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Chapter 7. Thought, Language, and Intelligence. Questions We Will Be Addressing in This Chapter. What good is thinking, anyway? What are thoughts made of? Do people always think logically? What’s the best way to solve a problem? How can I become a better decision maker?

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Chapter 7 l.jpg

Chapter 7

Thought, Language, and Intelligence


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Questions We Will Be Addressing in This Chapter

What good is thinking, anyway?

What are thoughts made of?

Do people always think logically?

What’s the best way to solve a problem?

How can I become a better decision maker?

How do babies learn to talk?


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Questions We Will Be Addressingin This Chapter (cont’d)

How is intelligence measured?

How good are IQ tests?

Is there more than one type of intelligence?


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Basic Functions of Thought

What good is thinking, anyway?


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Figure 7.1: The Circle of Thought


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Figure 7.2: An Information-Processing Model



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How Can Information Be Mentally Represented?

Concepts

Formal concepts

Natural concepts & prototypes

Propositions

Schemas

Scripts

Mental models

Images

Cognitive maps


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Thinking Strategies

Do people always think logically?


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Reasoning

Formal reasoning

Algorithms

Rules of logic

Deductive reasoning

Informal reasoning

“Inductive reasoning”

Use of heuristics


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Potentially Problematic Heuristics

Anchoring bias

Representativeness heuristic

Availability heuristic


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Problem Solving

What’s the best way to solve a problem?


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Strategies for Problem Solving

Use means-end analysis

“Decomposition”

Work backwards

Find analogies

See Focus on Research – Problem-solving Strategies in Real World


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Obstacles to Problem Solving

Multiple hypotheses

Mental sets

Functional fixedness

Ignoring negative evidence

Confirmation bias


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Artificial Intelligence: Problem Solving by Computer

Symbolic reasoning and computer logic

Limited by difficulty at forming natural concepts

Neural network models

Potential of human-machine teamwork


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Creative Thinking

Inferred from performance on certain tests and other creative process products.

e.g., tests of divergent thinking

Necessary characteristics

Expertise in the field of endeavor.

A set of creative skills.

Motivation to pursue creative work for internal reasons.


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What Influences Creativity?

Is creativity inherited?

Yes, but also influenced by one’s social, economic, and political environment.

Does one have to be smart to be creative?

Don’t have to be a genius.

Creativity involves divergent, not convergent thinking

Wisdom is the combination of intelligence and creativity.


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Decision Making

How can I become a better decision maker?


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Making Risky Decisions

How do we evaluate decision options?

Utility placed on each feature of each option.

The expected value of a decision.

Why don’t we act in ways that maximize expected value?


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Biases and Flaws in Decision Making

Loss aversion

Biases in how think about probability

Overestimate probability of rare events; underestimate probability of frequent events.

Gambler’s fallacy

Overconfidence in the accuracy of one’s predictions

Linkages – Group Processes in Problem Solving and Decision Making


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Language

How do babies learn to talk?


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Basic Elements of Language

Symbols, such as words.

Grammar, or a set of rules for combining those symbols.


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Stages of Language Development

First year

Importance of early experience.

Begin to produce babblings.

By 10-12 months can understand several words.

Second year

One-word stage of speech lasts about 6 months

Around 18 months, begin to combine words into telegraphic or two-word sentences.

Three-word sentences come next.


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Stages of Language Development (cont’d.)

By age 3, begin to use auxiliary verbs, create complex sentences, and ask questions.

By age 5, have acquired most of the grammatical rules of native language.



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How Do We Learn Grammar?

Through positive reinforcement?

Learn through modeling or imitation.

Also analyze underlying patterns of language to learn the underlying rules.


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Biological Bases for Language Acquisition

Chomsky: We are born with a built-in universal grammar.

Genetic predispositions interact with experience.

Others: Language development reflects the development of more general cognitive skills.

Evidence suggests that humans are innately “prewired” for language.

Appears to be a critical period for learning language.


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Bilingualism

Does simultaneously learning two languages impair the learning of either?

Eventually show enhanced performance in each language.

Balanced bilingual show some cognitive advantages.


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Testing Intelligence

How is intelligence measured?


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Characteristics of Intelligence

Abstract thinking and reasoning ability

Problem-solving abilities

Capacity to acquire knowledge


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A Brief History of Intelligence Tests

Binet (1904): Can French children doing poorly in school be identified?

Developed a set of intellectual tasks that became model for current intelligence tests.

Binet’s assumptions:

Reasoning, thinking, and problem-solving all depend on intelligence.

Children’s mental abilities increase with age.


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A Brief History of Intelligence Tests (cont’d)

Stanford-Binet Test

Developed by Terman (1916)

IQ = (Mental Age/Chronological Age) * 100

Allowed ranking of people based on IQ.

Contemporary intelligence tests

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III)

Stanford-Binet (SB5)


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Figure 7.10: The Distribution of IQScores in the Population


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Evaluating Intelligence Tests

How good are IQ tests?


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What Is a Test?

A systematic observation of behavior in a standard situation.

Behavior is described with the help of a numerical scale or system of categories.

Importance of standardization.

Test scores can be used to calculate norms.


