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Language and Cognition

Introduction

Table of Contents

The Structure of Language

Cognitive psychology concerns both language and thought and has been popular only since the 1950s. Before that, many psychologists believed that the scientific method could not be applied toward study of a process as private as thinking. From ancient Greek times, only philosophers and metaphysicians studied the nature of language and thought. The metaphysician René Descartes, for example, famously argued, “I think, therefore I am.”

Today, thanks to increasingly sophisticated tools for studying brain activity, cognitive psychology is a thriving science. Cognitive psychologists explore such questions as how language affects thought, whether it is possible to create a “thinking” machine, and why humans are motivated to create art.

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