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Psychology of Language Essay

To briefly introduce the topic, this reaction paper is reflective of David W. Caroll’s book, entitled: ‘Psychology of Language’, which was published in 2008 by Thomson and Wadsworth Publishing. The three selective chapters of the book, namely Chapters 4, 9 and 14 will be the main focus of discussion. As a synopsis of the book, Caroll’s (2008) purpose is to examine how and why human behavior expressively reacts on language, and what influences the language patterns the environment.

In search of this critical thinking has explored the observations on the psychological effects of language to the well-being of people and his societal interaction. Chapter 4: Perception of language In ‘Chapter 4: Perception of Language’ examines the comprehension on language that is conveyed in oral and written forms. Caroll pointed out the “prosodic factors” as a result of physical tension from environmental distraction affects the human mind to understand the message and flow of information (Ferreira, 2003; in Caroll, 2008).

It may be interpreted, the prosodic factors is even resulting tremendous difficulty to the “receiver of information” or listener, from which inability to comprehend and keep abreast to the “informant” or source of information bears psychological effect of anxiety. Caroll has implied the relevance of tones, use of semantics, time, place and circumstance in transmitting the information. In short, conveying the information can be more expressed according to the emphasized situation and level of expression of the “talker”. From this, the human behavior develops “signals” to emphasize the language.

As cited, the reconfiguration of transmitting information has been applied in the “trace model” purposely to analyze the level of comprehension and the pattern of processing the information (McClelland & Elman, 1986; in Caroll, 2008). However, the study may be solely applied in the processing of restricted information that holds risk to national security, wherein US Naval Force adopts the “trace model”. Significant to human behavior response to information, written communication is described firstly as a “formal norm” to communicate, I would say, secondly at a long distance “inscription and transcription”.

At this point and time of electronic-telecommunication, written information is relayed through mobile phone and Internet messaging system, in which electronic mail and short-messaging system (SMS) becomes the usual medium of communication, as well as the digital-video-electronic gadgets together with the television, print and broadcast media. The point of view of observing how the human behavior react to present day telecommunication system [not only in written but in digital-communication] could have been a peripheral concern of Caroll.

Overall, I would say that both oral and written communication are of formal norms according to the topic, theme, mood, circumstance and notion or understanding the way the information is presented and acknowledged by the receiver. However, it is the “expression” or could be the body language and emphasis to communicate that can be critically considered by the exhibition of human behavior, applying both expression and feelings that interact between talker and listener, wherein reaction or response depicts the behavior.

Chapter 9: Conversational interaction The discussions in ‘Chapter 9: Conversational Interaction’ refers to the exchange of ideas or dialogues between two persons, groups and an individual to a group. In this chapter, Caroll implied the common understanding that conversational interaction is a “joint action” where individuals converse in a coordinative yet unsystematic flow of ideas, information and topic.

As cited, the structure of conversational interaction is the exchange of “language” in a face-to-face manner and deviate from topic-to-topic, ideas-to-ideas and expressions (Filmore, 1981; in Caroll, 2008). It may be deduced that conversation is important especially in the aspect of clinical psychology, especially considered as a therapy or therapeutic treatment. The inference of conversational interaction can be defined as a “simple non-drug-related treatment”.

Thus, I agree to the explanation that good conversation opens the “minds and spirit”, and confer the long-kept inner agonies to a good conversationalist. Conversational interaction in the field of psychology can be exemplified by the patient-psychologist conversation on critical thoughts affecting the anxiety of a patient. However, I would like to expound my reaction to the previously discussed norm that conversation has “unsystematic flow of ideas” since conversation as a therapy for psycho-treatment is applied with the scientific and structured rules.

As cited, conversational interaction is institutionally used with specialized therapeutic discourse of a psycho-therapist to a patient (Caroll, 2008). I would further react that the cognitive presentation of theories in Chapter 9 tends to convey a lot of information on conversational interaction but somehow deepen the “interpretative result” at an average understanding, and hardly express the “layman’s language” or common knowledge that conversational interaction can be simply described as a convenient manner of talking-listening-talking human behavior.

