PSYCHOLOGY: Chapters 11 & 13-2 - Thinking, Intelligence and Language
* Bold print denotes a term not in the text.
Language and thought: We organize thought by language.
Therefore, increasing your vocabulary will
allow you to process more information.
Sidney Sugarman quote: “Teach the young people how to think,
not what to think.”
- meaning: Give people the skills to make decisions for
Thinking: changing and reorganizing the information stored in memory to create new information.
4 units of thought: image, symbol, concept, and rule.
Image: a visual, mental representation of a specific event or object.
- 2 points on images:
1.) The representation is not usually an exact copy; rather, it
contains only the highlights of the original.
2.) Imaging is an effective way to think about concepts.
- Shepard and Metzler, (1971): researchers
* experiment: presented participants with 1,600 pairs of
geometric images (see Figure 11.1). The
researchers then asked the participants to
determine if the objects in each pair were
identical or different.
* conclusion: The researchers discovered that the
participants completed the task by rotating an
image of one of the objects in their minds in
an effort to see both patterns from the same
Symbol: an abstract unit of thought that represents an object or
- most common example: words
- how symbols differ from images: An image represents a
specific sight or sound, but a symbol may have a
number of meanings.
* 3 points:
1.) That symbols differ from the things they represent
enables us to think about things that are not
2.) Allow us to consider the past and future.
3.) Allow us to imagine things and situations that never
will be or never were.
- 4 examples familiar symbols of ideas that have no concrete
existence: Numbers, letters, punctuation marks, and icons
Concept: a label for a class of objects or events that have at least one attribute in common.
- 4 examples: Animals, music, liquid, and beautiful people
- 3 points:
1.) Concepts enable us to chunk large amounts of
2.) We do not have to treat every new piece of information
as unique, since we already know something about the
class of objects or experiences to which the new item
3.) Concepts are stored in memory using complex
Prototype: a representative example of a concept
- Theory of Prototypes: we understand a word by knowing
features of it prototype and recognizing that it may only have
a subset of features of its prototype.
Example: A dog may not bark, may not have a tail or fur,
but it's still a dog.
Rule: a statement of relation between concepts.
- 2 examples: A person cannot be in two places at the same time.
Mass remains constant despite changes in
4 points on the units of thought:
1.) Images, symbols, concepts, prototypes, and rules are the
building blocks of mental activity.
2.) They provide an economical and efficient way for people to
3.) They make it easier to manipulate and reorganize reality.
4.) We use them to devise new ways of acting.
3 kinds of thinking:
1.) directed thinking
2.) nondirected thinking
- directed thinking: is a systematic and logical attempt to reach
a specific goal.
* convergent thinking: a way of thinking that depends
heavily on symbols, concepts, and
* 4 points:
1.) This kind of thinking, also called convergent thinking.
2.) It depends on symbols, concepts, and rules.
3.) Directed thinking is deliberate and purposeful.
4.) It is through directed thinking that we solve
problems; formulate and follow rules; and set, work
toward, and achieve goals.
- nondirected thinking: a way of thinking that consists of a free
flow of thoughts with no particular plan
and depends more on images.
* divergent thinking: Another name for nondirected
* 5 points:
1.) Depends more on images
2.) is usually rich with imagery and feelings such as
daydreams, fantasies, and reveries.
3.) People often engage in nondirected thought when
they are relaxing or escaping from boredom or
4.) This kind of thinking may provide unexpected
insights into one’s goals and beliefs.
5.) Scientists and artists say that some of their best
ideas emerge from drifting thoughts that occur
when they have set aside a problem for the moment.
- metacognition: the awareness of one’s own cognitive processes.
Thinking about thinking - Evaluating a strategy.
Bloom's Taxonomy Handout
Benjamin Bloom created this taxonomy for categorizing level of abstraction of questions that commonly occur in educational settings. The taxonomy provides a useful structure in which to categorize test questions, since professors will characteristically ask questions within particular levels, and if you can determine the levels of questions that will appear on your exams, you will be able to study using appropriate strategies.
** You can apply Bloom's Taxonomy to more than just test-taking. It relates directly to one's life.
Problem-solving: to bridge the gap mentally between a present
situation and a desired goal. Depends on the use of
strategies, or specific methods for approaching
- examples: hunger and getting food
a column of figures and a total
a lack of money and bills to pay
cancer and a cure.
