October 17, 2012
Module 27: Thinking
- cognition refers to mental activities and processes associated with thinking, knowing,
remembering, and communicating information
- cognition can include reasoning, judgement, and assembling new information into
- cognition also supports these other psychological processes: attention, emotion,
consciousness, perception, learning, memory, language, mental health, and social
- why are the concepts considered the building blocks of thinking?
- do other animals have thinking skills like humans do?
- what are some problem solving strategies and natural obstacles to effective problem
- a concept is a mental grouping of similar objects, events, states, ideas, and/or people,
- a concept can be represented and communicated by an image, or by a word such as
“chair”, “party”, or “democracy”
How do we form/learn concepts?
- we think we form concepts by definitions (ex. we define a triangle as an object with
- but is this actually how we form concepts?
- often, we form concepts by developing prototypes, that is, mental images of the best
example of a concept
- we tend to mold our memories and perceptions to fit pre-existing categories/concepts
When prototypes fail us:
- prototypes fail us when examples stretch our definitions, as in considering whether a
stool is a chair
- they fail us when the boundary between concepts is fuzzy, as in judging blue-green
colours or computer-blended faces
- they fail us when examples contradict our prototypes, such as considering whether a
whale is a mammal, or a penguin is a bird
- refers to the thinking we do in order to answer a complex question or to figure out how
to resolve an unfavourable s