The Availability Heuristic

In this video I provide an introduction to behavioral economics and the work of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman by describing a heuristic we use when attempting to assess the frequency of events. The availability heuristic is a shortcut that estimates frequency based on how available an event is to us, or how readily we can bring examples to mind. …

Problem Solving: Algorithms vs. Heuristics

In this video I explain the difference between an algorithm and a heuristic and provide an example demonstrating why we tend to use heuristics when solving problems. While algorithms provide step-by-step procedures that can guarantee solutions, heuristics are faster and provide shortcuts for getting to solutions, though this has the potential to cause errors. In the next few videos we’ll …

Obstacles to Problem Solving

In this video I introduce several potential obstacles to problem-solving including overconfidence, illusory superiority, belief bias, and belief perseverance. Then I describe a “consider the opposite” strategy for potentially reducing the influence of bias when interpreting evidence that supports or contradicts our pre-existing beliefs. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel to see future videos! Have questions or topics you’d …

Problem Solving

In this video I introduce several concepts related to problem-solving. I begin with mental set, which refers to our tendency to rely on approaches that have worked in the past. Similarly, functional fixedness refers to our tendency to think of tools as having single fixed uses and this may cause us to overlook novel uses for them. Convergent thinking refers …

Category Recognition

In this video I consider how language can help us to organize thought and create more precise concepts and categories. This raises the question of how we recognize new stimuli as being part of a particular category. Protoype theory suggests that we mentally compare new stimuli to a prototype or most-typical example for a particular category. Exemplar theory suggests that …

How Does Language Influence Thought?

In this video I consider the relationship between language and thought. The Whorf-Sapir hypothesis, or linguistic relativity hypothesis, suggests that one’s language influences one’s perception of the world. While evidence is mixed on just how language influences thought, there are other ways of examining the complex relationship between language, thought, and culture. It’s possible to consider how language influences thought …

The Interactionist Approach to Language Acquisition

In this video I describe the interactionist approach to language acquisition. This approach recognizes our genetic predisposition for language and considers how the social environment plays a role in that development. Children are learning more than just vocabulary and syntactical rules and their ability to interact and communicate using language is supported by the adults and other children around them, …

Language Development

In this video I provide an overview of language development in children. Children learn thousands of words within a matter of a few years and they seem to effortlessly pick up and apply the rules of grammar, first in their telegraphic speech and later in more complex sentences. Errors of overgeneralization reveal that by age 4 or 5 children already …

Universal Grammar

In this video I provide a brief introduction to Noam Chomsky’s theory of Universal Grammar, which suggests that all human languages must share certain features. The human predisposition for language acquisition which allows us to acquire any human language depending on exposure suggests that all language follow the same types of rules even though they may differ in their specific …

Introduction to Linguistics

In this video I introduce some terminology from linguistics for describing how languages use sounds to represent meaning. Phonemes refers to the individual sounds used in a language, while morphemes refer to units of meaning. Phonological rules dictate how sounds can be combined in a language (with variations resulting in accents), while syntactical rules relate to how words can be …