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Chapter 10 - Thinking and Language, Psychology, by David G. Myers, 6th Edition Textbook

Chapter 10 - Thinking and Language141.5 KB


LANGUAGE: Language is intimately connected to cognition


  • phonemes
  • morphemes
  • syntax

Language Acquisition

First stage – babbling

  • babbling appears to be innate
  • babies in this stage are capable of producing any phoneme from any language
  • babbling progresses into utterances of words as babies imitate the words they hear caregivers say

Second stage – telegraphic speech

  • combine words into simple commands
  • begin to learn grammar and syntax rules during this stage

Controversy in language acquisition

  • Behaviorists believe it is learned through operant conditioning and shaping
  • Noam Chomsky – nativist theory of language acquisition, says humans are born with a language acquisition device which allows them to learn language rapidly.  There may be a critical period for learning language.
  • Most psychologists now agree that there is some combination of the two

Language and Cognition

Benjamin Whorf, linguistic relativity hypothesis – the language we use might control, and in some ways limit, our thinking


Schemata – cognitive rules we use to interpret the world
Concepts- similar to schemats, rules that allow us to categorize and think about the objects, people, and ideas we encounter
Prototypes – the most typical example of a particular concept
Images – mental pictures

Problem Solving

Algorithms – try every possible solution,, an algorithm is a rule that guarantees the right solution by using a formula or foolproof method, may be impractical
Heuristics –a rule of thumb,it limits the possible combinations drastically
Availability heuristic- judging a situation based on examples of similar situations that come to mind initially.
Representativeness heuristic – judging a situation based on how similar the aspects are to prototypes the person holds in his or her mind.
    Use of the heuristics can lead to specific problems in judgments. Overconfidence, belief bias, belief perseverance

Impediments to Problem Solving-

  • rigidity (mental set) tendency to fall into established thought patterns
  • functional fixedness – the inability to see a new use for an object
  • not breaking the problem into parts
  • confirmation bias – we tend to look for evidence that confirms our beliefs
  • Framing – the way a problem is presented


  • little correlation between intelligence and creativity
  • difficult to define, originality, appropriateness, novel, somehow fits the situation
  • convergent thinking- thinking pointed toward one solution
  • divergent thinking- thinking that searches for multiple possible answers to a question-divergent thinking is more closely associated with creativity.


1. Mr. Krohn, a carpenter is frustrated because he misplaced his hammer and needs to pound in the last nail in the bookcase he is building.  He overlooks the fact that he could use the tennis trophy sitting above the workbench to pound in the nail.  Which concept best explains why Mr. Krohn overlooked the trophy?
A. representativeness heuristic
B. retrieval
C. functional fixedness
D. belief bias
E. divergent thinking

2. Phonemes and morphemes refer to
A. elements of telegraphic speech toddlers use.
B. Elements of language.
C. Building blocks of concepts.
D. Basic elements of memories stored in a long-term memory.
E. Two types of influences language has on thought according to the linguistic relativity hypothesis.

3. Which example would be better explained by the levels of processing model than the information-processing model?
A. Someone says your name across the room and you switch your attention away from the conversation you are having.
B. You forget part of a list you were trying to memorize for a test.
C. While visiting with your grandmother, you recall one of your favorite childhood toys
D. You are able to remember verbatim a riddle you worked on for a few days before you figured out the answer.
E. You pay less attention to the smell of your neighbor’s cologne than to the professor’s lecture in your college class.

4. Contrary to what Whorf’s linguistic relativity hypothesis originally predicted, what effect does recent research indicate language has on the way we think?
A. Since we think in language, the language we understand limits what we have the ability to think about.
B. Language is a tool of thought but does not limit our cognition.
C. The labels we apply affect our thoughts.
D. The relative words in each language affect our ability to think because we are restricted to the words each language uses.
E. The linguistic relativity hypothesis predicts that how quickly we acquire language correlates with our cognitive ability

5. Which of the following is an example of the use of the representativeness heuristic?
A. Judging that a young person is more likely to be the instigator of an argument than an older person, because you believe younger people are more likely to start fights.
B. Breaking a math story problem down into smaller, representative parts, in order to solve it.
C. Judging a situation by a rule that is usuly, but not always true.
D. Solving a problem with a rule that guarantees the right, more representative answer.
E. Making a judgment according to past experiences that are most easily recalled, therefore representative of experience.

