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Ch 8 Thinking and Intelligence.doc

Course Code
PSYC 100
Daniel Levitin

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Ch 8 Thinking and Intelligence
How Does the Mind Represent Information?
Some thoughts, generate images in our heads, others words
spoken, some pulled fully formed without any conscious
awareness of where they came from
The brain represents information and that the act of thinking-
cognition-is directly associated with manipulating these
Analogical representations: have some characteristics of (and
are therefore analogous to) actual objects-includes maps which
correspond to geographical layouts and family trees, which depict
relationships between relatives
Symbolic representations: words or ideas are abstract and do
not have relationships to physical qualities of objects in the world
A. Mental Images Are Analogical Representations
Cooper and Shepard: participants shown lettes and numbers,
asked to determine whether each object was in its normal
orientation or mirror image, longest reaction time is fully upside
Participants had mentally rotated representations of the objects or
“view” the objects in their upright positions
Stephen Kosslyn and his colleagues, visual imagery is associated
with activity in visual perception (primary visual cortex), the same
brain areas activatd hen we view something are active when we
think in images
The representation of that picture in your mind’s eye parallels the
representation in your brain the first time you saw the picture
The mental image is not perfectly accurate: corresponds generally
to the physical object it represents
1) Limits of Analogical Representation
The regularization of irregular shapes in memory is a
shortcut we use unconsciously for keeping information
in memory
While generally useful such shortcuts can lead to
B. Concepts are Symbolic Representations
Our symbolic representations consists of words, which can
represent abstract ideas in a succinct verbal form
Grouping things based on shred properties, categorization,
reduces the amount of knowledge we must hold in memory and is
therefore an efficient way of thinking
Concept: a mental representation that groups/categorizes
objects, events, or relations around common themes

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a concept ensuresthat we do not have to store every instance of
an object, a relation, or a quality or dimension individually-instead
we store an abstract representation based on the properties that
particular items or particular ideas share
defining attribute model: the idea that a concept is
characterized by a list of features that are necessary to determine
if an object is a member of the category, fails to capture many key
aspects of how we organize things in our heads
1) suggests that membership within a category is on al all or
none basis, but in reality we often make exceptions in our
categorization ex: birds can fly, penguins are birds
2) also states that all of the given category’s attributes are
equally salient in terms of defining that category, however some
attributes are more important for defining membership than
others but that the boundaries between categories are much
fuzzier than the defining attribute model suggests
3) all members of a category are equal in category
membership-no one item is a better fit than any other
prototype model: “best example” an approach to object
categorization that is based on the premise that within each
category. Some members are more representative than others
+ allows for flexibility in the representation of concepts
- particular prototype can be chosen for different reasons
Exemplar model: information stored about the members of a
category is used to determine category membership-all examples
of exemplars of category members form the concept
the exemplar model assumes that through experience people
form a fuzzy representation of a concept because there is no
single representation of any concept, account for the observation
that some category members are more prototypical than others:
the prototypes are simply members we have encountered more
C. Schemas Organize Useful Information about Enviornments
different class of knowledge called schemas, enables us to
interact with the complex realities of our daily environments
schemas help us perceive, organize and process information
Roger Schank and Robet Abelson have referred to these schemas
about sequences as scripts
Gender roles, the prescribed behaviors for females and males, are
one type of schema, operate at the unconscious level
We employ schemas because (a) common situations have
consistent attributes (b) people have specific roles within
situational contexts

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Unintended consequences: reinforcing sexist/racist beliefs, scripts
dictate appropriate behaviors and what we ciew as appropriate is
shaped by culture
Adaptive value: minimize the mounts of attention required to
navigate familiar environments, recognize and avoid unusual or
dangerous situations
Mental representations in all forms assist us in using information
about objects and events in adaptive ways
How Do We Make Decisions and Solve Problems?
-reasoning, decision making, and problem solving are used
interchangeably but there are differences
-reasoning: you determine if a conclusion is valid using information you
belive is true
Decision making: select among alternatives, usually by identifying
important criteria and determining how well each alternative satisfies
these criteria
Problem solving: overcome obstacles to move from a present state to
a desired goal state
A. People Use Deductive and Inductive Reasoning
Deductive reasoning: reason from general to specific
Inductive reasoning: reason from the specific to general
1) Deductive Reasoning
You use logic to draw specific conclusions under
certain assumptions or premises
Tasks are often presented as syllogisms, logical
arguments containing premises (stmts) and a
Syllogisms can be conditional or categorical
Conditional syllogism-the argument takes the form if A
is true then B is true “if then” reasoning; reasoner can
come up with a valid but incorrect conclusion if the
premises use terms inconsistently or ambiguously
categorical syllogism-the logical argument contains
two premises and a conclusion which can be
determined to be wither valid or invalid, takes form All
A are B, All B are C, therefore all A are C; our prior
beliefs (schemas) about typical events and typical
situations can influence our performances on
reasoning tasks, ideas will influence what conclusions
you are willing to accept as valid
difference between valid conclusion and truth, in
deductive reasoning a conclusion follows logically
from its premises, it is valid but may or may not be
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