- strategies: specific methods for approaching problems.
* 4 examples:
1.) Break down a complex problem into a number of
smaller, more easily solved subgoals.
* Subgoals: intermediate steps toward a solution.
2.) Work backward from the goal you have set.
3.) Examine various ways of reaching a desired goal.
4.) Analyze the problem to see if it resembles a
situation we have experienced in the past. A
strategy that worked in the past is likely to work
* if a problem is very unusual: the more difficult it is to
devise a strategy for dealing with it.
Algorithms: a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem.
- 2 examples: Mathematical and scientific formulas
- problem with: They are a time-consuming.
Heuristics: a rule-of-thumb problem-solving strategy.
- 3 types:
* Availability heuristics: the tendency to rely on information
that is more prominent or easily
recalled and overlook information
that is available but less
+ example: In the news, we see people winning the
lottery all the time and overestimate our
chances at winning it also.
* Representativeness heuristics: the tendency to assume
that if an item is similar to members of
a particular category, it is probably a
member of that category, too.
+ example: I have flipped a coin 10 times and it has
landed on tails every time. The odds are it
will land on heads this time.
(The odds are 50–50, as they are for each
* Anchoring heuristics: the tendency to make decisions
based on certain ideas, or
standards, that are important to us.
+ example: In my family, everyone gets up by 8:00 A.M.
every day, including weekends. I believe
that only lazy people sleep past 8:00 A.M.
(I formed a judgment about other people
based on a standard in my family.)
- 2 problems:
1.) Although heuristics are faster than algorithms, they
are not always as reliable.
2.) Although heuristics allow us to make quick decisions,
they can result in bad decisions because we make
the decisions using shortcuts and sometimes ignore
3.) Apathy: Failure to care, or try.
4.) Mental set: When a particular strategy becomes a habit.
5.) Rigidity: when a set interferes with problem solving
* 3 types:
6.) Functional fixedness:
7.) False assumptions
8.) Most people look for direct methods of solving
problems and do not see solutions that require
several intermediate steps
* 2 ways to overcome:
1.) Rigidity can be overcome if the person realizes that
his or her strategy is not working.
2.) The person looks for other ways to approach the
problem. (Analyzing situations from many
* Familiar situations: The more familiar the situation, the
more difficult this will be.
* When rigidity is less likely: Rigidity is less likely to occur
with unusual problems.
* Major reason for rigidity: Many individuals are trained,
through formal education, to
think of only one way to do
1.) All problem-solving requires some creativity.
2.) Psychologists do not know exactly why some people are
able to think more creatively than others.
- 3 main characteristics: Flexibility, recombination, and insight.
^ tests for: In one test, psychologists ask people how
many uses they can imagine for a single
object, such as a brick or a paper clip.
The more uses a person can devise, the
more flexible he or she is said to be.
^ major point: inflexible, rigid thinking leads to
unoriginal solutions or no solutions at all.
* recombination: rearranging the elements of a problem to
arrive at an original solution
^ 2 points:
1.) Recombination seems to be a vital part of
2.) The creative person is able to take the
information that he or she and others have
compiled and put it together in a totally new
^ Newton’s quote: “If I have seen further, it is by
standing on the shoulders of
+ meaning: He didn't create anything new - he
just built upon what was already.
* insight: the apparent sudden realization of the solution to
^ when it occurs: when problems have proved resistant
to all problem-solving efforts and
^ where it occurs: When the person is absorbed in
some other activity, the answer
seems to appear out of nowhere.
^ as the “aha experience”: another name for insight.
- cycle of frustration:
problem frustration temporary diversion = insight.
* Wolfgang Kohler, (1976): He had monkeys in a cage with three
boxes in the cage, and a bunch of bananas hanging just
outside their reach. Monkeys tried various ways to
reach the bananas on their own, but finally stacked the
boxes on top of each other and then could reach out to
grab the bananas. Perfect example of insight used in
Intelligence: the ability to acquire new ideas and new behavior, and to
adapt to new situations.
- 2 points:
1.) Most psychologists believe that intelligence is the ability
to acquire new ideas and new behavior, and to adapt to
2.) Others believe that intelligence is what allows you to do
well on intelligence tests and in school.
