INTELLIGENCE & PROBLEM SOLVING
• Processes in learning leads to changes in the coding of the brain
• Only organisms w a complex brain are able to make decisions --> self-regulation
Psychological processes are embedded in biology
• Agreeing on an operational definition of intelligence is a difficult thing to do.
• Intelligence is a hypothetical construct that is difficult to measure --> we can’t directly
observe a persons intelligence.
Perspectives in psychology change the focus of research questions we pursue and the type of
answers we find
• Bounded rationality: cognitive limitations prevent humans from being fully rational.
• Most of the decisions we make are automatic, driven more by gut instincts than actual
thinking and calculating.
• Biases: mistakes that influence judgments
• Daniel Kahneman --> research 2 general way how ppl make decisions and judgments.
System 1: fast, intuitive, gut instinct, autopilot, everyday decisions made by system 1.
System 2: slower, deep, effortful, complex computations, focuses on problem, only make
some decisions using system 2.
Rational decision making: Bazerman and Moore made a framework for rationally making big
1. Define the problem
2. Identify criteria necessary to make judgement
3. Weigh the criteria
4. Generate alternatives
5. Rate each alternative
6. Compute optimal decision.
Anchoring: the bias to be affected by an initial anchor, even if the anchor is arbitrary
• The size of anchor matters, it affects answer.
Framing: the bias to be systematically affected by the way in which information is presented.
• Positive farm --> 200 ppl saved
• Negative frame --> 200 ppl die LANGUAGE
Grammar: clear rules; including syntax and morphology
Lexicon: meaningful descriptions of the world
• Language represents things that are important to a culture. Related to cultural values.
• Taboo words activate brain areas that are associated w negative emotion --> right brain
• Basal ganglia related to production of swear words
• Amygdala is activated when some swears at us
• Swearing can be used as a weapon. Forces a listener to think about an unpleasant (or
emotionally charged) thought
Content of swearing:
1. The supernatural (damn, hell, for Pete's sake)
• More potent in religious societies, evokes emotions of awe and fear
1. Body and effluvia (shit, piss, asshole, snot, bloody)
• Effluvia are major vectors of disease
• Evokes emotion of disgust
1. Disease, death, and sickness (a pox on you, a plague 'n both your houses)
• Evokes emotion of dread
1. Sexuality (fuck, screw, dick)
• Exploitation, illegitimacy, incest, jealousy, cuckoldry, desertation, abuse
Euphemism: we have to talk about this for a while for a specific purpose, but let's avoid
thinking about how awful it is
Dysphemism: I want you to think about just how awful this is
• Shit vs feces; fuck vs copulate
Emphatic swearing: used to emphasize a point. Eg: this is really fucking brilliant
Cathartic swearing: a response to stress. Rage-circuit theory
• Mammals make angry noise when injured or confines to startle attackers
• Humans triggers language system when hurt or upset, use aggressive words w negative
Humans are prone to strong negative emotions
• Awe of supernatural, disgust of body effluvia, dread of disease, revulsion at depraved
Nonetheless, people sometimes want to impose these thoughts on others: • Gain their attention
• Intimidate, humiliate
• Remind them of the awfulness of the objects and activities
The study of how humans use words reveals:
1. All species communicate but language is special.
2. It’s important to get a second opinion before getting a tattoo.
3. Developing a language is a full time job
4. Humans are guided by emotions
CATEGORIES & CONCEPTS
• Ability to form categories and concepts allows efficient navigation through the world
1. Subordinate (low chance of accuracy, high predictive power)
2. Basic level (higher chance for accuracy)
3. Superordinate level (v accurate, low predictive power)
• Expertise determines speed of category
• As a novice you are faster at reacting to a basic level of categorization
• As an expert categorizing at a superordinate level will be the same speed as basic level
• Aconcept is represented by a prototypical item which has central tendency
• Anew exemplar is classified by its similarity to the prototype. The closer it is to your
prototype the faster you will classify it.
• The prototype in your head might not exist in the real world
• Typicality influences verification times.
• Humans effortlessly categorize, cognitive trait that only humans have
• Typicality effect shows a graded structure to classification
• Prototypes can be directly formed through instruction or indirectly through inductive
• We are exposed to countless exemplars and we develop a