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Psy2012 Week 4 of notes

by: Lauren Carstens

Psy2012 Week 4 of notes PSY2012

Marketplace > Florida State University > PSY2012 > Psy2012 Week 4 of notes
Lauren Carstens
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We finished chapter 8 and chapter 3 this week.
Melissa Shepard
Class Notes
Psychology, week 4, Chapter 8, chapter 3, brain, nature/nurture
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This 13 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lauren Carstens on Friday February 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSY2012 at Florida State University taught by Melissa Shepard in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views.


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Date Created: 02/05/16
Psychology Chapter 8: Language, Thinking and Reasoning Language  Arbitrary System of communication that combines symbols, such as words or gestural signs, in rule based ways to create meaning  Allows for communication of information, as well as social and emotional functions o Allows us to relate to other people, express how we relate to people and build interpersonal relationships Features of Language  Highly practiced and automatic process o We usually take it for granted because it requires little thought  Four levels of analysis that must coordinate with one another o 1. Phonemes o 2. Morphemes o 3. Syntax o 4. Extra-linguistic Information Phonemes  Categories of sounds our vocal apparatus produces o Ex: “Tah” “The” and “Sh”  Probably around 100 total (each language only uses a subset) o English contains about 40-45 phonemes o Languages with more have less redundant phonemes and languages with less phonemes have more redundant phonemes in their language o Different languages use difference phonemes  Each language uses a subset of phonemes  Auditory perception differs among adults who speak different languages  New language learning often requires parsing auditory information differently  You have to start making distinctions between phonemes when your primary language doesn’t have those phonemes Morphemes  Smallest unit of meaning in a language  Created by stringing together phonemes  Conveys information about semantics – meaning derived from words and sentences  Some words contain one morpheme and some words contain multiple morphemes o Full words: “cat” o Modifiers: “un”, “s”  These contain meaning so they are their own morpheme  “Cats” contains 2 morphemes  “Unreal” 2 morphemes because “un” and “real” have the simplest meaning  “I crossed the river” 5 morphemes o Not syllables; individual syllables don’t contain meaning Syntax  Set of rules of a language by which we construct sentences  Rules that tell us how to order words  Morphological Markers: grammatical elements that modify words to change meaning o Part of syntax because they are added to the words and are all different o “s”, “ing”, “ed”  Follows an idealized form of language (having perfect language skills) Extra-linguistic Information  Elements of communication that aren’t part of the content of language but are critical to interpreting its meaning  Ex: Facial expressions, body language, tone of voice  People can say the same sentences with different meanings, but they can only be understood because of the extra-linguistic information  Used to help interpret ambiguous information Language Development  Stage 1: Babbling Stage o Begins at around 3-4 months in age o Intentional vocalization of noises  Crying, laughing, burping don’t count o Infants spontaneously utter random sounds o Not initially an imitation of adult speech  However, by about 10 months, phonemes approximate phonemes used by caregivers (They are babbling in phonemes that they are hearing)  Stage 2: One-Word Stage o Babies start to produce one word o From about the age of 1-2 years old o Move from being receptive to language to actually producing language o Speech is mostly in single words o Can comprehend much more than they can produce at this time  At about 2 years old, the gap between what they can comprehend and what they can produce lessens because they start speaking more  Stage 3: Two-Word Stage o Babies can produce around 2 words o Usually when they are approaching age 2 o Their two word statements usually contain a noun and a verb or a noun and an adjective  “Want milk,” “Big dog” o Telegraphic Speech: resembles the short messages once sent by telegram (“go car”)  Omits “auxiliary words” o After a few months of being in this stage, babies start to make 3 or 4 word sentences and use morphological markers Critical periods for language learning?  Is there a specific time period that is critical for learning a language and, if kids miss that time, will they always have a hard time learning a language?  