Schacter
Gilbert
Wegner
PSYCHOLOGY
Chapter 7
Language,
Thought, and
Intelligence
Slides prepared by:
Melissa S. Terlecki, Cabrini College
Schacter
Gilbert
Wegner
PSYCHOLOGY
7.1
Language And
Communication:
Nothing’s More Personal
How many languages are there?
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A. 75
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B. 475
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C. 1,075
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D. 6,075
How many languages are there?

A. 75

B. 475

C. 1,075

D. 6,075
90% of these languages are spoken by
less than 100,000 people.
 Between 200 and 150 languages are
spoken by more than a million people.
 There are 357 languages which have
less than 50 speakers.
 A total of 46 languages have just a single
speaker.

How about in the U.S?
How about in the U.S?

There are over 300 languages!
Which country has the most
languages?
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A. India

B. Papa New Guinea
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C. Nigeria

D. Indonesia
Which country has the most
languages?
1.
Papa New Guinea – 820 (12%)
2.
Indonesia – 742 (11 %)
3.
Nigeria – 516 (8%)
4.
India – 427 (6 %)
How do languages form?

If two groups of people speaking the
same language are separated, in time
their languages will change along
different paths.
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First they develop different accents;
Next, some of the vocabulary will change.
When this happens a different dialect is
created.
If the dialects continue to diverge there will
come a time when they are mutually
unintelligible.
When this happens people are speaking
different languages.
Example: The Roman Empire
Roman Empire collapses in 4th c. A.D.
 Latin was the language of that empire.
 Speakers in different parts of Europe
became isolated from each other.
 Their languages evolved along
independent paths to give us the modern
languages of Italian, French, Spanish,
Portuguese and Romanian.

More Examples:

The Sanskrit spoken in North India
changed into the modern languages of of
the region: Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi,
Bengali and others.

Ancient Persian has evolved into Farsi,
Kurdish and Pashto.

In time, with enough migrations, a single
language can evolve into an entire
family of languages.
Language Families

Languages are grouped together by
common ancestry

There are over 100 language families

95% of languages are in 10 dominate
language families.
Language Families
Language Families Map

Languages in the same branch are
sister languages that diverged within the
last 1000 to 2000 years (Latin, for
example, gave rise to the Latin Branch
languages in the Indo-European
Family).
Indo-European Family
Languages in the same family, share many common grammatical
features and many of the key words, especially older words, show
their common origin
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English- month
Dutch- maand
German- Monat
Swedish- månad
Welsh- mis
Gaelic- mí
French- mois
Spanish- mes
Portuguese- mês
Italian- mese
Polish- miesiac
Russian- myesyats
Lithuanian- menuo
Albanian- muaj
Greek- minas
Farsi- mâh
Hindi -mahina
Edward Sapir, linguist:

"No two languages are ever
sufficiently similar to be considered
as representing the same social
reality. The words in which different
cultures live are distinct worlds, not
merely the same world with different
labels attached".
Language

Language: a system for communicating with
others using signals that convey meaning and
are combined according to rules of grammar.
3 Differences in Human
Language
1.
2.
3.
The complex structure of human
language distinguishes it from simpler
signaling systems
Humans use words to refer to intangible
things
Use language to name, categorize, and
describe things to ourselves when we
think
Questions
 What
do all languages have in
common?
Basic Characteristics

Phoneme: the smallest unit of sound that is
recognizable as speech rather than as random
noise.
 Morpheme: the smallest meaningful unit of
language.
 Grammar: a set of rules that specify how the
units of language can be combined to produce
meaningful messages.
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rules of morphology.
rules of syntax.
Context is Important
Sign outside a stadium:
 “Football
coaches not admitted
unless booked in advance”
Groucho Marx: ‘I once shot an elephant
in my pajamas’
 Case of Derek Bentley

Figure 7.1: Units of Language
(p. 199)
Deep Structure Versus
Surface Structure
Deep structure: the meaning of a
sentence.
 Surface structure: how a sentence is
worded.
Example:
‘The dog chased the cat’
‘The cat was chased by the dog’
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Questions
 Is
the meaning or wording of a
sentence more memorable?
Language Development
1. Children learn language at a rapid rate.
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Average 1 year old – 10 words
10,000 words by 4 years old
6 or 7 new words a day
Language Development
2. Children make few errors while learning
to speak (even their errors follow
grammatical rules).
Language Development
3. Children’s passive mastery of language
(comprehension) develops faster than
their active mastery (production).
Distinguishing Speech
Sounds

Infants up to 6 mos. of age can
distinguish among all the sounds in all
human languages.
Distinguishing Speech
Sounds

Infants can distinguish among speech
sounds but cannot reliably produce
them.
Distinguishing Speech
Sounds