6. Which of the following is the most complete list of elements in the three-box/information processing model?
A. Sensory memory, constructive memory, working memory, and long-term memory.
B. Short-term memory, working memory, and long-term memory.
C. Shallow processing, deep processing, and retrieval.
D. Sensory memory, encoding, working memory, and retrieval.
E. Sensory memory, working memory, encoding, long-term memory, and retrieval.

7. Which of the following is an effective method for testing whether a memory is actually true or whether it is a constructed memory?
A. Checking to see whether it was deeply processed or shallowly processed.
B. Testing to see if the memory was encoded from sensory memory into working memory.
C. Using a PET scan to see if the memory is stored in the hippocampus.
D. Using other evidence, such as written records, to substantiate the memory.
E. There is no way to tell the difference between a true memory and a constructed one.

8. One of the ways memories are physically stored in the brain is by what process?
A. Deep processing, which increases levels of neurotransmitters in the hippocampus.
B. Encoding, which stimulates electric activity in the hippocampus.
C. Long-term potentiation, which strengthens connections between neurons.
D. Selective attention, which increases myelination of memory neurons.
E. Rehearsal, which causes the brain to devote more neurons to what is being rehearsed.

9. According to the nativist theory, language is acquired
A. by parents reinforcing correct language use.
B. Using an inborn ability to learn language at a certain developmental stage.
C. Best in the language and culture native to the child and parents.
D. Only if formal language instruction is provided in the child’s native language.
E. Best through the phonics instructional method, because children retain how to pronounce all the phonemes required for the language.

10. According to the three-box/information-processing model, stimuli from our outside environment is first stored in
A. working memory.
B. The hippocampus.
C. The thalamus.
D. Sensory memory.
E. Selective attention.

11. Which of the following is the best example of the use of the availability heuristic?
A. Judging a situation by a rule that is usually, but not always, true.
B. Making a judgment according to past experiences that are most easily recalled.
C. Judging that a problem should be solved using a formula that guarantees the right answer.
D. Making a judgment according to what is usually true in your experience.
E. Solving a problem by breaking it into more easily available parts.

12. Which sentence most accurately describes sensory memory?
A. .Sensory memory stores all sensory input perfectly accurately for a short period of time.
B. Sensory memory encodes only sensations we are attending to at the time.
C. Sensory memory receives memories from the working memory and decides which memories to encode in long-term memory.
D. Sensory memory records all incoming sensations and remembers them indefinitely.
E. Sensory memory records some sensations accurately, but some are recorded incorrectly, leading to constructive memory.

13. Recall is a more difficult process than recognition because
A. memories retrieved by recognition are held in working memory, and recalled memories are in long-term memory.
B. Memories retrieved by recognition are more deeply processed.
C. The process of recall involves cues to the memory that causes interference.
D. Memories retrieved by recognition are more recent than memories retrieved by recall.
E. The process of recognition involves matching a person, event, or object with something already in memory

14. Which of the following would be the best piece of evidence for the nativist theory of language acquisition?
A. A child who acquires language at an extremely early age through intense instruction by her or his parents.
B. Statistical evidence that children in one culture learn language faster than children in another culture.
C. A child of normal mental ability not being able to learn language due to language deprivation at a young age.
D. A child skipping the babbling and telegraphic speech stages of language acquisition.
E. A child deprived of language at an early age successfully learning language later.

15. A friend mentions to you that she heard humans never forget anything; we remember everything that ever happens to us.  What concept from memory research most directly contradicts this belief?
A. sensory memory
B. selective attention
C. long-term memory
D. constructive memory
E. recovered memory

Subject X2: 

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