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 …

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 …

Language Acquisition: Skinner vs. Chomsky

In this video I introduce language acquisition as a type of learning that isn’t explained well by the behaviorist principles we saw in the unit on learning theory. In the next few videos we’ll be looking at linguistics and language acquisition in more detail and then considering how language relates to thought. We begin with Noam Chomsky’s review of B.F. …

Mnemonic Strategies

In this video I discuss the use of mnemonic strategies to improve memory. These techniques can serve as “artificial” retrieval cues and are particularly useful for knowledge that doesn’t need to be deeply connected to other ideas, such as random facts or lists of items. Mnemonics help to organize and structure this information and aid recall using rhymes, similar sounds, …

Memory Improvement Techniques Part 2

In this video I discuss a few more memory concepts which can be applied to improve recall and enhance the effectiveness of your studying. Levels of processing theory suggests that deeper processing improves recall and this can be especially effective when combined with the self-referential effect, which is that we tend to recall things that we have a personal connection …

Memory Improvement Techniques Part 1

In this video I discuss several memory concepts which can be applied to improve recall and enhance the effectiveness of your studying. These include organizing material and creating a structure, using distributed review rather than massed practice, taking advantage of the serial position effect, testing yourself rather than simply reviewing or rereading, and overlearning material you feel you already know. …

Long-Term Potentiation (LTP)

In this video I explain the concept of long-term potentiation, which refers to the strengthening of neural connections due to repeated synchronous firing. Repeated firing leads to changes in chemical signaling between the two neurons, influencing neurotransmitter and receptor activity. Next I introduce an example of this with the possible role of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (for the neurotransmitter glutamate) in …

Emotion and Memory

In this video I provide more examples of the relationship between emotion and memory. Flashbulb memories are detailed memories of emotionally-charged events. These memories may be more detailed but they are still subject to the errors and biases that affect other memories and so they may be inaccurate. Next I distinguish between state-dependent memory, which refers to a matching of …