Current findings are inconclusive: o Hard to study this because its unethical to just not let a child be exposed to and learn language o Studies with deaf children (ex: cochlear implants)  Kids who receive the implant sooner in life will learn a language better o Cases involving late exposure to language (Cases because there are very few people in this category)  Ex: Girl who was abused and chained to a toilet for 13 years  Some conclusions drawn from studies of second language learning, but is this really the same? o No, because you already know the basic structure of language and basic understanding of how language works o It’s descriptively true that age of acquisition is the best predictor of whether we achieve fluency  Younger children learn new languages better and easier than older adults  Children have less cognitive mechanisms  Children learn vocabulary and then focus on grammar  Adults will do both or focus more on syntax and grammar first  Interactive influence of nature and nurture on learning language o There is not a strict critical period (a strict time for people to learn languages and, if they miss it, they can’t learn a language) for language development in humans, but a sensitive period (a period in which it is easier for people to learn languages) Language Comprehension  Factors that effect language comprehension o Negatives (double negatives are confusing) o Passives (John planted a tree vs. A tree was planted by John) o Nested Structures (When you stick a descriptive clause in the middle of a sentence [difficult to understand because you are splitting the subject and the predicate apart with a whole other clause]) o Ambiguity  “Children make nutritious snacks”  Does this mean children make good decisions by choosing healthy snacks or that, when adults are hungry, they should eat children?  Punctuation is crucial for this (Let’s eat, Grandpa vs Lets eat Grandpa)  There is no punctuation in spoken language so these sentences can be confusing Theoretical Accounts of Language Acquisition  Why babies have such a great ability to learn language: o Imitation explanation  Learn through observing others  Unlikely to tell the whole story because language is a system that allows us to make new sentences that have never been uttered o Nativist Explanation  Born with a basic knowledge about language  This can’t really be disproven (not falsifiable) o Social Pragmatists  Children use context of the conversation to infer topics from actions and other behaviors  Infer language from context o General Cognitive Processing Account  Skills that children apply across activities  The skills that they learn from other activities, such as with patterns, help with learning language Language and Thought  Linguistic determinism: View that all thought is represented verbally and that, as a result, our language defines our thinking o Most of the evidence with this view is pretty inconclusive  Linguistic relativity: View that characteristics of language shape our thought processes o Example of Russians: Russians that move to the U.S. will have a better memory of Russian events while speaking Russian and a better memory of American events while speaking in English Learning to Read  Reading becomes a very automatic process (like talking)  We learn four things prior to learning how to read o 1. Writing is meaningful (it’s more than just scribble) o 2. Writing moves in a specific direction (Left to right in English, top to bottom in Japanese) o 3. Recognizing the letters of the alphabet (Distinguishing an ‘N’ from an ‘M’) o 4. Printed letters correspond to specific sounds (The relationship between letters and sounds)  Once those are learned, we must master two more skills to become experts o 1. How whole words look on the page (whole word recognition) o 2. How to sound out unfamiliar words (phonetic decomposition)  Figuring out the difference between printed letters and sounds  Difficult because some sounds are not linked to unique letters  Easy to think you taught yourself how to read a word and then finding out that you’ve been saying it wrong  Is Reading Automatic? o Context helps us understand ambiguous words. o If words are completely ambiguous, people will end up saying a word with incorrect pronunciation Thinking and Reasoning Thinking: any mental activity or processing of information  Includes fundamental aspects of cognition, such as learning, remembering, perceiving, communicating, believing and deciding Problem Solving  Generating a cognitive strategy to accomplish a specific goal  To solve problems, we rely on a step by step procedure called algorithms (cake recipes)  We rely on algorithms to solve problems o Comes in handy for problems that require the same procedure for every time the action is done  If algorithms don’t work, try breaking a problem down into easier sub- problems to help solve the problem o If looking for a graduate school, break it down to what programs you’re interested in and what location you want to stay in and what price you’re willing to pay o You can also search for alternate solutions to certain steps if you can not complete them exactly as the algorithm tells you to  Attempt to draw an analogy between current and past problems Obstacles to Problem Solving 1. Salience of surface similarities a. Try to solve problems in a way that we solved similar situations i. Ex: If you spill water in your car, you can wipe it up with just a towel. If you spill milk, just using a towel won’t completely solve the problem b. Focusing on how similar a problem is to another problem may inhibit your ability to solve the problem in the best manner 2. Mental sets a. If we find a solution that is dependable, we may have trouble finding alternate solutions or thinking outside of the box. b. Ex: If you are used to fitting all of your Christmas decorations into one box and then you buy new decorations that no longer fit into the box, you need to find a new solution. 