Babies must hear their own babbling for
speech to continue.
Questions
 What
language ability do babies
have that adults do not?
Grammatical Rules
Fast mapping: the fact that children can
map a word onto an underlying concept
after only a single exposure.
 Telegraphic speech: two-word sentences
that emerge around 2 years of age.
 As children acquire grammatical rule,
they tend to overgeneralize.
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Table 7.1: Language Milestones
(p. 201)
Questions
 Why
is it unlikely that children are
using imitation to pick up language?
Theories of Language
Development

Behaviorist explanations: children acquire
language through operant conditioning.
 Nativist explanations: language is an innate,
biological capacity.
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language acquisition device (LAD): a collection
of processes that facilitate language learning.
genetic dysphasia: a syndrome characterized by
an inability to learn the grammatical structure of
language despite having otherwise normal
intelligence.
Theories of Language
Development

Interactionist explanations: social
interactions play a crucial role in
language.

deaf children in Nicaragua developed their
own sign language.
Deaf Children in Nicaragua
(p. 204)
Questions
 How
does the interactionist theory
of language acquisition differ from
behaviorist and nativist theories?
The Neurological Specialization
That Allows Language to Develop
Broca’s area: responsible for production
of sequential patterns in vocal and sign
languages (left frontal lobe).
 Wernicke’s area: responsible for
comprehension of vocal and sign
languages (left temporal lobe).
 Aphasia: disorder involving the difficulty
in producing or comprehending
language.
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Figure 7.2: Broca’s and
Wernicke’s Areas (p. 204)
Do Animals Use Language?
Questions
 How
does language processing
change in the brain as the child
matures?
Culture and Community: Does Bilingual
Education Slow Cognitive Development?
In comparison to America, most of the
world is bilingual.
 Monolingual and bilingual students show
similar rates of language development.
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bilingual students show some advantages in
cognitive testing, however.
Schacter
Gilbert
Wegner
PSYCHOLOGY
7.2
Concepts And Categories:
How We Think
What is Cognition?
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Cognition = thinking

So, cognitive psychologists study how
people think.
Thinking Involves:
1. forming concepts
 2. reasoning
 3. solving problems
 4. making decisions
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Concepts
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Concept: a mental representation that groups
or categorizes shared features of related
objects, events, or other stimuli.
Questions
 Why
are concepts useful to us?
Which One Does Not Belong?
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Saturn
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Earth
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Dodge
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Mercury
Which One Does Not Belong?
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Cardinal
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Red
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Turkey
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Oriole
Which One Does Not Belong?
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Hazel
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Brown
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Temple
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Auburn
Which One Does Not Belong?
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Christmas
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Easter
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Thanksgiving
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Java
Which One Does Not Belong?
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Apple
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Cotton
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Peach
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Orange
Which One Does Not Belong?
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Titus
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John
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James
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Dwight
Concepts
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Category-specific deficit: a neurological
syndrome that is characterized by an inability
to recognize objects that belong to a particular
category while leaving the ability to recognize
objects outside the category undisturbed.
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depends on where the brain is damaged.
Figure 7.3: Brain Areas Involved In
Category-specific Processing (p. 204)
Dog-on-it!
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Write down a definition of a ‘dog’.
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Now, can you come with a rule of
‘dogness’ or ‘dogship’ (what it means to
be a dog) that includes all dogs and
excludes all non-dogs?
Questions
 How
does the brain organize our
concepts of the world?
Psychological Theories of
Concepts and Categories
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Family resemblance theory: members of a
category have features that appear to be
characteristic of category members but may
not be possessed by every member.
Figure 7.4: Family Resemblance
Theory (p. 207)
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Prototype theory: we make categorical
judgments by comparing new instances to a
category’s prototype.
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prototype: the “best” or “most typical” member of a
category.
Example: “Think of a horse.”
You Didn’t Think of Midget
Wrestling
You probably thought of this:
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Exemplar theory: we make category
judgments by comparing a new instance
with stored memories for other instances
of the category.
Figure 7.5: Critical Features of a
Category (p. 208)
Questions
 How
do prototypes and exemplars
relate to each other?
Schacter
Gilbert
Wegner
PSYCHOLOGY
7.3
Judging, Valuing, and
Deciding: Sometimes We’re
Logical, Sometimes Not
Decision Making

