Language and Cognition

Review Questions

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1. Maria is applying for a job at an ad agency. At the interview, she’s asked to list some creative things she can do with a diamond necklace. One of the things she lists is Put it in the trash basket. Can this be considered a creative solution? Why or why not?

Maria’s solution cannot be considered creative, because a creative solution must be both novel and useful. Putting a diamond necklace in the trash may be novel, but most people wouldn’t consider it useful.

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2. What criteria can be used to determine whether a particular system of communication is a language?

A language must use symbols and syntax and be meaningful and generative.

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3. What revolutionary idea did Noam Chomsky propose regarding language?

Noam Chomsky proposed that humans are born with an innate language acquisition device that allows them to acquire language easily.

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4. A mansion and a tent are both houses, but people would probably agree that a mansion is a house more quickly than they would agree that a tent is a house. Why is this the case?

Mansions fit most people’s prototypes of the concept house better than tents do.

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5. What are two strategies for making decisions about preferences?

Two strategies for making preference decisions are additive strategies and elimination strategies.