Charles Spearman: British psychologist who proposed the two-factor theory of intelligence.
- date: 1904
- Two-factor theory: proposes that two factors contribute to an
* factor g: represents a person’s general intelligence - a
person’s ability to perform complex mental work,
such as problem solving.
* factor s: represents a person’s specific mental abilities,
such as verbal or math skills.
- belief about intelligence: Spearman believed that every
individual had a certain level of
- 2 points critics make:
1.) Critics argue that g does not measure many other kinds
of mental abilities such as motor, musical, or creative
2.) They also argue that intelligence cannot be reduced to
just g and expressed by a single IQ score.
L.L. Thurston: Psychologist who was a major opponent of Spearman's theory, and proposed the Seven Primary Mental Abilities model.
- date: 1938
- Thurston's 3 points: He --
1.) Concluded that there was no evidence for the general
intelligence that Spearman had identified.
2.) Proposed that intelligence is composed of seven
primary mental abilities.
3.) Believed that a person’s intelligence needed to be a
measurement of all seven mental abilities and not just a
measurement of one factor.
* 7 primary mental abilities:
1.) Verbal comprehension: The ability to understand
the meaning of words,
concepts, and ideas.
2.) Numerical ability: The ability to use numbers
quickly to compute answers to
3.) Spatial relations: The ability to visualize and
manipulate patterns and forms in
4.) Perceptual speed: The ability to grasp perceptual
details quickly and accurately and
to determine similarities and
differences between stimuli.
5.) Word fluency: The ability to use words quickly and
fluently in performing such tasks as
rhyming, solving anagrams, and doing
6.) Memory: The ability to recall information such as
lists of words, mathematical formulas,
7.) Inductive reasoning: The ability to derive general
rules and principles from
Howard Gardner: Harvard University professor who rejected the
traditional idea of intelligence as primarily the
ability to think logically.
- dates: 1983, 1999
- 4 points:
1.) He believes the traditional idea of intelligence is
inadequate because it omits many important skills.
2.) He argues for a broader perspective that includes eight
types of intelligence
3.) His research on the results of brain disease convinced
him that humans possess these eight different and often
unrelated intellectual capacities, or intelligences.
4.) He also argues that the biological organization of the
brain affects one’s strength in each of the eight areas.
- Frames of Mind: Gardner's 1983 book which asserted the
existence of at least seven intelligences:
linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial,
bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal
He now believes there may be as many as
nine types of intelligence.
- 8 (or 9) types of intelligence:
^ Linguistic/verbal: the ability to utilize language.
^ Logical/mathematical: the ability to process and compute
problems and equations.
^ Spatial: the ability to comprehend shapes and images in
three dimensions, or the ability to find your way
around an environment and to form mental images
^ Musical: the ability to create and perceive pitch, rhythm
patterns, and the ability to perform and compose
^ Body/Kinesthetic: the ability to perceive and control
movement, balance, agility, and grace.
^ Interpersonal: the ability to interact with and understand
others and to interpret their behavior.
^ Intrapersonal: the ability to understand and sense
^ Naturalist: a person’s ability to identify and classify
patterns in nature.
^ Existential: the ability to understand the experience of
- 2 points of critics:
1.) Argue that some of what Gardner called “intelligence”
are really skills.
2.) Claim that intelligence and talent (or skill) are two
Multiple Intelligences Handout
- 3 characteristics of human intelligence:
1.) A set of skills the enable a person to resolve genuine
problems encountered in life.
2.) The ability to create an effective product or offer a
service that is valued in a culture.
3.) The potential for recognizing or creating problems,
thereby establishing the necessity for the new
- 5 more points on MI:
1.) All human beings possess all nine intelligences in
2.) Each person has a different intellectual composition.
3.) We can improve education by addressing the multiple
intelligences of our students.
4.) These intelligences are located in different areas of
the brain and can either work independently or
5.) These intelligences may define the human species.
- 12 principles of MI (by J. Keith Rogers):
1.) Intelligence is not singular: intelligences are multiple.
2.) Every person is a unique blend of dynamic intelligences.
3.) Intelligences vary in development, both within and among
4.) All intelligences are dynamic.
5.) Multiple intelligences can be identified and described.
