Set #6 (Lectures 14, 15 & 16)
March 4 , 2010
Chapter 7 will be covered in the review session for the next midterm
There is good news and bad news about the definitions on the midterms: they are here to stay
on the midterms. This is because this is the type of questions that we will be encountering in
higher level course (but in essay format). The good news is that a lot of us are actually doing
quite well on them: 200 people got over 85%.
The major hiccup is that it can be difficult to come up for the reason why something is
important. To study for this, you must internalize the material and while you are reading, ask
yourself why things are important for the field of cognition. At the end of each chapter, you
will find a list of what concepts are related. This will help you figure out what is important.
Another thing that will help you is to go see your TAs: ask them for clarifications on material,
not just for why things are important.
Also, about how they are being graded: everything is consistent enough and we attempt to
make everyone graded fairly. The problem is not the people who come to complain (these
people disadvantage other students), but the people who didnt come to complain. The
professor must make sure that people who did not complain get fair treatment.
A list will be compiled of very good answers that people came up with. You can go see your
TAs to see this list. There is an answer key that was made, but relative grading is fairer. A list
of the not so good ones has also been compiled.
When you think about why its important, think about it in terms of this class. Why is it
important in this class? Try to restrict yourself to the material that has been done in this class.
We need to have everyone focused in on the material that we are doing (and not material relating to other classes).
2/3 of the people were done one hour into the exam; the exam length will not be changed. If
you are a second language student, you have to get used to the terminology. Reading the book
We should be able to handle rewording of things, because this shows that we have
comprehension of the material.
CHAPTER SEVEN: IMAGERY
Relax, close your eyes. Get yourself out of this classroom and see yourself lying on a beach. You
can see the sun, feel it, and hear the ocean. If you are doing that, you are doing mental imagery.
You are seeing pictures that are not in front of your eyes. You can imagine the sounds, take yourself
out there, and remove yourself from your current reality. This is chapter 7 which we are going to
cover today. What we see increasingly with these last few chapters is that we are moving farther
away from things like perception and memory (which were easier for us to handle) and get into
higher order cognition: mental imagery, problem solving, intelligence. What will increasingly
become apparent is that higher order cognition fundamentally rests on our perceptions and
sensations, lower order cognition and interfaces is interconnected between memory and perception.
It really rests on it critically.
When we talk about mental imagery, it can be understood as images in our head. If you form this
picture of a nice beach, its there as if you are looking at it. This is what we think when we say
mental imagery. When we talk about mental imagery, we mostly talk about it in terms of vision,
Remember when we talked about myths of vision? What were the three myths that we put up?
Seeing as a faithful record Vision is passive
The eye sees
Some theorists argue that there is another myth in visual processing and vision. That one rests on
integration of vision with thought processing. The fourth myth of vision is that there is no imageless
thought. Vision helps us think, and it aids our thinking. Thinking is what we humans presumably do
best of all the primates. It is what distinguishes us from other species. Some people would think that
thinking should be separated from perceptual processes, while others are not so sure about that.
What well see today is that thinking, or mental imagery, is almost the same as perception.
Try to answer the following question: how many windows are visible from the front door of your
residence? How did you answer that question? Did you imagine yourself walking into your
apartment, opening the door and seeing whats there? What you brain just did is that your brain ran
a visual simulation of what happens when you walk into your apartment. What if I said how many
windows are visible on your house if you fly above it in a helicopter? The simulation takes a
different perspective: you see your house from up top. We have eye monitored people while they
imagined this scenario, and we can see them making downward movement, as if they are scanning
these mental images of a house that they are seeing from a helicopter. Our brains re-create these
images from long term memory and run a simulation, and that is what your imagery is.
We can accomplish tasks like we have seen before, but we can also see images of things that we
have never seen before. What would your room look like if it was painted green? You can imagine
what it would look like and possibly decide not to paint it green. Imagery is very powerful. It aids in
certain things but then it can also hinder us. Mental conditions, like post traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD) is marked by inability to block these mental images of experiences that are highly traumatic
to us. This is an example of mental imagery that is very intruding and debilitating.