Thinking, Language, and Intelligence • Thinking • Language • Intelligence
Thinking • Concepts • Solving problems • Making good (and bad) decisions and judgments • Thinking critically about: The fear factor—why we fear the wrong things • Thinking creatively • Close-up: Fostering your own creativity • Do other species share our cognitive skills?
Thinking • Cognition • All the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating • Concepts • Mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, and people • Prototypes • Mental image or best example of a category
Solving Problems: Trial and Error • Algorithm • Methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees you will solve a particular problem • Contrasts with the usually speedier—but also more error-prone—use of heuristics • Heuristic • Simple thinking strategy that often allows one to make judgments and solve problems efficiently; usually speedier but also more error prone than algorithms • Insight • Involves sudden realization of the solution to a problem; it contrasts with strategy-basedsolutions
THE AHA! MOMENT A burst of right temporal lobe EEG activity (yellow area) accompanied insight solutions to word problems (Jung-Beeman et al., 2004). The red dots show placement of the EEG electrodes. The light gray lines show patterns of brain activity during insight. From Marc Jung-Beeman, Northwestern University and John Kounios, Drexel University
Solving Problems • Wason’sclassic study • Involves guessing the rule for three-number sets • Confirmation bias • The tendency to seek evidence for our ideas more eagerly than we seek evidence against them
Is this fixation? • Fixation • Inability to see a problem from a new perspective • Obstacle to problem solving THE MATCHSTICK PROBLEM How would you arrange six matches to form four equilateral triangles?
Making Good (and Bad) Decisions and Judgments • Life is full of judgments • How many of these judgment related terms can you define? • Intuition • Heuristics • Quick-thinking heuristics • Availability heuristics
Intuition An effortless, immediate, automatic feeling or thought, as contrasted with explicit, conscious reasoning Heuristic Asimple thinking strategy that often allows you to make judgments and solve problems efficiently; usually speedier but also more error prone than algorithms
Quick-thinking heuristic A simple thinking strategy that often allows you to make judgments more error prone than algorithms Availability heuristic Involves judging the likelihood of an event based on its availability in memory; if an event comes readily to mind, we assume it must be common
Did you get the correct answer? Solution to the matchstickproblem Were you, by chance, fixated on two-dimensional solutions? Solving problems often requires taking a new angle on the situation.
The Fear Factor—Why We Fear the Wrong Things • We fear what our ancestral history has prepared us to fear. • We fear what we cannot control. • We fear what is immediate. • We fear what is most readily available in memory. SCARING US ONTO DEADLY HIGHWAYS In the three months after 9/11, those faulty perceptions led more Americans to travel, and some to die, by car. (Adapted from Gigerenzer, 2004.)
Solving Problems • More confident than correct • Overconfidence is the tendency to overestimate the accuracy of our beliefs and judgments • Belief beyond evidence • Belief perseverance occurs when we cling to beliefs and ignore evidence that proves these are wrong
Solving Problems • Let me put it this way • Framing involves the way an issue is posed • It can be a powerfully persuasive tool • Framing can influence beneficial decisions Can you think of any such decisions?
Perils and Powers of Intuition • Intuition is analysis “frozen into habit” • Intuition is implicit knowledge • Intuition is usually adaptive • Learned associations surface as “gut” feelings • Intuition is huge • Critical thinkers are often guided by intuition
Thinking Creatively • Robert Sternberg and his colleagues: Five ingredients of creativity • Expertise • Imaginative thinking skills • Venturesome personality • Intrinsic motivation • Creative environment
Do Other Species Share Our Cognitive Skills? • Using concepts and numbers • Several species demonstrate the ability to sort (e.g., pigeons and other birds; great apes; humans) • Displaying insight • Humans are not the only species to display insight (e.g., Chimpanzees) • Using tools and transmitting culture • Various species have displayed creative tool use (e.g., forest-dwelling chimpanzees; elephants; humans) Life on white / Alamy
Language • Language development • The brain and language • Thinking without language • Do other species have language?
Language • Language • Involves our spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning • Used to transmit civilization’s knowledge from one generation to the next • Connects humans
Language Development • When do we learn language? • Receptive language: Infant ability to understand what is said to them around 4 months • Production language: Infant ability to produce words beginning around 10 months
What is the difference between receptive and productive language, and when do children normally hit these milestones in language development?
Susan Meiselas/ Magnum Photos HOW DO WE LEARN GRAMMAR? CREATING A LANGUAGE Young deaf children in Nicaragua were brought together as if on a desert island (actually a school). They drew upon sign gestures from their own home to create their own Nicaraguan Sign Language, complete with words and intricate grammar.