In sum, what Caroll could have simply implied in Chapter 9 is the significance of conversation as an “easement of barrier”, accordingly in the aspect of “putting up” a dialogue through therapy in psycho-treatment. On the other hand, conversational interaction can be called as partly “a way of life” of people, interact each other to communicate, develop ideas and explore the relevance of “two-way information” on the basis of personal, private and publicly known topic. In addition, interest and willingness could be the expressive rule that creates the “instinctive” behavior to interact and converse.

Chapter 14: Language, culture and cognition The relatedness of language, cultural traits and perceptiveness highlights the discussions in ‘Chapter 14: Language, culture and cognition’. Accordingly, language is primarily the end-result of communication barriers. Indeed it is, for the main reason that the whole wide world is separated by language and dialects, and even the semantics that describe a figure, name and place. It is also a common knowledge that variety of cultures, races and ethnicity has their own system of understanding aside from language in a country.

Further, group of people in certain organizations or societies, gender, generation of young and adult and heterosexual groups adopts a “language” of their owned-meaning and interpretation, like the word “joint” which has variable meanings for a dope, club, getting-together, and so forth. Caroll (2008) explained that language creates the “hypothetical understanding” being interpreted by the commonality of meaning, in which individuals and groups in a community understand and accept the perception. In which case, culture and cognition is a belongingness in a given group and community of people.

However, according to Carroll, “linguistic determinism” is different from language of individuals or its groups, as cited, linguistic determinism is the “learning of language” for certain reasoning or cognitive process (Bloom & Keil, 2001; in Caroll, 2008). Reflective of the above explanation, it may be well explained that what Caroll (2008) implied is the language or word-meaning of scientific and technical terms being used by people in a variety of profession, like the language referring to the use of terminologies in medical science, social sciences, engineering and related fields.

However, it may be analyzed that the “cognitive value” of scientific and technical terms [becoming a language] attributed to the profession or processed knowledge discovers and rediscovers the effects to human behavior, and therefore provides the opportunity to reach out the processes of learning abilities and information sharing at a broadest recipients throughout the world. Again, receiving the information requires the use of language to process the communication, of which the cyclical process of knowledge correlates learning, interpretation, perception and acceptance.

It may be therefore said that language is the bottomline to critically convey the culture and cognition, wherein influences interrelate in human behavior. In this regard, I resoundingly acknowledge the fact that language is the key linkage to assimilate cultural diversity, belongingness and displacement of communication barriers. Moreover, it may be further implied that understanding the reciprocity of inherent cultural values, traits and traditions is a critical thought founded on reverent co-existence.

Conclusion Human behavior is a fascinating, deeply-intriguing and challenging subject of examination not only in the field of psychological science, but emanates the observation itself within a family and community. It can be said that human behavior is the bulwark of societal development and a never-ending influence to the destiny of an individual. The human behavior patterns the cycle of influence through perception-expression process.

From this point of view, language is the most conveyed interaction of human behavior. The psychology of language is a meaningful and motivating exploration of cognitive thoughts adherent to guiding and developing a human behavior that signifies belongingness, progress and harmonizes cultural posterity in transnational boundaries, although in the strictest sense, psychology of language can be inversely applied in the reproach to vindicate human dogmas, greed and plunders of war.

On this day and age of integrating information technology, psychology of language is perceived to revolutionize communication exchange effective on how human behavior explicitly react and act, interacting in the fast-changing environment. In conclusion, the study on psychology of language relating the human behavior addresses the critical characteristic and role of individuals in psychosocial landscape. References Carroll, D. W. (2008). ‘Psychology of Language’. 5th Edition, Thomson Wadsworth Publishing, ISBN-10: 0-495-58730-3, ISBN-13:978-0-495-58730-9. Retrieved 22 January 2009 from http://www. ichapters. com/market/eBookAccess. html.


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