3. Functional fixedness a. Difficulty picturing an object typically used for one purpose and how it can be used for another purpose b. Ex: Mounting a candle on a wall with only a candle, a book of matches and a box of tacks i. Forces us to use conventional objects in unconventional ways which is difficult for most people to picture Psychology Chapter 3: Biological Psychology The Nervous System: Structure & Function  Central Nervous System (CNS) o The brain and spinal cord o Controls mind and behavior  Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) o The sensory and motor neurons that connect the CNS to the rest of the body o Connected to the PNS o Contains nerves in the body that extend outside of the nervous system  Ex: Sensory Receptors (touch, taste, etc), muscles, glands o Consists of all nerves in the body outside the brain and spinal cord o Two components  Somatic Nervous System  Part of the PNS, interacts with the external environment  Contains nerves that connect the CNS to sensory organs  Sends signals from the sense organs (eyes, ears, tongue, etc.) and skin to the CNS o Smelling and hearing about French fries at a fair  Sends signals from the CNS to the skeletal muscles, directing voluntary movements o Walking over to the stand and swiping your card to buy the fries  Autonomic Nervous System  Regulation of internal environment  Connects the CNS to the smooth involuntary muscles and organs (heart, stomach, liver) and to the body’s hormone-producing glands  Two Components o Sympathetic Nervous System  Triggers “fight or flight response”  Heart and breathing rate increases, pupils dilate, digestion stops (to focus on fighting or fleeing), adrenaline flows, etc o Parasympathetic Nervous System  Returns the body to a stable state of equilibrium after using the sympathetic nervous system  Our body is conserving and maintaining our energy use  Reverses the effects of the Sympathetic Nervous System (Breathing returns to normal, digestion begins again, body calms down after using a lot of energy)  “Rest and Digest” The Brain  Does a larger brain mean a smarter brain? o Human brain vs. Elephant brain (Elephants have a greater capacity for intelligent thought, but aren’t smarter) Localization of Function: The Human Brain  Hindbrain (includes the Medulla and the Pons) o Connects the spinal cord to the brain o Medulla regulates breathing, heart beat and other vital functions o Pons connects the cortex to the cerebellum  Motor coordination  Triggers dreams  Cerebellum o Coordinates voluntary movements and balance o Allows for certain types of associative learning (making connections and realizing things are associated to each other) o Modulation of emotions  Proven with tests on damaged cerebellums  Secondary or tertiary responsibility, not primary o Discrimination of sounds and textures  Thalamus o Sits in top of the brainstem o Brain’s “Sensory Switchboard” o Receives sensory input (except smell) and sends info to specialized regions of the brain  Limbic System o Hypothalamus  Regulates the body’s internal environment (homeostasis)  Regulates the Autonomic Nervous System  Releases certain hormones in the body when necessary to regulate homeostasis  Regulates some emotions (anger & fear) and drives (hunger, thirst and sexuality)  Remember the hypothalamus with the 4 F’s  Fighting, Fleeing, Feeding and sex  If the hypothalamus was damaged, these drives would be almost gone (no drive to eat or fight/flee) o Amygdala  Tied to emotions (aggression and fear)  Important in the formation of emotional memories o Hippocampus  Important functions in storing and retrieving declarative memories  Differentiate between declarative memories (explicit memories) and procedural memories  Declarative memories: Facts and knowledge o Episodic Memory: Memories of experiences and past events o Semantic Memory: Factual information  Procedural Memory: Unconscious memories such as skills  Crucial in spacial memory (physical lay out of environment; mental maps)  Damage to the hippocampus damages your ability to form memories, but does not touch past memories  H.M.  Had hippocampus removed and then was unable to remember new facts and events (Procedural memory was in tact) o Cerebral Cortex  Outermost covering of the brain  Big wrinkly outside of the brain o It’s wrinkled to maximize space to fit neurons and maximize brain power!  