How Do We Learn Grammar? • Language diversity • 700+ languages worldwide; structurally very different • Chomsky • Argued all languages share basic elements called a universal grammar • Theorized humans are born with a predisposition to learn grammar rules; not a built-in specific language • Critical period • Suggests childhood represents a critical period for mastering certain aspects of language
Language AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, A.E. Araiza NEW LANGUAGE LEARNING GETS HARDER WITH AGE Young children have a readiness to learn language. Ten years after coming to the United States, Asian immigrants took a grammar test. Those who arrived before age 8 understood American English grammar as well as native speakers did. Those who arrived later did not. (From Johnson & Newport, 1991.)
What was Noam Chomsky’s explanation of language development? Why is it so difficult to learn a new language in adulthood?
BRAIN ACTIVITY WHEN HEARING AND SPEAKING WORDS • Broca’s area • Wernicke’s area
The Brain and Language • Damage to any one of several areas of the brain’s cortex can impair language • Today’s neuroscience has confirmed brain activity in Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas during language processing • In processing language, the brain operates by dividing its mental functionsinto smaller tasks
________ is the part of the brain that, if damaged, might impair your ability to speak words. If you damage ________ you might impair your ability to understand language.
Thinking Without Language • Mental practice relies on thinking in images • Just imagining a physical experience can have similar results • Mental rehearsal can aid in the achievement of academic goals
What is mental practice, and how can it help you to prepare for an upcoming event?
Language Development • Other species have language • Velvet monkeys sound different alarms for different predators • Chimpanzee (named Washoe) was taught sign language by the Garders • Critics noted that ape vocabularies and sentences were simple; vocabulary was gained with great difficulties • Most psychologists agree that humans alone possess language
If your dog barks at a stranger at the front door, does this qualify as language? What if the dog yips in a telltale way to let you know that she needs to go out?
Intelligence • What is intelligence? • Assessing intelligence • Close-up: Extremes of intelligence • The nature and nurture of intelligence • Close-up: What is heritability? • Intelligence across the life span: Stability or change? • Group differences in intelligence test scores
What Is Intelligence? • Spearman’s General Intelligence (g) • Humans have one general intelligence that is at the heart of everything a person does • Mental abilities are like physical abilities • Intelligence involves distinct abilities, which correlate enough to define a small general intelligence factor • Gardner and Sternberg discount this theory and propose several different kinds of intelligence
Theories of Multiple Intelligences • Gardner’s eight intelligences • Intelligence consists of multiple abilities that come in different packages • Eight relatively independent intelligences exist, including the verbal and mathematical aptitudes assessed by standard tests • Evidence of multiple intelligence is found in people with savant syndrome
ISLAND OF GENIUS: SAVANT SYNDROME Matt Savage, an award-winning jazz musician, is a BerkleeCollege of Music graduate who has released many albums. His success has been hard-won given his early childhood diagnosis of what is now called autism spectrum disorder, which came with struggles to communicate and an initial inability to tolerate sounds of any kind. Boston Globe/Getty Images
Theories of Multiple Intelligence • Sternberg’s three intelligences • Analytical intelligence (School smarts: Traditional academic problem solving) • Creative intelligence (Trailblazing smarts: Ability to generate novel ideas) • Practical intelligence (Street smarts: Skill at handling everyday tasks)
Theories of Multiple Intelligence • Findings and criticisms • Recent research, using factor analysis, has confirmed that there is a general intelligence factor that predicts performance on various complex tasks and in various jobs • Researchers report a 10-year rule: Expert performers spend about a decade in intense, daily practice
How does the existence of savant syndrome support Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences? How do Gardner’s and Sternberg’s theories of multiple intelligences differ?
Emotional Intelligence • Abilities • Perceivingemotions (recognizing them in faces, music, and stories) • Understandingemotions (predicting them and how they may change and blend) • Managingemotions (knowing how to express them in varied situations) • Using emotions to enable adaptive or creative thinking
Emotional Intelligence • Emotionally intelligent people • Are socially aware and self-aware • Delay gratification in favor of long-term rewards • Read others’ emotions and provide appropriate feedback • Perform well on the job • Are often successful in career, marriage, and parenting situations where academically smarter people fail
First…A Few Definitions of Tests • Intelligence test • Method for assessing an individual’s mental aptitudes and comparing them with those of others, using numerical scores • Aptitude test • Test designed to predict a person’s future performance; aptitude is the capacity to learn • Achievement test • Test designed to assess what a person has learned
Assessing Intelligence: Intelligence Tests • Alfred Binet: Predicting School Achievement • Assumed all children follow the same course, but not the same rate, of intellectual development • Measured each child’s mental age • Tested a variety of reasoning and problem-solving questions that predicted how well French children would succeed in school