6.) Every person deserves opportunities to recognize and develop
the multiplicity of intelligences.
7.) The use of one of the intelligences can be used to enhance
8.) Personal background density and dispersion are critical to
knowledge, beliefs, and skills in all intelligences.
9.) All intelligences provide alternate resources and potential
capacities to become more human, regardless of age or
10.) A pure intelligence is rarely seen.
11.) Developmental theory applies to the theory of multiple
12.) Any list of intelligences is subject to change as we learn
more about multiple intelligences.
Robert Sternberg: proposed a triarchic theory of intelligence.
- date: 1985
- Triarchic Theory: proposes that intelligence can be divided into
three ways of processing information.
* basis for division: on the idea that there are three main
ways of processing information.
* Analytic thinking: the ability to solve problems. These are
the type of skills which are traditionally
measured on intelligence tests.
* Creative thinking: applying creative thinking to solving
problems and dealing with new
* Practical thinking: using practical thinking skills to help
adjust to and cope with one’s
- what Sternberg stresses: He stresses the point that
traditional intelligence tests do not measure and
assess intelligences found in everyday life.
- problem with his theory: Like Gardner’s theory, though,
Sternberg’s theory makes it difficult to measure
intelligence, at least with traditional types of
ü Reasons logically and well
ü Identifies connections among ideas
ü Sees all aspects of a problem
ü Keeps an open mind and responds thoughtfully to others' ideas
ü Sizes up situations well
ü Gets to the heart of problems
ü Interprets information accurately
ü Makes good decisions
ü Goes to original sources for basic information
ü Poses problems in an optimal way
ü Is a good source of ideas
ü Perceives implied assumptions and conclusions
ü Deals with problems resourcefully
ü Speaks clearly and articulately and is verbally fluent
ü Converses well
ü Is knowledgeable about a particular area of subject matter
ü Studies hard
ü Reads widely with high comprehension
ü Writes without difficulty
ü Sets aside time for reading
ü Displays good vocabulary
ü Accepts others for what they are
ü Admits mistakes
ü Displays interest in the world at large
ü Is on time for appointments
ü Has social conscience
ü Thinks before speaking and doing
ü Makes fair judgments
ü Assesses well the relevance of information to a problem at hand
ü Is sensitive to other people's needs and desires
ü Displays interest in the immediate environment
Sternberg's Beliefs about Why Intelligent People Fail
Ø Distractibility and lack of concentration
Ø Spreading oneself too thin or too thick
Ø Inability or unwillingness to see the forest for the trees
Ø Lack of balance between critical, analytic thinking and creative, synthetic thinking
Ø Using the wrong abilities
Ø Misattribution of blame
Ø Fear of failure
Ø Excessive self-pity
Ø Excessive dependency
Ø Wallowing in personal difficulties
Ø Too little or too much self-confidence
Ø Failure to initiate
Ø Lack of motivation
Ø Lack of perseverance and preservation
Ø Inability to complete tasks and to follow through
Ø Lack of impulse control
Ø Inability to translate thought into action
Ø Lack of product orientation
Ø Inability to delay gratification
Emotional intelligence: includes four major aspects of interpersonal
and intrapersonal intelligences.
- Mayer and Salovev, 1997: discovered the four major aspects of
* 4 major aspects:
1.) The ability to perceive and express emotions
accurately and appropriately.
2.) The ability to use emotions while thinking.
3.) The ability to understand emotions and use the
4.) The ability to regulate one’s emotions to promote
- view of proponents: have linked emotional intelligence to
success in the workplace.
- view of critics: argue that emotional intelligence is simply a
measurement of extraversion.
- extravert: Being involved; outgoing. The preferred focus
is on people and things. Totally comfortable in
- introvert: Solitary; being alone. The preferred focus is on
thoughts and ideas. One who is introverted is
more likely to spend time alone or in
contemplation, as these activities are rewarding.
They may avoid social situations entirely, not
because of shyness, but because they choose to.
Chinese: used aptitude tests as civil service exams more than 4,000 years ago.
- aptitude: An inherent ability, as for learning; a talent. A
quickness in learning and understanding.
Sir Francis Galton: developed the first modern intelligence tests
- 2 places where his techniques were used (dates): at the
World Fair in Chicago (1883) and the International
Health Exhibition in London (1884).
