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PSYC 2P20 (23)

Jan 7

6 Pages

Course Code
Gillian Dale

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PSYC 2P20: January 7, 2014 Intro to Cognition  What is Cognitive Psychology? • Cognition: o The collection of mental processes and activities used in perceiving,  learning, remembering, thinking and understanding, and the act of using  those processes • Cognitive psychology: o Scientific study of human thought and the mental processes that give rise  to behavior o Ex. perception, attention, memory, decision making, etc. Different Levels of Investigation • Low level  ▯automatic • High level  ▯conscious, active Approaches to Cognitive Psychology • Experimental cognitive psychology • Computational modeling/ cognitive science • Cognitive neuroscience  • Cognitive neuropsychology • Often incorporated with other approaches or sub­disciplines  Experimental Psychology • The “heart” of psychology • Based on experimentation o Behavioral  ▯responding to stimulus, observing behavior in response to  stimulus (not the internal processes)  o Allow the understanding of behavior at a basic level in an inexpensive  way • Artificial vs. naturalistic o Ecological validity  ▯results found in the lab may not generalize to the real  world o Using controlled conditions can limit extraneous factors  • Theoretical vs. practical  o Theoretical  ▯research for the sake of research o Practical  ▯use theoretical knowledge to inform practical application Experimental Psychology • Two measurements used: o Speed or RT (ex. does beer slow reaction time  ▯larger point means worse  reaction time)  o Accuracy or % correct (ex. are men or women better at remembering the  details of a story  ▯larger points mean increased accuracy)   Often used for memory, attention  Experimental Psychology  • One can manipulate the experiment to create differences or work with natural,  individual differences  • Stimuli  ▯change in color, change in type of words used etc. • Motivation  ▯pay participants, revenge etc. Experimental Psychology • Control over external factors and control within the experiment itself, aids in  precision • Simple to run a behavioral experiment (quick, not invasive, easy to design,  inexpensive)  • Do not necessarily know about the time course of processes in the brain or where  in the brain these processes are occurring  • Lack of ecological validity  • Combination of things which could be influencing the performance Computational Neuroscience • Analogy of mind as a computer o Build computational models o Computer programs that perform a task in a specific way o Compare the computer’s pattern of performance to the pattern from human  (or related theory) o If matches, might suggest mind works in a similar way • Emerging field  • Can build these models to include a number of functions (large in scope)  • Computers may be analogous to humans, but they are not equal (particularly  because human brains vary and function differently from person to person) • Can’t take into consideration motivation, personality, emotion (differences that  strongly influence behaviors and performance on cognitive tasks) Cognitive Neuroscience • Uses the constraints, structure, and function of the human brain to inform  models of cognitive processing o What brain areas are active during what tasks? o What is the relative timing of activation in different areas? (helpful in  understanding what goes wrong when there is a deficit in someone’s  processing) o What brain areas are connected and communicate?  • Four main approaches: o Positron Emission Tomography (PET) o Function Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) o Electroencephalography (EEG) and Event­Related Potentials (ERPs) o Magneto­Encephalography (MEG) PET • Measures blood flow • Inject radioactive isotope
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