Myers’ EXPLORING
PSYCHOLOGY
(6th Ed)
Chapter 9
Thinking, Language, and
Intelligence
James A. McCubbin, PhD
Clemson University
Worth Publishers
Thinking
 Cognition
 mental activities associated with thinking,
knowing, remembering, and communicating
 Cognitive Psychologists
 study these mental activities
 concept formation
 problem solving
 decision making
 judgment formation
Thinking
 Concept
 mental grouping of similar objects, events,
ideas, or people
 Prototype
 mental image or best example of a category
 matching new items to the prototype provides a
quick and easy method for including items in a
category (as when comparing feathered creatures
to a prototypical bird, such as a robin)
Thinking
 Algorithm
 methodical, logical rule or procedure that
guarantees solving a particular problem
 contrasts with the usually speedier–but also
more error-prone--use of heuristics
Thinking
 Heuristic
 simple thinking strategy that often allows us
to make judgments and solve problems
efficiently
 usually speedier than algorithms
 more error-prone than algorithms
Thinking
Unscramble
SPLOYOCHYG
 Algorithm
 all 907,208 combinations
 Heuristic
 throw out all YY combinations
 other heuristics?
Thinking
 Insight
 sudden and often novel realization of the
solution to a problem
 contrasts with strategy-based solutions
 Confirmation Bias
 tendency to search for information that
confirms one’s preconceptions
 Fixation
 inability to see a problem from a new
perspective
 impediment to problem solving
The Matchstick
Problem
 How would you
arrange six
matches to form
four equilateral
triangles?
The Candle-Mounting
Problem
 Using these
materials, how
would you
mount the
candle on a
bulletin board?
Thinking
 Functional Fixedness
 tendency to think of things only in terms of
their usual functions
 impediment to problem solving
The Matchstick
Problem
 Solution to the
matchstick
problem
The Candle-Mounting
Problem
 Solving this
problem
requires
recognizing that
a box need not
always serve as
a container
Heuristics
 Representativeness Heuristic
 judging the likelihood of things in terms of
how well they seem to represent, or match,
particular prototypes
 may lead one to ignore other relevant
information
Heuristics
 Availability Heuristic
 estimating the likelihood of events based
on their availability in memory
 if instances come readily to mind (perhaps
because of their vividness), we presume
such events are common
 Example: airplane crash
Thinking
 Overconfidence
 tendency to be more confident than
correct
 tendency to overestimate the
accuracy of one’s beliefs and
judgments
Thinking
 Framing
 the way an issue is posed
 how an issue is framed can significantly
affect decisions and judgments
 Example: What is the best way to
market ground beef--as 25% fat or 75%
lean?
 Belief Perseverance
 clinging to one’s initial conceptions after
the basis on which they were formed has
been discredited
Language
 Language
 our spoken, written, or gestured
works and the way we combine them
to communicate meaning
Language
 We are all born to recognize speech sounds from
all the world’s languages
Percentage able 100
to discriminate
90
Hindi t’s
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Hindispeaking
adults
6-8
months
8-10
months
10-12
months
Infants from English-speaking homes
Englishspeaking
adults
Language
 Babbling Stage
 beginning at 3 to 4 months
 the stage of speech development in which
the infant spontaneously utters various
sounds at first unrelated to the household
language
 One-Word Stage
 from about age 1 to 2
 the stage in speech development during
which a child speaks mostly in single words
Language
 Two-Word Stage
 beginning about age 2
 the stage in speech development during
which a child speaks in mostly two-word
statements
 Telegraphic Speech
 early speech stage in which the child
speaks like a telegram-–“go car”--using
mostly nouns and verbs and omitting
“auxiliary” words
Language
Summary of Language Development
Month
(approximate)
Stage
4
Babbles many speech sounds.
10
Babbling reveals households
language.
12
One-word stage.
24
Two-world, telegraphic speech.
24+
Language develops rapidly into
complete sentences.