- resemblance to modern tests: They do not resemble the
tests used today.
- 4 things his test included: It measured muscle strength,
the size of people’s heads, reaction time, and
- his conclusion: From his tests, he proposed that intelligence
was completely inherited.
Alfred Binet: the French psychologist who worked to develop a useful
- partner: Theodore Simon
- date: 1904
- reason for test development: Binet was asked by the Paris
school authorities to devise a means of picking out
“slow learners” so they could be placed in special
classes from which they might better profit
- 5 points:
1.) Binet was unable to define intelligence, but he believed it
2.) He thought intelligence was reflected in the things
children do—making common-sense judgments, telling
the meanings of words, and solving problems and puzzles.
3.) Binet also assumed that whatever intelligence was, it
increased with age. That is, older children had more
intelligence than younger children.
4.) By asking the same questions of many children, Binet
determined the average age at which a particular
question could be answered.
* see example on page 352
5.) A slow learner was one who had a mental age that was
less than his or her chronological age.
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: a standardized test that assesses
intelligence and cognitive abilities
in children and adults aged two to
- 4 points:
1.) The Stanford-Binet, like the original test, groups test
items by age level.
2.) To stimulate and maintain the child’s interest, several
tasks are included, ranging from defining words to
drawing pictures and explaining events in daily life.
3.) Children are tested one at a time.
4.) Examiners must carry out standardized instructions
while putting the child at ease, getting him to pay
attention, and encouraging him to try as hard as he can
- Intelligence quotient (I.Q.): standardized measure of
intelligence based on a scale in
which 100 is average.
- mental age: the average age of those who also received the
same score as that individual.
- chronological age: actual age
- formula for scoring: dividing a child’s mental age by the
chronological age and multiplying by 100.
IQ = __mental age X 100
- a score of 100: average performance at any given age.
* example: So an 8-year-old child who scored at the mental
age of 8 would have an IQ of 100.
* 3 points:
1.) Researchers assign a score of 100 to the average
performance at any given age.
2.) If you have an IQ of 100, for example, this means
that 50 percent of the test takers who are your age
performed worse than you.
3.) In addition, test scores for several abilities are now
reported instead of one general score.
* This test is no longer widely used.
Otis-Lennon Ability Test: This test seeks to measure the cognitive
abilities that are related to a student’s
ability to learn and succeed in school.
- 2 things it assesses: verbal and nonverbal reasoning abilities
Wechsler Intelligence Tests: The most frequently used IQ tests
which yield percentile scores in several areas. Then these
ratings are used to compute separate IQ scores for verbal
and performance abilities. This type of scoring provides a
more detailed picture of the individual’s strengths and
weaknesses than a single score does.
- WAIS-R: Wechsler-Adult Intelligence Scale
* ages: 17+ years old
- WISC III: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
* ages: 6-16 years old
- WPPSI-R: Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of
* ages: 4-6 1/2 years old
- 4 areas of scores: vocabulary, information, arithmetic, and
** These separate ratings are used to compute separate IQ
scores for verbal and performance abilities.
* why important?: This type of scoring provides a more
detailed picture of the individual’s
strengths and weaknesses than a single
- % of people who score between 70-130: 95%
* "normal" IQ: 85-115 (50% of people score between 90-110)
* gifted IQ: 115-179
^ Mildly Gifted IQ: 115 - 129
^ Moderately Gifted IQ: 130 - 144
^ Highly Gifted IQ: 145 - 159
* genius IQ: 160-200
^ Exceptionally Gifted IQ: 160 - 179
^ Profoundly Gifted IQ: 180+
^ MENSA: Mensa was founded in England in 1946
by a scientist and lawyer. They had the
idea of forming a society for bright
people, the only qualification for
membership of which was a high IQ.
+ Aims: The aims are, to create a society that
is non-political and free from all racial
or religious distinctions.
