our
Linguistic Relativity
► The
idea that language determines
the way we think (not vise versa).
• The Hopi tribe has no past
tense in their language, so
Whorf says they rarely think
of the past.
Thinking without Language
► We
can think in words.
► But more often we think in mental
In 1977, Reggie
Jackson hit 3 HR’s
against the
Dodgers. He has
stated that before
each at bat, he
visualizes crushing
a home run. Do you
think visualization
Do Animals Think?
Kohler’s Chimpanzees
exhibited that
Chimps can
problem solve.
Honeybees seem to communicate
Apes and Signing

Thinking and Language - Santa Ana Unified School …