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Chapter 10

Thinking and Language

The mental activity
associated with
processing, understanding,
and communicating
information (cognition).

thinking

A mental grouping of
similar objects,
events, or people.

concept

The best example of
a particular category.


prototype

A methodical, logical
procedure that, while
sometimes slow, guarantees
success.

algorithm

Any problem
-
solving
strategy based on rules
of thumb.
(More efficient
than algorithms, but do not
guarantee success and sometimes
even impede problem solving.)

heuristic

A sudden and often novel
realization of the solution to
a problem. (Contrasts with
trial and error and may
often follow an unsuccessful
episode of trial and error.)

insight

An obstacle to problem
solving in which people
tend to search for
information that validates
their preconceptions.

confirmation bias

An inability to
approach a problem
in a new way.

fixation

The tendency to continue
applying a particular
problem
-
solving strategy
even when it is no longer
helpful.

mental set

A type of fixation in
which a person can think
of things only in terms of
their usual functions.

functional fixedness

The tendency to judge
the likelihood of things
in terms of how well
they conform to one’s
prototypes.

Representativeness
heuristic

Based on estimating
the probability of
certain events in terms
of how readily they
come to mind.

availability heuristic

The tendency to
overestimate the accuracy
of one’s beliefs and
judgments (another
obstacle to problem solving).

overconfidence

The way an issue or
question is posed. It
can affect people’s
perception of the issue
or answer to the
question.

framing

The tendency for a
person’s preexisting
beliefs to distort his
or her logical
reasoning.

belief bias

The tendency for people
to cling to a particular
belief even after the
information that led to
the formation of the
belief is discredited.

belief perseverance

The science of designing
and programming
computers to do
“intelligent” things and to
simulate human though
processes.

Artificial intelligence
(AI)

Computer circuits that
simulate the brain’s
interconnected nerve
cells and perform tasks
such as learning to
recognize visual patterns.

computer neural
networks

Spoken, written, or
gestured words and
how we combine them
to communicate
meaning.

language

The smallest units of
sound in a language
that are distinctive for
speakers of the
language.

phonemes

The smallest units of
language that convey
meaning.

morphemes

A system of rules that
enables us to communicate
with and understand
others.

grammar

The aspect of grammar
that specifies the rules
used to derive meaning
from morphemes, words,
and sentences.

semantics

The aspect of grammar
specifying the rules for
combining words into
grammatical sentences.

syntax

Stage of speech development
which begins at 3
-
4 months,
characterized by the
spontaneous utterance of
speech sounds.
(During this
stage, babies the world over sound
the same.)

babbling stage

Between 1
-
2 years of age,
children speak mostly in
single words; therefore,
they are in this stage of
linguistic development.

one
-
word stage

Beginning about age 2,
children are in this
stage where they
speak in two
-
word
sentences.

two
-
word stage

The economical, telegram
-
like
speech of children in the two
-
word stage. Utterances consist
mostly of nouns and verbs;
however, words occur in the
correct order, showing that the
child has learned some of the
language’s syntactic rules.

telegraphic speech

Benjamin Whorf’s
hypothesis that
language determines
the way we think.

linguistic relativity