+ membership: The society welcomes people
from every walk of life whose
IQ is in the top 2% of the
population, with the objective
of enjoying each other's
company and participating in a
wide range of social and cultural
+ numbers: Today there are some 100,000
Mensans in 100 countries throughout
the world. There are active Mensa
organizations in over 40 countries on
every continent except Antarctica
^ Einstein's IQ: about 160
- Scores of below 70: classify one as mentally handicapped. (Not
only must the person have a low IQ but
also difficulty adapting to the normal
demands of living independently. Only
about 1% of the population meet both
criteria, with male outnumbering females
* mildly handicapped (educable): 55-69
* moderately handicapped (trainable): 40-54
* severely handicapped: 25-39
* profoundly handicapped: below 25
6 points on I.Q. scores:
1.) IQ scores seem to be most useful when related to school
2.) They are quite accurate in predicting which people will do well
in schools, colleges, and universities.
3.) Critics of IQ testing do not question this predictive ability,
although they do wonder whether such tests actually measure
4.) Most psychologists agree that intelligence is the ability to
acquire new ideas and new behavior and to adapt to new
5.) Generally, IQ tests measure the ability to solve certain types
6.) An IQ score measures performance; it does not explain it.
Controversy over I.Q. testing: The debate around I.Q. testing center
on these three questions:
- Do I.Q. tests directly measure ability? (no)
- Do genetic differences or environmental inequalities cause
two people to receive different scores on intelligence
- Are I.Q. tests culturally biased?
Heritability: the degree to which a characteristic is related to
inherited genetic factors.
- increase of I.Q.: Researchers have found that as genetic
relationship increases, say, from parent and
child to identical twins, the similarity of I.Q.
Twin studies and I.Q.: The best way to study the effects of nature
and nurture is to study identical twins that have been
separated at birth and raised in different environments.
They have the same genetic make up, but their
environmental factors are not the same.
- Thomas Bouchard: Psychology researcher at the University of
Minnesota who studies twins. He is
considered of the leading authorities on
twins. He has performed numerous studies
comparing twins that were separated at
birth and placed in adoptive homes to see
the links between heredity and environment.
* University of Minnesota: It pays for his studies.
* studies he has conducted: more than 100 sets of twins
who were raised apart from one
* 2 points:
1.) Bouchard concluded that IQ is affected by genetic
factors—a conclusion supported by the discovery of
a specific gene for human intelligence (Plomin, 1997).
2.) Bouchard believes 70% of IQ variance can be
attributed to heredity, but others (Plomin et al.,
1994) found the hereditary estimate to be only 52%.
9 points on the effect of environment on I.Q.:
1.) Regarding environment, studies show that brothers and/or
sisters raised in the same environment are more likely to have
similar IQs than siblings raised apart. Environment,
therefore, does impact IQs.
2.) Some studies show that quality preschool programs help raise
I.Q.s initially, but the increase begins to fade after some
- Head Start: a federally funded preschool program
that exposes economically disadvantaged
youths to enriching experiences.
3.) Participating children are less likely to be in special education
4.) Participating children are less likely to be held back.
5.) Participating children are more likely to graduate from high
school than are children without such preschool experiences
(Zigler, Styfco, & Gilman, 1993).
6.) Each year of school missed may drop a person’s IQ as much as
5 points. (Ceci, 1991)
7.) The richness of the home environment affects I.Q.
8.) The quality of food in the home all affects I.Q.
9.) The number of brothers and sisters in the family affects IQ.
- Zigler, Styfco and Gilman, 1993: Found that children
participating in preschool programs are more
likely to graduate from high school than are
children without such preschool experiences
Cultural Bias: an aspect of an intelligence test in which the wording
used in questions may be more familiar to people of one
social group than to another group – hence, allow the
favored group to score higher.
- reason some tests are biased: Psychologists admit that some
tests have been biased because they assess
accumulated knowledge, which is dependent
on a child’s environment and opportunities in
- Henry Goddard: Psychologist who set up a program in which
a staff administered psychological tests to
immigrants arriving at Ellis Island.
* his “experiment”: He gave very biased intelligence
tests to immigrants coming into the
U.S. in the early 1900's. They had
questions on them like: “What is
Crisco?” and “Who is Christy
Mathewson?” (a pitcher for the New
York Giants). Items a non-American
would never get correct.
* findings: In 1917, Goddard reported that 80 percent
of the Hungarians, 79 percent of the
Italians, and 87 percent of the Russians
tested were feebleminded.
* How Congress used this “scientific” evidence: Used to
support the restrictive immigration
laws of 1924.
- Law and cultural bias: There were two legal cases that
challenged the use of intelligence
tests on the basis of cultural bias.
