Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Chapter 10:
Language in Context
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Some Questions of Interest
• How does language affect the way we
•
•
think?
How does our social context influence
our use of language?
How can we find out about language by
studying the human brain, and what do
such studies reveal?
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Language Affects Perception
• Once a particular
label has been
given, perceiving
the same figure
differently is difficult
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Language Affects Memory
• “Washing clothes”
• Leading questions in eyewitness
testimony
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Linguistic Relativity
• Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
– Strong interpretation
• Thoughts and behavior are determined
by language
• More evidence against than for
– Milder interpretation
• Thoughts and behavior are influenced
by language
• Variety of interesting studies: some for,
some against
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Linguistic Relativity Studies
• Bilinguals maintain that they “think”
differently in different languages
(Wierzbicka, 1985)
• Differences in lexicons support
lexical relativity when language
differences lead to differing mental
structures
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Early Linguistic Relativity Study
• Carroll & Casagrande (1958)
– Noted that Navajo language focused more
on form than the English language
– Tested Navajo and English-dominant
Navajo children
– Shown a pair of objects varied in size and
form
• Yellow rope and blue stick
– Children were then asked which of the two
objects should they place with a blue rope?
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Early Linguistic Relativity Study
• Carroll & Casagrande (1958)
– 70% Navajo-dominant selected the
yellow rope (thus focusing on form)
– 40% of English-dominant selected the
yellow rope
• Concluded results support SapirWhorf hypothesis
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Early Linguistic Relativity Study
• Carroll & Casagrande (1958)
– Also asked Caucasian children from
Boston, Massachusetts, the same
question
– 80% of these children choose the
yellow rope (form)
• This component of the study goes
against the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Linguistic Universals
• Color naming
– All languages seem to take their basic
color terms from a set of just 11 color
names
– When only some of the color names
are used, the naming of colors falls
into a hierarchy of five levels
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Linguistic Relativity
• But some studies show that color
•
categories vary, depending on the
speaker’s language
Kay & Kempton (1984)
– Used triads of colors
• Two items were clear examples of blue or
green and a third lay between them
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Linguistic Relativity
• Kay & Kempton (1984)
– Asked English-speaking and
Tarahumara-speaking participants to
determine if C was closer to A or B
– In Tarahumara, there is no color
distinction between blue and green
C
A
B
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Linguistic Relativity
• Kay & Kempton (1984)
– English speakers showed categorical
perception, made the color either blue
or green (were able to create label)
– Tamahumara speakers did not show
categorical perception (had no labels)
– Supports the idea of linguistic
relativity
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Grammatical Gender
• English
– Does not assign a gender to animate
vs. inanimate objects
• Spanish
– Marks gender with morphological info
carried by pronouns, determiners,
nouns, and adjectives
• “una nina alta” vs. “un nino alto”
• “luna” = feminine, “sol” = masculine
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Boroditsky et al. (2003)
• Do people include gender in their
conceptual representations of
objects?
• Are people’s ideas about the
genders of objects influenced by
grammatical genders assigned in
their native languages?
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Boroditsky et al. (2003)
• Experiment
– Taught Spanish and German speakers
object-name pairs (e.g., apple-Patrick)
• Name was either consistent or inconsistent with
the grammatical gender of the object in their
native language
– Measured memory for the pairs; all testing
was in English
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Boroditsky et al. (2003)
• Experiment
– Results
• Both Spanish and German speakers
remembered object-name pairs better
when the gender of the proper name
given to an object was consistent with
the grammatical gender of the object
name in their native language than when
the two genders were inconsistent.