Language
 Genes
design the
mechanisms
for a
language,
and
experience
activates
them as it
modifies the
brain
Language
Percentage
correct on
grammar
test
 New language
learning gets
harder with
age
100
90
80
70
60
50
Native 3-7
8-10 11-15 17-39
Age at school
Language
 Linguistic Determinism
 Whorf”s hypothesis that language
determines the way we think
Language
 The interplay
of thought and
language
Animal Thinking and
Language
 Gestured Communication
Animal Thinking and
Language
 Is this
really
language?
Origins of Intelligence
Testing
 Intelligence
 ability to learn from
experience, solve
problems, and use
knowledge to adapt
to new situations
Origins of Intelligence
Testing
 Mental Age
 a measure of intelligence test
performance devised by Binet
 chronological age that most typically
corresponds to a given level of
performance
 child who does as well as the average
8-year-old is said to have a mental age
of 8
Origins of Intelligence
Testing
 Stanford-Binet
 the widely used American revision
of Binet’s original intelligence test
 revised by Terman at Stanford
University
Origins of Intelligence
Testing
 Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
 defined originally the ratio of mental age
(ma) to chronological age (ca) multiplied
by 100
 IQ = ma/ca x 100
 on contemporary tests, the average
performance for a given age is assigned
a score of 100
What is Intelligence?
 Factor Analysis
 statistical procedure that identifies clusters of
related items (called factors) on a test
 used to identify different dimensions of
performance that underlie one’s total score
 General Intelligence (g)
 factor that Spearman and others believed
underlies specific mental abilities
 measured by every task on an intelligence
test
Are There Multiple
Intelligences?
 Savant Syndrome
 condition in which a person otherwise
limited in mental ability has an exceptional
specific skill
 computation
 drawing
Are There Multiple
Intelligences?
 Social Intelligence
 the know-how involved in comprehending
social situations and managing oneself
successfully
 Emotional Intelligence
 ability to perceive, express, understand, and
regulate emotions
Intelligence and
Creativity
 Creativity
 the ability to produce novel and valuable
ideas
 expertise
 imaginative thinking skills
 venturesome personality
 intrinsic motivation
 creative environment
Assessing Intelligence
 Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
(WAIS)
 most widely used intelligence test
 subtests
 verbal
 performance (nonverbal)
Assessing Intelligence
 Aptitude Test
 a test designed to predict a person’s future
performance
 aptitude is the capacity to learn
 Achievement Test
 a test designed to assess what a person has
learned
Assessing Intelligence
 Standardization
 defining meaningful scores by comparison
with the performance of a pretested
“standardization group”
 Normal Curve
 the symmetrical bell-shaped curve that
describes the distribution of many physical
and psychological attributes
 most scores fall near the average, and fewer
and fewer scores lie near the extremes
The Normal Curve
Assessing Intelligence
 Reliability
 the extent to which a test yields consistent
results
 assessed by consistency of scores on:
 two halves of the test
 alternate forms of the test
 retesting
 Validity
 the extent to which a test measures or
predicts what it is supposed to
Assessing Intelligence
 Content Validity
 the extent to which a test samples the
behavior that is of interest
 driving test that samples driving tasks
 Criterion
 behavior (such as college grades) that a
test (such as the SAT) is designed to
predict
 the measure used in defining whether
the test has predictive validity
Assessing Intelligence
 Predictive Validity
 success with which a test predicts the
behavior it is designed to predict
 assessed by computing the correlation
between test scores and the criterion
behavior
 also called criterion-related validity
The Dynamics of
Intelligence
 Mental Retardation
 a condition of limited mental ability
 indicated by an intelligence score below 70
 produces difficulty in adapting to the
demands of life
 varies from mild to profound
 Down Syndrome
 retardation and associated physical disorders
caused by an extra chromosome in one’s
genetic makeup
The Dynamics of
Intelligence
Genetic Influences
 The most
genetically
similar
people have
the most
similar
scores
Genetic Influences
 Heritability
 the proportion of variation among
individuals that we can attribute to
genes
 variability depends on range of
populations and environments studied
Genetic Influences
Environmental
Influences
 The Schooling Effect
Group Differences
 The Mental Rotation Test
Which two of the other circles contain a configuration of blocks
identical to the one in the circle at the left?
Standard
Responses
Group Differences
 Stereotype Threat
 A self-confirming concern that one will be
evaluated based on a negative stereotype
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Introduction to Psychology