* Larry P. v. Riles (1979) and P.A.S.E. v Hannon (1980):
In these cases parents of African American
children claimed that their children had been
placed in classes for the mentally retarded
based solely on culturally biased IQ tests.
^ findings: The judges in these two cases reached
opposite opinions. One found the tests
to be culturally biased, while the other
found the tests to be valid and
Adrian Dove: Psychologist who intentionally designed questions on the,
Dove Counterbalance Intelligence Test, to be culturally
biased. He wanted to prove that standard intelligence
tests lacked validity because of a pro-white cultural
- Dove Counterbalance Intelligence Test: This test was written
to make white people feel ignorant by asking them for
obscure general knowledge from the black experience
of the 50’s and 60’s. (The test involves some vicious
racial stereotyping,--craps, welfare, alcohol abuse.)
* what it stressed: It stressed that cultural background can
influence performance on an intelligence
* what group did he try to be biased against: Middle-class
E. D. Hirsch, Jr.: is the founder and chairman of the nonprofit
Core Knowledge Foundation and professor
emeritus of education and humanities at the
University of Virginia. In 1996, he wrote
Cultural Literacy and caused a huge stir in
American education. He is the leading voice in
what can best be described as the “back to
He argues that one of the keys to success is
an understanding of the predominant culture.
He called such knowledge cultural literacy.
- cultural literacy: includes common events and language
shared by members of the culture.
Cultural Literacy is about reading... in its
widest sense. It is about understanding the meaning
of words based on a background of common
knowledge that enables one to make sense of what
is read. It is a simple fact that the more one
reads, the more one can understand what is read,
the more enjoyable reading becomes and... the
more culturally literate one becomes.
- Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know:
His book which offered a list of facts, quotations
and information considered by Hirsch to be
essential knowledge for all Americans.
* eight subjects: science, politics, literature, art,
history, entertainment, sports, and
Most important activity: understanding and speaking a language.
Language: the expression of ideas through symbols and sounds that
are arranged according to rules.
- 4 points:
1.) Language is a system of communication that involves using
rules to make and combine symbols in ways that produce
meaningful words and sentences.
2.) Language lets us communicate facts and ideas.
3.) It allows us to tell each other about the past, present,
4.) We solve problems and make decisions based on learning
that is transmitted through language.
- 3 elements of language:
1.) phonemes (units of sound)
2.) morphemes (units of meaning)
3.) syntax (units of organization).
- semantics: The study of meaning. This is the most complex
aspect of language.
Phonemes: an individual sound that is a basic structural element of
- how represented: by a single letter (such as consonants like
t or vowels like e) or a combination of letters,
such as sh
- # of different recognizable sounds: We can produce about 100
different recognizable sounds.
* all of them: but not all sounds are used in all languages
* Babies: Babies have the ability to form all the sounds,
but as they learn their native language they
lose the ability to form sounds they no longer
- # of sounds in the English language: 43 sounds
- range in # of sounds used in other languages: 15-85
Morphemes: the smallest unit of meaning in a given language
- composed of: one or more phonemes.
- 4 things it can be: a word, a letter, a prefix, or a suffix.
- single morpheme examples: book, love, and reason
- double morpheme examples: loves, relearn, and walked
Difference between phonemes and morphemes: A phoneme is only
a sound; a morpheme has meaning.
Syntax: language rules that govern how words can be combined to
form meaningful phrases and sentences.
- language rules: In English we follow grammatical rules, such as
placing adjectives in front of nouns. Every
language has these rules, although the rules
differ from language to language.
Semantics: the study of meaning in language.
- 2 points on semantics:
1.) The same word can have several different meanings.
2.) One's knowledge of a word's meaning depends partly on
3 ideas on language development:
1.) Children learn language as a result of operant conditioning.
(Skinner & the Behaviorists)
2.) Children learn language through observation, exploration, and
imitation. (Social learning psychologists)
3.) Infants possess an innate capacity for language; that is,
children inherit a mental program that enables them to learn
B.F. Skinner: American behaviorist - the reinforcement guy. He believed that children learned language as a result of operant conditioning.
- how language development is rewarded: When children utter
sounds that are similar to adult speech patterns, their
behavior is reinforced through smiles and extra
attention; therefore, children repeat those sounds.
