Thinking, Intelligence, and Language Chapter 8

Thinking, Intelligence, and Language
Chapter 8
AP Psychology
Alice F. Short
Hilliard Davidson High School
Chapter Overview
Cognitive Revolution in Psychology
Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Health and
The Cognitive Revolution
• cognition – how information is processed and
manipulated when remembering, thinking, and
• 1950s: psychology resumes focus on the mind
and mental processes
• computers: an analogy for the mind/brain
physical brain = hardware
cognition = software
artificial intelligence (AI)
computers: complex, fixed rules
humans: ambiguous information
The Computer
Cognitive Psychology
• cognitive psychology – approaches that
sought to explain observable behavior by
investigating mental processes and structures
that we cannot directly observe
problem solving
reasoning and decision making
thinking critically and creatively
Verbs to Explain Thinking:
• forming  solving deciding  reflecting
• concepts – mental categories used to group objects,
events, and characteristics
allow us to generalize
allow us to associate experiences and objects
aid in memory by making it for efficient
provide clues about how to react to a particular object
or experience
can cause problems when applied to people
basic component of thinking
• prototype model – all instances of a concept are
compared to a prototype (ideal example) of that
– use characteristic properties to create a representation for
each concept
Levi Hutchins, The Least Popular Man,
• Levi Hutchins:
– problem: wanted to wake up at 4
a.m. every day
– problem solving: invented alarm
– conclusion: Levi Hutchins = evil
• problem solving – the mental
process of finding an
appropriate way to attain a goal
when the goal is not readily
Steps in Problem Solving
1. Find and frame problem
2. Develop good problem-solving strategies
(subgoals, algorithms, heuristics)
3. Evaluate solutions
– criteria for success? (finishing paper, getting and A,
writing something worthy of publication…)
4. Rethink and redefine problems and solutions
over time
– Problem Solvers:
motivated to improve past performances
motivated to make original contributions
Problem Solving Strategies (Step 2)
• subgoals – intermediate goals or intermediate problems
that put us in a better position for reaching the final goal or
– working backwards
– Example: Planning different “dates” to have tasks completed
working on a paper.
• algorithms – strategies—including formulas, instructions,
and the testing of all possible solutions—that guarantee a
solution to a problem
– Examples: following a recipe, following directions driving
– Question: Is an algorithm always possible?
• heuristics – shortcut strategies or guidelines that suggest a
solution to a problem but do not guarantee an answer
– What letter do you need in Scrabble if you have a “Q”?
Problem Solving Obstacles
• fixation
– using a prior strategy only
– failing to find “fresh” perspective
• functional fixedness
– fixated on usual functions (trouble being creative and
finding other solutions for items)
– Maier String Problem (Figure 8.2-3, p. 246,
overcoming functional fixedness)
• thinking outside the box – exploring novel ways
of approaching tasks and challenges and finding
A SHORT Time to Ponder:
Thinking Outside the Box
• “Students who are used to succeeding in high
school by cramming for tests and relying on
parental pressure to get homework done may
find that in college these strategies are no
longer viable ways to success.”
• How could a student in this position “think
outside the box” to become a successful
college student?
• reasoning - mental activity of transforming
information to reach conclusions
– inductive reasoning
• driven by data; bottom-up; specific  general
– deductive reasoning “d = duh”
• driven by logic; top-down; general  specific
Reasoning and Decision Making
Decision Making
• evaluating alternatives and making choices
among them
• attempting to maximize outcome
Reasoning and Decision Making
• System I – automatic
– rapid, heuristic, intuitive
– more accurate in making quick complex decisions
• textbook example: looking at apartments
• System II – controlled
– slower, effortful, analytical
Decision-Making Biases
• Confirmation Bias
– search only for info that supports our ideas
• Hindsight Bias
– report falsely that we predicted an outcome
• Availability Heuristic
– predict probability based on ease of recall
• Base-Rate Fallacy
– ignore info about general principles
• Representativeness Heuristic
– make judgments based on stereotypes (jocks, etc.)
Critical Thinking
• critical thinking - thinking reflectively and
productively and evaluating the evidence
– mindfulness – alert and mentally present
– open-mindedness – receptive to new/other ways
of looking at things
Emotion and Cognition
• moods influence the way we think
• bad moods >> use careful logic to solve
• good moods >> efficiency, originality,
creativity, ignore irrelevant info
A SHORT Time to Ponder:
• Emotion and Cognition: How Are You Feeling
and Thinking Today?
– positive moods vs. negative moods
Creative Thinking
• Divergent versus Convergent Thinking
• Characteristics of Creative Thinkers
– brainstorm
– flexibility and playful thinking
– inner motivation
– willingness to face risk
– objective evaluation of work
• What is intelligence?