Rational choice theory: we make decisions
by determining how likely something is to
happen, judging the value of the outcome, and
then multiplying the two.
 We are worse using probability versus
frequency information in decision making.
 Conjunction fallacy: when people think that
two events are more likely to occur together
than either individual event.
Figure 7.6: The Conjunction
Fallacy (p. 211)
Decision Making
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Framing effects: when people give different
answers to the same problem depending on
how the problem is phrased (or framed).
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sunk-cost fallacy: when people make decisions
about a current situation based on what they have
previously invested in the situation.
Prospect theory: people choose to take on
risk when evaluating potential losses and
avoid risks when evaluating potential gains.
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simplify available information.
choose prospect with greatest value.
Questions
 How
do we fail as rational decision
makers?
 Why does a 70% success rate
sound better than a 30% failure
rate?
 Why will most people take more
risks to avoid losses than to make
gains?
Schacter
Gilbert
Wegner
PSYCHOLOGY
7.4
Intelligence
Intelligence
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Intelligence: a mental ability that enables people to
direct their thinking, adapt to their circumstances, and
learn from their experiences.
 Intelligence testing of immigrants.
 Difference between aptitude and achievement.
 Ratio IQ: a statistic obtained by dividing a person’s
mental age by their physical age, and then multiplying
by 100.
 Deviation IQ: a statistic obtained by dividing a
person’s test score by the average test score of
people in the same age group, and then multiplying by
100.
Immigrants at Ellis Island (p. 213)
Figure 7.7: The Normal Curve of
Intelligence (p. 215)
Questions
 What
test?
was the original goal of the IQ
The Logic of Intelligence
Testing
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Intelligence is a hypothetical property
that enables people to perform a wide
variety of consequential behaviors.
intelligence tests are an easily administered
set of tasks that correlate with these
behaviors.
 Intelligence tests predict success on a wide
variety of behaviors.
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The Stanford-Binet and the WAIS are
examples of today’s intelligence tests.
Figure 7.8: The Logic of
Intelligence Testing (p. 215)
Figure 7.9: Life Outcomes and
Intelligence (p. 217)
Questions
 What
do intelligence tests
measure?
 What
do intelligence tests predict?
The Real World: Look Smart
Ordinary people are relatively good
judges of others’ intelligence.
 Research shows that intelligent people
hold the gaze of their conversation
partners (both when speaking and
listening).
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Women tend to be better observers and
intelligence in men is more easy to detect.
General and Specific Abilities
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Spearman used factor analysis: a
statistical technique that explains a large
number of correlations in terms of a
small number of underlying factors.
most measures are positively correlated.
 two-factor theory of intelligence: every
task requires a combination of a general
ability (g) and skills that are specific to the
task (s).
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General and Specific Abilities
Thurstone described primary mental
abilities.
 More recently accepted is a three-level
hierarchy.
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general factor (high level ability), specific
factors (low level abilities), and group
factors (middle level abilities).
Figure 7.10: A Three-level
Hierarchy (p. 219)
Questions
 Why
is the three-level hierarchy of
abilities a useful way to think about
intelligence?
Middle-level Abilities
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Carroll identified 8 independent middle-level
abilities:
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memory & learning, visual perception, auditory
perception, retrieval ability, cognitive speediness,
processing speed, crystallized intelligence, and
fluid intelligence.
Fluid intelligence: the ability to process
information.
 Crystallized intelligence: the accuracy and
amount of information available for processing.
Questions
 Is
fluid intelligence like a processing
system or like data? What about
crystallized intelligence?
Middle-level Abilities
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Sternberg proposed 3 kinds of intelligence.
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analytic, creative, and practical intelligence.
Gardner’s studies of people including
prodigies (normal intelligence with an
extraordinary ability) and savants (low
intelligence with an extraordinary ability) led
him to propose 8 kinds of intelligence.
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linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical,
bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and
naturalistic intelligences.
stresses cultural differences.
Five Year-old Savant Drawing
(p. 220)
Questions
 Why
does intelligence seem to vary
between cultures?
Schacter
Gilbert
Wegner
PSYCHOLOGY
7.5
The Origins of
Intelligence: From SES To
DNA
Intelligence and Genes

Galton concluded that intelligence was
inherited.
 Studies of identical and fraternal twins reared
together and apart.
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people who share all their genes have extremely
similar intelligence test scores (regardless of
environment).
Heritability coefficient: a statistic that
describes the proportion of the difference
between people’s scores that can be
explained by differences in their genetic
makeup.
Table 7.2: Intelligence Tests Correlations
Between People With Different Relationships
(p. 223)
Figure 7.11: How To Ask A Dumb
Question (p. 223)
Questions
 Why
is the heritability coefficient
higher among children of the
wealthy than among children of the
poor?
Intelligence and Groups

Some groups of people do tend to
outscore other groups on intelligence
tests.
not explainable by cultural biases on tests.
 situational biases may affect group
differences (stereotype threat).
 SES predicts performance better than
ethnicity.
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Questions
 How
can the testing situation affect
people’s scores?
Changing Intelligence
An individual’s relative intelligence is stable over
time, yet one’s absolute intelligence typically
changes.
 Flynn effect: average intelligence test score has
been rising .3% every year.
 Correlations between level of education and
intelligence correlate.
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educational programs have a small-mild impact.
Cognitive enhancers: drugs that produce
improvements in the psychological processes
that underlie intelligent behavior.
Questions
 Can
intelligence be improved?
Where Do You Stand: Making Kids
Smart or Making Smart Kids?
If scientists find genes directly related to
intelligence, IVF and gene therapy will
provide methods of increasing a couple’s
chances of having an intelligent child.
 Ethics: should parents be allowed to use
genetic screening or gene therapy to
increase the odds that they will have
intelligent children?
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