Eventually children learn to produce speech.
- 2 criticisms:
1.) Critics state that children understand language before
they speak—and before they receive any reinforcement.
2.) They also believe that children learn the rules of
language before they receive any feedback on speaking
Social learning advocates' idea on language development: Children
learn language through observation,
exploration, and imitation
- 3 points:
1.) Children use language to get attention, ask for help, or to
gain other forms of social contact.
2.) Parents can stimulate language acquisition by responding
to and encouraging language development.
3.) These psychologists believe that both innate and
environmental factors play a part in how a child learns
Noam Chomsky: see above.
- his belief about reinforcement and imitation: He believed that
reinforcement and imitation do contribute to
language development, he did not believe that all
the complex rules of language could be learned
- theory (1957): Chomsky theorized that infants possess an
innate capacity for language; that is, children
inherit a mental program that enables them to
- effect of culture on language: If Chomsky is right, then we
would expect that all children go through
similar stages of language development, no
matter what culture or language group they
Nature v. Nurture (heredity v. environment): The nurture
argument assumes that we learn language through
reinforcement. The nature argument assumes that the
capacity for language is inborn.
4 stages of language development:
2.) Uttering single words
3.) Putting words together to express ideas
4.) Forming complex, compound sentences
- Before true language development
* age range: birth to 4 months
* at birth: infants can cry and produce other sounds
* 2 months: Around 2 months of age, infants begin to coo.
^ cooing: Cooing refers to long, drawn-out sounds such
as oooh or eeeh.
- Stage 1: Babbling
* 4 months: the age infants reach the first stage of
language development .
^ babbling: Babbling includes sounds found in
all languages, such as dadada and bababa.
+ what infants learn: When babbling, infants learn
to control their vocal cords and to
make, change, repeat, and imitate
the sounds of their parents.
* 9 months: Infants refine their babbling to increasingly
include sounds that are part of their native
* deaf children: Whereas in children who can hear, babbling
is oral, deaf children babble by using hand
signals. They repeat the same hand
signals over and over again.
- Stage 2: Uttering single words:
* age range: 12-24 months
* 12 months: infants begin to utter single words.
* use of single words: They use these words to describe
familiar objects and people, such as
da-da or doggie.
- Stage 3: Putting words together to express ideas
* age range: end of second year
* what: Children place two words together to express an
idea. Children may say “Milk gone” to indicate that
the milk has spilled or “Me play” to mean “I want to
* rules of grammar: This stage indicates that the child is
beginning to learn the rules of grammar.
* vocabulary: The child’s vocabulary has expanded to about
50 to 100 words and continues to expand
- Stage 4: Forming complex, compound sentences
* age range: 2-3 years
* telegraphic speech: a pattern of speaking in which the
child leaves out articles such as the,
prepositions such as with, and parts of
* by age 5: language development is largely complete,
although vocabulary and sentence complexity
continue to develop.
Animals and language: Language involves more than just
communicating—it involves rules of grammar.
It involves combining words or phrases into
Although animals do not possess the ability to
use grammatical rules, they have been taught
to communicate with humans.
2 uses of language: to communicate their culture and express their
Benjamin Whorf (1956): argued that language affects our basic
perceptions of the physical world.
- linguistic relativity: refers to the idea that language influences
- Inuit example: Consider the word snow. Whorf estimated that the Inuit have
many words for snow (including separate words for damp snow,
falling snow, and melting snow) because their survival depends
upon traveling and living in snow. According to Whorf’s theory,
different terms for snow help the Inuit see the different types
of snow as different. On the other hand, Whorf claimed that
Americans have one word for snow.
- criticism: Critics have pointed out that Americans actually have
many words for snow.
Culture and language: It is difficult to separate culture from
language when studying the use of language and
the perceptions it influences.
Words and stereotypes: Some people argue that certain words in
language create gender stereotypes.
- stereotypes: a set of assumptions about people in a given
category, either positive or negative, often
based on half-truths and non-truths.
* examples: For example, a chairman may be a man or a
woman. The use of pronouns also affects our
thinking. Nurses, secretaries, and school
teachers are often referred to as she, while
doctors, engineers, and presidents are often
referred to as he.
* Institutional guidelines: Many organizations have
instituted guidelines for the use
of nonsexist language.