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Boroditsky et al. (2003)
• Another experiment
– Spanish and German speakers wrote
down the first three adjectives that
came to mind to describe each object
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Boroditsky et al. (2003)
• Results
– More masculine properties produced for
masculine objects (defined by native
language), and more feminine properties
produced for feminine objects
– Example: key
• Masculine in German, feminine in Spanish
• German: hard, heavy, jagged, metal, serrated
• Spanish: golden, intricate, little, lovely, shiny
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Boroditsky et al. (2003)
• Conclusion
– Grammatical gender focuses
speakers of different languages on
different aspects of objects
– Supports the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Linguistic Relativity
• Hoffman, Lau, & Johnson (1986)
– Bilinguals fluent in Chinese and English
– Read story about a worldly, experienced,
socially skilled person who is devoted to
his family, and somewhat reserved written
in either English or Chinese
• Chinese language has one word to
•
describe such a person: shi gE
English speakers do not
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Linguistic Relativity
• Hoffman, Lau, & Johnson (1986)
– Afterward, participants rated a variety
of statements about the characters
– Some asked about shi gE stereotype
– If passage was read in Chinese, a
greater impact of the stereotype was
present
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Bilingual Studies
• Bilinguals
– People who can speak two languages
• Early research argued that learning
two languages was harmful
– Problems with early research
• Lower-class bilinguals were compared to
middle-class monolinguals
• IQ and achievement tests were usually
in the monolingual’s language
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Bilingual Studies
• Research showing advantages
– Bilinguals have enhanced executive
functions
– Bilinguals have delayed onset of
dementia
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Bilingual Studies
• Research showing advantages
– Bilinguals acquire more expertise in
their own language
– Bilinguals are sensitive to subtle
aspects of language
– Bilinguals perform better on tests of
nonverbal intelligence that require
recognition of verbal patterns
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Bilingual Studies
• Research showing disadvantages
– Bilinguals tend to have smaller
vocabularies
– Bilinguals’ access to lexical items in
memory is slower
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Bilingual Studies
• Additive bilinguals
– Learn a second language without loss
to the native language
• Subtractive bilinguals
– Learn a second language that
interferes with the native language
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Bilingual Studies
• Simultaneous bilingual
– Learn two languages from birth
• Sequential bilinguals
– First learn one language and then
another
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
• Age
Factors Influencing
Bilingualism Fluency
– The earlier in life a second language
is learned, the more fluent the
speaker will become
– Bahrick & colleagues disagree
• Vocabulary and fluency is acquired just
as well in older participants but not
fluency
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Single-System or Dual?
• Single-system
hypothesis
– Two languages
are represented in
one system
• Dual-system
hypothesis
– Two languages
are represented
by separate
systems
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Pidgins and Creoles
• Pidgins
– Communication between two
language groups
– Often used between immigrants and
locals or missionaries and natives in
order to be understood by each other
without having to learn the language
of the other group
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Pidgins and Creoles
• Pidgin develops over time in such a
way that it becomes a Creole
• Creoles are complete languages,
Pidgins are not
– Does have native speakers
– Has developed through expansion
form and grammar
– Is stable and autonomous in its norms
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Dialects
• A regional variety of a language
distinguished by features such as
vocabulary, syntax, and pronunciation
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Neuroscience and Bilingualism
• Learning a second language increases
the gray matter in the left inferior
parietal cortex
– Density is positively correlated with
proficiency
– Density is negatively correlated with age of
acquisition
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Slips of the Tongue
• Speech errors: we mean to say one
•
thing, but utter another
Chipping the flannel
– Flipping the channel
• Box in the Jack
– Jack in the box
• Your model is renosed
– Your nose is remodeled
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Slips of the Tongue
• Errors seem to follow a structure and
•
can be analyzed to assess what level of
speech production was incorrect
Stages of speech production
– Mentally create meaning of utterance
– Choose words
– Put words into right forms (add prefixes and
suffixes)
– Organize into phrases for sentence
– Put together the phonemes
• Errors can occur at any stage
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Slips of the Tongue
• Various kinds of slips
– Anticipation
– Perseveration
– Substitution
– Reversal
– Spoonerisms
– Malapropism
– Insertions/deletions of sounds
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Slips of the Tongue
• Phoneme exchange
– Mixed up two sounds
• At the lead of spite
–Speed of light
• Go and shake a tower
–Go and take a shower
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Slips of the Tongue
• Word-level error
– I have to fill up my gas with car
•
I have to fill up my car with gas
– Once I stop I cannot start
•
Once I start I cannot stop
– Your model is renosed
•
Your nose is remodeled
• Note for nose example, prefixes and
•
suffixes are already in place before word
error occurs
Error analysis can be done to tell us how
speech production is planned
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Figurative Uses of Language
• Metaphor
– Two nouns placed together to note
similarities
• Argument is war
• Theories are buildings
• Ideas are food
– Similes introduce the words like or as
into a comparison between items
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Figurative Uses of Language
• Metaphor
– Four key elements
• Tenor
• Vehicle
• Ground
• Tension
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Theories about Metaphors
• Traditional view
– Emphasizes the similarities
• Anomaly view
– Emphasizes the differences
• Domain-interaction view
– Combination of the two
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Pragmatics
• Knowing what to say, how to say it,
and when to say it or how to be
around other people (Bowen, 2001)
• Study of discourse and
conversational skills
• Situational determinants of the use
of language
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Pragmatic Skills
• Establish common ground
– Introduce a topic in order for the listener to
fully understand
• Maintaining a topic
– Or change topic appropriately
– Or interrupt politely
• Appropriate eye contact
– Not too much staring
– Not too much looking away
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Pragmatic Skills
• Distinguishing how to talk and
behave toward different
communicative partners
– Formal with some
– Informal with others
• Responding to gestures and nonverbal aspects of language
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Speech Acts
• Five basic categories of speech acts that
reflect the intention of the utterance
– Representative conveys info
•
I like polar bears.
