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Lecture 3

PSYC 2700 Lecture 3: Information Theory & Cognitive Psychology

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Carleton University
PSYC 2700
Jordan Richard Schoenherr

PSYC 2700 Information Theory Cognitive Psychology *All content belongs to Jordan Richard Schoenherr where cited in lecture slides* Origins Importance of Information Theory: Information theory = foundation of cognitive psychology o Whether researchers explicitly aware of it or not, tenets of info theory permeate all of our research Basic understanding of info theory, its utility, its limitation = required o Has parallels in cognitive neuroscience Information Theory: Channel Transmitter > channel (w noise) > receiver Note behaviourist appearance: SR relationship (S = transmitters msg, x; R = recipients msg, y; channel = black box) Historical Origins: Hartley 1920s: telecommunication companies sought balance bw rate of transmission intelligibility o Hartley (1928) defined amount of info contained within msg as: of available symbols E.g., binary (1, 0) has 2 or alphabetic (AZ) has 26 In English, approximately 1,025,109.8 words (as of Jan. 2014) of symbols in particular msg E.g., sentences can be short, or long depending on msg Note: focus = form of msg ( of symbols, set of possible symbols), not content Information Theory: Example Message 1: o The Cat was lazy Although of available symbols = large (all possible words; > 1 mill.), only 4 contained within msg Losing half still gives us reasonably accurate sense of meaning Message 2: o The Plumber was antisocial but that was okay because he wasnt violent. Same of symbols available, but many more required to successfully transmit msg Historical Origins: Shannon 1940s: Shannons (1948) approach o Focus: structure organization (i.e. negative entropy) linking it w physical laws o Terms developed from cryptography: info was encoded, then decoded o Applied to rate of transmission, channel capacity, signalnoise discrimination
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