80% of brains mass  Divided into 2 hemispheres (left and right)  Hemispheres are connected by the corpus callosum  Each hemisphere is divided into 4 lobes, separated by fissures o Frontal lobe: makes humans unique (personality) by helping us make plans and judgments; helping us speak and helping with muscle movement  Oversees and organizes all other brain functions o Parietal lobe: Registers and processes body sensations  Touch and perception (Reaching, grasping, moving eyes) o Occipital lobe: Contains visual context  Processes visual information  Animals who don’t rely heavily on visual cues have smaller occipital lobes o Temporal lobe: primary sight for hearing, understanding meanings and storing past memories  Processes auditory info and speech Brain-Mapping Methods  There have been many advances recently that allow scientists to better map brain activity  Actively “manipulating the brain” o Electrical stimulation: assume what the person does after the simulation is a function related to the part of the brain that you are simulating o Lesion studies: Surgically destroying parts of the brain to determine the results  Usually done on animals unless a part of the brain is causing tumors and needs to be removed o Electroencephalograph (EEG)  Measures electrical activity via electrodes placed on the skull  Can tell which regions of the brain are active during specific tasks  Ex: If someone has a seizure, they look at what area of the brain caused it  Tells us little about what’s happening inside neurons so we can’t really determine where exactly in the brain the activity is occurring o Brain Scans  Allows us to “see” the brain  CT and MRI scans: allows us to visualize the structure of the brain from person to person o Does not show brain activity  PET scans: Shows changes in brain activity due to stimuli  fMRI studies: use blood oxygenation levels to visualize brain activity over brief time intervals o Magnetic Simulation and recording  Transcranial Magnetic Simulation (TMS)  Applies strong and quickly changing magnetic fields to the surface of the skull that can either enhance or interrupt brain function o Allows causal determination of functioning  Magnetoencephalography (MEG)  Measures tiny magnetic fields generated by the brain  If you interrupt brain function and a certain behavior stops, you know it was that area of the brain needed for that particular function Nature vs. Nurture  Are people’s differences due to genetics or their learning environments? (Why do we act the way we do?)  Is the variability caused by Nature (genes) or Nurture (environment)? o Not just one  They both contribute so the new question is how much do each contribute?  Nature’s Contribution o Genotype: Our genetic makeup that has been transferred by our parents  Some genes are dominant and some are recessive so you can not always outwardly see them o Phenotype: Our set of observable characteristics that do not come from genes (intelligence) o The biology of the brain has a lot to do with emotions and behavior  Our behaviors are more complex than other animals  Ex: If you have high cortisol levels (stress hormone), you will be more likely to experience anxiety  Ex: If you have low serotonin levels, you will be more likely to experience depression  Biology has an influence on psychological disorders  Amygdala is the emotional center of the brain so, when it is dysfunctional, the way you experience and show emotions is effected  Ex: Not experiencing fear or aggression anymore  Nurture’s Contribution o Nurture: concerns how our experience (environment) affects behavior  Ex: Parental or peers  Parents provide our genes, but are also part of our environment  Parenting styles affect self-confidence and social competence  Parents can influence: o Political attitudes o Religious beliefs o Personal manners  Surprisingly, in terms of personality matters, siblings are, on average, as different as two random people even though they share the same home environment  Peers  Learning to interact, cooperate and balance issues of social status among people of the same age  Peers have a bigger influence on food preferences than parents  Nature and Nurture can interact and affect each other Behavioral Genetics  Studies the relative impact of nature and nurture on psychological traits  Estimates heritability (percentage of the variability in a trait across individuals that is due to genes) o Some traits are highly heritable (height) and some are not (political beliefs) o Heritability refers to populations, not any individual person o Does not give any information about fate  Ex: When plants die, they’re all the same height but that has nothing to do with genetics Nature Affects Nurture  Baby’s personalities are referred to as thier temperament o Their temperament is affected by their genes, but also environment  How people interact with them can influence how they act in the future  Nurture can affect the brain (our biology) o Study looking at the ratio of the cortex in different rat’s brains  The rats living in an “impoverished environment” had smaller brain cells.  The rats living in an “enriched environment” had larger brain cells. Twin Studies  Identical twins share 100% of their DNA  Fraternal twins share 50% of their DNA o  With twins, we can study how any differences in environment would effect genes  Study done on two sets of twins who are raised in the same environment  While both twins are being raised in the same environment, if the identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins in relation to a specific trait, genes ARE important  Another study done with twins and adoption  Same genes, different environment  If the twins that are not sharing the same environment are less similar regarding a specific trait than the twins that are raised together, environment IS important as well. True or False?  Heredity, not environment, affects IQ scores  False o Our environment affects IQ as well as our genes


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