DISCUSSION FORUM ON
THINKING & LANGUAGE
Suppose you are a doctor faced with a patient who has a malignant tumor in his stomach. It is impossible to operate on the patient, but unless the tumor is destroyed the patient will die. There is a kind of ray that can be used to destroy the tumor. If the rays reach the tumor all at once at a sufficiently high intensity, the tumor will be destroyed. Unfortunately, at this intensity the healthy tissue that the rays pass through on the way to the tumor will also be destroyed. At lower intensities the rays are harmless to healthy tissue, but they will not affect the tumor either. What type of procedure might be used to destroy the tumor with the rays, and at the same time avoid destroying the healthy tissue?
Glick, M.L. & Holyoke, K.J. (1980). Analogical problem solving. Cognitive Psychology, 12, 306-355.
Solve the following riddles and illustrate the stages in problem solving and scientific thinking.
You are walking in the desert and find a man lying face down with a pack on his back, dead. How did he die?
A man walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a glass of water. The bartender reaches under the bar, pulls out a large pistol, and points it right in the man's face. The man says "Thank you" and turns and walks out of the bar. Why did the man say "thank you"?
A man is at work and wants to go home. However, he will not go home because a man wearing a mask is waiting there for him. What does the first man do for a living?
A man is found shot to death in a room with a table, four chairs, and 53 bicycles. Why was he shot?
Hatcher, J. W. Jr. (1990). Using riddles to introduce the process and experience of scientific thinking. Teaching of Psychology, 17, 123-124.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of artificial intelligence? Compare and contrast artificial intelligence with human intelligence?
One definition of "language" is "symbols that convey meaning. plus rules for combining those symbols, that can be used to generate an infinite variety of messages." Nowhere does it mention that language must be vocal. In fact, attempts to train animals to learn language have used nonvocal languages.
What would be your definition then of communication? Speech? and Language? What are the differences?
Is mime language? Is mime communication? Is sign language truly a language?
[Smith et.al (2001). Instructor's Resources Manual for Wayne Weiten's Psychology (5th ed.). Wadsworth.]
Does Language Influence Thinking or Vice Versa?
Do our ideas come first and wait for words to name them? Or are our thoughts conceived in words and unthinkable without them? Myers (1998), p.329
Do Animals Have a Language?
In your opinion, can animals (such as primates-apes and chimpanzees, parrots, etc.) communicate and do they have a language? Explain your answer.
Are Animals Bilingual or Trilingual?
Research now reveals the discovery that most of the apes being taught language are bilingual or trilingual. Can you identify this in the apes studies? How do they exhibit bilingual or trilingual abilities? Which species of animals do you think possess these abilities? What populations of people display the same abilities?
Teaching Animals Language and Its Implications
Sue Savage-Rumbaugh says that the overarching goal of the research undertaken by her Center was to develop technologies and teaching strategies designed to facilitate the learning of language by persons with mental retardation. In looking at her work with Kanzi, do you think that such work can find clues as to how to communicate with mentally retarded persons? What specific ways can you outline as evidenced from seeing the work and research of those working with teaching animals language and cognition?