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 …

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 …

Split Brains: What Happens When You Sever the Corpus Callosum?

In this video I cover research by Roger Sperry and Michael Gazzaniga on split brain patients who have had the corpus callosum severed. I explain some hemispheric specializations such as speech production and facial recognition as well as how visual information is separated into each hemisphere at the optic chiasm according to visual field.   Don’t forget to subscribe to …

Bonobo Language Learning

Here’s a few videos from the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary showing attempts to teach language to Bonobo chimps. The first video is of Kanzi demonstrating his skills in using a lexigram. In the next video, we can see Kanzi following novel instructions. Notice that Sue Savage-Rumbaugh wears a mask as a type of “anti-Clever Hansing”, helping ensure that Kanzi isn’t …