– Directive is order or request that causes behavior
•
Turn on the air conditioner.
– Commissive is a promise/agreement to do
something
•
I will make the cookies.
– Expressive conveys information about inner state
•
I enjoy spending time with you.
– Declaration is a statement that brings about new
situation
•
I am now a vegetarian.
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Speech Acts
• Different ways to get someone to do
something
– Example: you want someone to open a
window.
• Direct speech acts
– Open the window.
• Indirect speech acts
– Could you open the window?
– It sure is hot in here.
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Research on Speech Acts
• Holtgraves (1986) examined the impact of status
on the use of direct and indirect speech acts
• Participants were asked to read scenarios that
had either the high- or low-status person asking
about a speech:
Bob is a junior executive for a fairly large corporation. He
is on friendly terms with John, the company president, and
they occasionally have lunch together. A few days earlier,
they had both attended a company board meeting during
which John had made a presentation. The presentation
had not gone well and was obviously not well thought out.
A few days later, Bob and John are alone and having
lunch together when John says to Bob, “What did you
think of the presentation that I gave to the board the other
morning?”
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Research on Speech Acts
•
After the scenarios were presented, participants had
to select which of the following responses they would
give if in that situation
– Direct and true: I really didn’t think your presentation was
very good.
– Direct and false: I really thought your presentation was very
good.
– Indirect evasive question: Don’t you think we should have
our board meeting on some other day than Monday?
– Evasive assertion: I think we should have our board meeting
on some day other than Monday.
– Indirect irrelevant question: Wasn’t that latest stock market
rally sure a surprise?
– Irrelevant assertion: The latest stock market rally was sure a
surprise.
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Holtgraves (1986) Results
• If of low status, evasive replies
were perceived as more likely and
polite than a direct reply
• One demonstration of how social
context affects speech act choices
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Speech Acts
• Direct speech acts are often considered
rude because of their directness and
tend to be avoided in formal
situations/conversations
– I’d be grateful if you opened the window.
– Could you open the window?
– It would help to have the window open.
– It’s getting hot in here.
– Open the window. (direct)
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Pinker’s Theory of Indirect
Speech
• Indirect speech can serve three
purposes
– Plausible deniability
– Relationship negotiation
– Language as a digital medium of
indirect as well as direct
communication
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Conversational Postulates
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Gender Differences in
Language
• Differences between what men and
women talk about
• Do men interrupt more?
• Is a woman more likely to ask for
directions?
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Tannen
• Girls tend to talk about one topic
• Boys tease, tell jokes, notice things
around the room, talk about finding
games to play
• Girls talk face to face
• Boys talk at angles, eyes straight
ahead
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Tannen
• Women tend to overlap and finish
each others’ sentences
• Men perceive this as an
interruption, intrusion, or lack of
attention
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Animal Language Provides…
• Simpler models
• Fewer ethical constraints than humans
• Full-time subjects over whom we can
•
•
exert complete control of environment
Comparative analysis
Differentiate between skills that are
uniquely human and those that are not
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Grey Parrots: Irene Pepperberg
and Alex
• What color is corn?
– Alex’s answer: yellow
• What’s the same?
