Chapter 9 Thinking, Language and Intelligence - Vocabulary

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1

Cognition

the mental activities associated with thinking, knowledge, remembering, and communicating

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Concept

a mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people

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Prototype

a mental image of best example of a category. Matching new items to a prototype provides a quick and easy method for sorting items into categories (as when comparing feathered creatures to a prototype-typical bird, such as a robin)

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Algorithm

a methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular problem. Contrast with the usually speedier – but also more error-prone – use of heuristics

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Heuristic

a simple thinking strategy that often allows us to make judgments and solve problems efficiently; usually speedier but also more error-prone than algorithms

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Insight

a sudden and often novel realization of the solution to the problem; it contrast with strategy-based solutions

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Confirmation Bias

a tendency to search for information that supports our preconceptions and to ignore or distort contradictory evidence

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Fixation

the inability to see a problem from a new perspective, by employing a different mental set

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Mental Set

a tendency to approach a problem in one particular way, often a way that has been successful in the past

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Representativeness Heuristic

judging the likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to represent, or match, particular prototypes; may lead us to ignore other relevant information

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Availability Heuristic

estimating the likelihood of events based on their ability in memory; if instances come readily to mind (perhaps because of their vividness), we presume such events are common

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Overconfidence

the tendency to be more confident than correct – to overestimate the accuracy of our beliefs and judgments

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Belief Perseverance

clinging to one’s initial conceptions after the basis on which they were formed has been discredited

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Intuition

an effortless, immediate, automatic feeling or thought, as contrasted with explicit, conscious reasoning

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Framing

the way an issue is posed; how an issue is framed can significantly affect decisions and judgments

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Language

our spoken, written, or signed words and the way we combine them to communicate

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Babbling Stage

beginning at about 4 months, the stage of speech development in which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first unrelated to the household language

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One-Word Stage

the stage in speech development, from about age 1 to 2, during which a child speaks mostly in single words

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Two-Word Stage

beginning about age 2, the stage in speech development during which a child speaks mostly two-word statements

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Telegraphic Speech

early speech stage in which a child speaks like a telegram – “go car” – using mostly nouns and verbs

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Linguistic Determination

Whorf’s hypothesis that language determines the way we think

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Intelligence

mental quality consisting of the ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations

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General Intelligence (g)

a general intelligence factor that, according to Spearman and others, underlie specific mental ability and is therefore measured by every task on an intelligence test

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Factor Analysis

a statistical procedure that identifies clusters of related items (called factors) on a test; used to identify different dimensions of performance that underlie a person’s score.

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Savant Syndrome

a condition in which a person otherwise limited in mental ability has an exceptional specific skill, such as in computation drawings

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Creativity

the ability to produce novel and valuable ideas

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Emotional Intelligence

the ability to perceive, understand, manage, and use emotions

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Intelligence Test

a method of assessing an individual’s mental aptitude and comparing them with those of others, using numerical scores

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Mental Age

a measure of intelligence test performance devised by Binet; the chronological age that most typically corresponds to a given level of performance. Thus, a child who does as well as an average eight year old is said to have a mental age of 8

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Sanford-Binet

the widely used American revision (by Terman at Stanford University) of Binet’s original intelligence test.

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Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

defined originally as the ratio of mental age (ma) to chronicle age (ca) multiplied by a 100 (thus IQ = ma/ca x 100). On contemporary intelligence tests, the average performance for a given age is assigned a score of 100

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Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)

the WAIS is the most widely used intelligence test; contains verbal and performance (nonverbal) subtests

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Standardization

defining meaningful scores by comparison with the performance of a pretested group

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Normal Curve

the symmetrical bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many physical and psychological attributes. Most scores fall near the average, and fewer and fewer scores lie near the extreme

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Reliability

the extent to which a test yields consistent results, as assessed by the consistency of scores on two halves of the test, or on retesting

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Validity

the extent to which a test measures or predicts what is supposed to.

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Context Validity

the extent to which a test samples the behavior that is of interest

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Intellectual Disability

a condition of limited mental ability, indicated by an intelligence score of 70 or below and difficulty in adapting to demands of life; varies from mild to profound

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Down Syndrome

a condition of mild to severe intellectual disability and associated physical disorder caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21

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Predictive Validity

the success with which a test predicts the behavior it is designed to predict; it is assessed by computing the correlation between test scores and the criterion behavior

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Heritability

the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes. The heritability of a trait may vary, depending on the range of the population and environmental studied

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Stereotype Threat

A self-confirming concern that one will be evaluated based on a negative stereotype