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Evaluating the Value of IQ Tests

Statistical Reliability

Degree to which test results or other research evidence occurs repeatedly

Statistical Validity

Degree to which test scores are interpreted appropriately and used properly

Not a perfect measure of “smartness”

Stereotype threat phenomenon


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VIDEO: Stereotype Threat

Discussion Questions


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Figure 7.11: Correlations of IQ Scores


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Group Differences in IQ Scores

Important considerations

Group scores do not describe individuals.

Inherited characteristics are not necessarily fixed.

Socioeconomic differences

Ethnic differences

Variation within ethnic groups is much greater than variation between groups.

Environmental differences

Thinking Critically – IQ Tests and Bias


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Diversity in Intelligence

Is there more than one type of intelligence?


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Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence

Analytic intelligence

Creative intelligence

Practical intelligence


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Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences

Linguistic

Logical-mathematical

Spatial

Musical

Body-kinesthetic

Intrapersonal

Interpersonal

Naturalistic


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Unusual Intelligence

Giftedness

Mental Retardation

Genetic causes

Environmental causes

Familial retardation


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How Do Mildly Retarded Individuals Differ From Others?

Perform mental operations more slowly.

Know fewer facts about the world.

Not very good at using mental strategies important in learning and problem solving.



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Focus on Research: Problem-Solving Strategies in the Real World

What was the researcher’s question?

How did the Wright brothers solve the problem of creating a heavier-than-air flying machine?

How did the researcher answer the question?

Used a “comparative case study” method.

Continue to next slide


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Focus on Research: Problem-Solving Strategies in the Real World (cont’d.)

What did the researcher find?

The Wright brothers had a lot of spare time to work on their designs.

They were familiar with lightweight, but sturdy, structures.

The brothers had a good working relationship.

As mechanics, they were good with their hands.

They spent considerable time and energy testing aircraft components before field-testing the complete machines.

Continue to next slide


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Focus on Research: Problem-Solving Strategies in the Real World (cont’d.)

What do the results mean?

The Wright brothers used decomposition as their problem-solving strategy.

What do we still need to know?

Is decomposition used in other real-world settings?

Return to main slide


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Linkages: Group Processes in Problem Solving and Decision Making

Group interactions can shape the outcome of a group decision.

Sometimes can lead to extreme decisions (“group polarization”).

Are people better at problem solving and decision making in groups?

Depends on the obviousness of the solution.

Problems of social loafing and groupthink.

Brainstorming is not necessarily beneficial.

Return to main slide


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Thinking Critically: Are IQ Tests Unfairly Biased Against Certain Groups?

What am I being asked to believe or accept?

Standardized intelligence tests are not fair.

Is there evidence available to support the claim?

Noncognitive factors may put certain groups at a disadvantage.

Many intelligence tests may be culture-specific.

Test may reward those who interpret questions as expected by the test designer.

Continue to next slide


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Thinking Critically: Are IQ Tests Unfairly Biased Against Certain Groups? (cont’d.)

Can that evidence be interpreted another way?

Traditional IQ tests provide a fair test of likelihood of success in some areas.

IQ scores measure developed, not innate, ability.

What evidence would help to evaluate the alternatives?

How can differences in opportunities to develop cognitive skills be reduced?

What alternative tests of cognitive ability can be developed?

Continue to next slide


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Thinking Critically: Are IQ Tests Unfairly Biased Against Certain Groups? (cont’d.)

What conclusions are most reasonable?

“Culture-fair” tests will not be useful if they fail to predict academic or occupational success.

Value-free or culture-free tests of intelligence are probably not possible.

Attention should be focused on how to help develop abilities necessary for success.

Return to main slide


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Figure 7.3: Applying a Mental Model

Return to Slide


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Figure 7.4: Manipulating Images

Return to Slide


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Errors in Logical Reasoning

Assumption #1

All women want to be mothers.

Assumption #2

Jill is a woman.

Conclusion

Jill wants to be a mother.

Is this necessarily correct?

Assumption #1

All gun owners are people.

Assumption #2

All criminals are people

Conclusion

All gun owners are criminals

Right???

Return to Slide


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Figure 7.5: The Jar Problem

Continue to next slide


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Figure 7.6: The Nine-Dot Problem

Continue to next slide


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Figure 7.8: Two Creative Solutions to the Nine-Dot Problem

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Figure 7.7: An Example of Functional Fixedness

Return to Slide


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Figure 7.12: A Representation of Ethnic Group Differences in IQ Scores

Return to Slide


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Why Is There a Relationship Between IQ Scores and Family Income?

Parents’ jobs and status related to their own intelligence.

Parents’ income affects quality of child’s environment.

Motivational differences between socio-economic levels.

Those with higher IQs may have greater opportunities to earn more money.

Return to Slide


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Figure 7.13: Income? An Intelligence Test

Return to Slide


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Table 7.2: Income? Categories of Mental Retardation

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Stereotype Threat video: Discussion Questions Income?

Return to main slide

What does Steele’s work reveal to you about the nature of intelligence? How much of it is nature vs. nurture?

What other elements of one’s environment can contribute or inhibit performance?

Have you ever been in a situation where you performed worse based on others’ expectations?


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