– Alex’s answer: color
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Grey Parrots: Irene Pepperberg
and Alex
• Labels for more than 35 objects (e.g., paper,
key, wood, cork, etc.)
• Functional use of No
• Phrases such as I want X, Wanna go Y,
where X and Y are appropriate words
• Labels for 7 colors
• Can identify number of items up to 6
• Alex can use vocabulary to identify
proficiently, request, refuse, categorize, and
quantify more than 100 different objects
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Washoe
• Gardners (1966) taught sign language to
•
•
•
•
chimpanzee named Washoe
Always used sign language in Washoe’s
presence
Washoe was able to use term more
appropriately in different contexts
First use was more tickling
Transferred the sign dog to the sound of
barking by an unseen dog
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Washoe
• Bodamer, Fouts, Fouts, & Jensvold
(1994)
– Studied private signing by chimpanzees
– Found private signing is robust
• Gardner & Gardner (1989)
– Washoe adopted an infant named Loulis
– No humans signed in front of infant chimp
– Loulis still managed to learn over 50 signs from
other chimpanzees
– No active teaching, rather Loulis just learned
through observation among other signing chimps
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Nim Chimpsky
• Terrace (1979)
– Skeptical of the reported success of
the chimpanzees like Washoe
– Compared their behavior to that of
pigeons who are taught to peck
different colors in a certain order
– Believed that apes only used signs to
get rewards from trainers
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Nim Chimpsky
• Raised Nim in a human-like setting
• Nim learned many words like dirty,
•
•
sleep, bite, and angry
Nim did not learn to combine words to
create new meaning on his own
After the experiments were over, and
Nim was retired, he continued to sign;
his most-used signs seemed to be
drink, gum, banana, and more
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Koko
• Patterson raising gorilla named Koko since
1972
• Taught Koko sign language
• Has a greater vocabulary than Nim
• Uses more words per utterances
• Patterson & Linden (1981)
•
•
– Koko uses structure, is creative and
spontaneous in her language
Koko has a vocabulary of over 1,000 signs, and
understands even more spoken English
Koko invented her own new compound signs
(e.g., finger-bracelet for ring)
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Neuropsychology of Language
• Brain and word recognition
– Middle part of the superior temporal
sulcus (STS) responds more strongly
to speech sounds than to nonspeech
sounds
• Stronger in the left hemisphere
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Neuropsychology of Language
• Brain and semantic processing involves
mostly left hemisphere activation in
– ventral temporal lobes, including middle
and inferior temporal, anterior fusiform, and
anterior parahippocampal gyri
– the angular gyrus
– the anterior aspect (pars orbitalis) of the
inferior frontal gyrus
– the dorsal prefrontal cortex
– the posterior cingulate gyrus
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Neuropsychology of Language
• Brain and syntax
– ERP called P600 occurs after hearing
a sentence with syntactic violations
– ERP called N400 occurs after hearing
a sentence related to semantic
violations
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Neuropsychology of Language
• Brain and language acquisition
– Left hemisphere seems to be better at
processing well-practiced routines
– The right hemisphere is better at
dealing with novel stimuli
– Individuals who have learned
language later in life show more righthemisphere involvement
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Neuropsychology of Language
• Brain and sex differences
– When performing a rhyming task, the
inferior frontal region of both the left
and right hemispheres was activated
in women
– Only the inferior (lower) frontal region
of the left hemisphere was activated
for men
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Neuropsychology of Language
• Brain and sign language
– The locations of lesions that would be
expected to disrupt speech also disrupt
signing
– All right-handers with signing deficits
show left-hemisphere lesions, as do
most left-handers
– Some left-handers with signing deficits
show right-hemisphere lesions
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Neuropsychology of Language
• Aphasia
– Impaired language function due to
brain damage
• Wernicke’s
• Broca’s
• Global
• Anomic
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Healthy Brain
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Brain with Wernicke’s Aphasia
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Brain with Broca’s Aphasia
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Neuropsychology of Language
• Autism
– Developmental disorder
– Abnormal social, language, and
cognition behaviors
Cognitive Psychology, Sixth Edition, Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter 10
Theories of Autism
• Sex differences in brains
– “Extreme male brain”
• Executive dysfunction theory
– Problem with frontal lobes
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Chapter 2 : Cognitive Neuroscience