• definitions of intelligence reflect culture
• U.S. – Spearman’s g
– general intelligence  “jack of all trades”
• intelligence (U.S.) – all-purpose ability to do well
on cognitive tasks, to solve problems and to learn
from experience
• measuring intelligence
– validity
– reliability
– standardization
Intelligence Tests
• Binet – Mental Age (MA)
– mental age surpasses chronological age = more
intelligent than average
– chronological age surpasses mental age = less
intelligent than average
– mental age equals chronological age = average = 100 IQ
• Stern – Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
• normal distribution
• Stanford-Binet Test
Intelligence: Normal Distribution
Influences on Testing
• Cultural Bias in Testing
– culture-fair tests (e.g., Raven Progressive Matrices)
• difficult to create
• can be biased because question is more likely to be in one
groups knowledge in comparison to another (When is
Christmas? = biased)
• Genetic Influences on Intelligence
– heritability
– increases with age
• Environmental Influences on Intelligence
– Flynn effect – IQ test scores increased over decades
The Flynn Effect
Variations in Intelligence
• Giftedness: usually IQ ≥ 130
– Terman – socially well adjusted and successful as
– importance of innate ability
Variations in Intelligence
• Intellectual disability: usually IQ < 70
– organic versus cultural-familial disabilities
– mild, moderate and severe/profound
– adaptive behavior deficits
• conceptual skills – literacy and understanding of
numbers, money and time
• social skills – interpersonal skills , responsibly, selfesteem, ability to follow rules and obey
• practical skills – activities of daily living such as
personal care, occupational skills, health care,
travel/transportation, and use of the telephone
A SHORT Time to Ponder
• Why do you think the ‘termites” became
experts in well-established fields—but not
major creators or innovators?
• Why do you think those involved in the Study
of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY)
Theories of Multiple Intelligences
• Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory
– analytical intelligence
– creative intelligence
– practical intelligence
Theories of Multiple Intelligences
• Gardner’s Frames of Mind
– verbal
– mathematical
– spatial
– bodily-kinesthetic
– interpersonal
– intrapersonal
– naturalist
– existentialist
– musical
Evaluating Multiple Intelligences
• Why is their controversy over multiple
intelligence theories?
• undertaking complex cognitive task led to
enhanced reasoning ability
– the more participants trained, the smarter they
– intelligence is not a skill you master (continuous
• keep challenging self to think about thins in increasingly
new, and sometimes difficult ways
• Language
– form of spoken, written, or signed
communication based on symbols
• Infinite Generativity
– ability to produce an endless number of
meaningful sentences
Structure of Language
• phonology - basic phonemes (sounds)
– 0-6 months
– example: sp, ba, ar
– not English examples: xt, zx, pq
• morphology - rules for word formation
– example: help + er
• syntax - rules for combining words to form phrases and
– grammar
• semantics - meaning of words and sentences
– example: woman vs. girl
• pragmatics - use of language
– purposefulness of language
Language and Cognition
• Can you think without using language?
• Benjamin Whorf’s linguistic relativity hypothesize
– “language determines thought”
– not entirely accurate
– reporting in English – outgoing, nicer, more
– thus… language influences cognition
• role of cognition in language
• role of language in cognition
William’s Syndrome
• William’s syndrome
– 1/20,000 births
– extraordinary verbal, social and musical abilities
– extremely low IQ and difficulty with motor task
and numbers
– thus: language and thought are not part of a
single system (separate, but related)
A SHORT Time to Ponder
Gender and Language
• Gender Differences in Language
– Are women more talkative?
Influences on Language
• Biological Influences
– language universals
• language milestones
– left hemispheric specialization
• Broca’s area – speech production
• Wernicke’s area – language comprehension
– hippocampus – fully developed at 9 mos. 
attach meaning to words
Influences on Language
• Environmental Influences
– behavioral view (learned skill)
– language exposure (case of Genie)
– middle class: 2,100 words an hour
– welfare: 600 words an hour – by age 4, 13 million
few words heard
Not Sucking as a Parent
• Be an active conversional partner.
– a.k.a. talk to your kid(s)
• Talk as if the infant will understand what you
are saying.
– a.k.a. try not talking to them like they are stupid
• Use a language style with which you feel
– a.k.a. your child will know if you are being a poser
and are completely uncomfortable… fo’ sho’
Development of
p. 269
Learning a Second Language
as an Adult
• Sensitive Periods in Language Learning
– new sounds/accent and new grammar
– new vocabulary
– overriding learned habits
– cognitively stretching ourselves away from
Thinking, Problem Solving,
and Health and Wellness
• cognitive appraisal – individual interpretation of the events in their lives
as harmful, threatening or challenging and their determination of whether
they have the resources to cope effectively with the events
– primary appraisal – individual interpret whether an event involves
• harm or loss that has already occurred
• a threat of some future danger
• a challenge to be overcome
– secondary appraisal
• evaluate resources
• efficiently use resources to cope with event
– coping – managing taxing circumstances, expending effort to solve life’s
problems, and seeking to master or reduce stress
• cognitive reappraisal – regulating one’s feelings about an experience by
reinterpreting that experience or thinking about it in a different way or
from a different angle
– decreased negative feelings
– decreased activation of amygdala
– increased activation of prefrontal cortex
Chapter Summary
• Describe cognitive psychology and discuss the role of
the computer in the development of the field.
• Explain the processes and human limitations in
problem solving, reasoning, and decision making.
• Describe intelligence and its measurement.
• Discuss influences on intelligence and types of
• Identify the connections between language and
thought and summarize how language is acquired and
• Discuss the importance of cognitive appraisal with
respect to stress and describe various styles of coping.
Chapter Summary
• Cognitive Revolution
– considered revolutionary  departure from
• Thinking
– prototype model of concepts
– problem-solving steps and barriers
– reasoning and decision making
• inductive, deductive, and intuitive
• biases
– critical and creative thinking
Chapter Summary
• Intelligence
– IQ tests: measurement, Binet, normal curve
– influences on intelligence test scores
– extremes and types of intelligence
• Language
– structure, development, and influences
• Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Health and
– cognitive appraisal and coping strategies