Why is it so difficult to break habits—like reaching for your ringing phone even when you shouldn’t, such as when you’re driving? How does a person who has never seen or touched snow in real life develop an understanding of the concept of snow? How do young children acquire the ability to learn language with no formal instruction? Psychologists who study thinking explore questions like these.
Cognitive psychologists also study intelligence. What is intelligence, and how does it vary from person to person? Are “street smarts” a kind of intelligence, and if so, how do they relate to other types of intelligence? What does an IQ test really measure? These questions and more will be explored in this module as you study thinking and intelligence.
As a part of this discussion, we will consider thinking and briefly explore the development and use of language. We will also discuss problem solving and creativity, intelligence testing, and how our biology and environments interact to affect intelligence. After finishing this module, you will have a greater appreciation of the higher-level cognitive processes that contribute to our distinctiveness as a species.
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