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PSYC2650 Textbook notes 1.docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2650
Dan Meegan

PSYC2650 – Textbook Notes CH 1 - Cognitive psychology first understood as scientific study of knowledge huge range of our actions, thoughts, and feelings depend on knowledge o Scientific study of acquisition, retention, and use of knowledge - H.M.’s memory loss was an unanticipated by-product of brain surgery intended to control his epilepsy no trouble remembering events prior to surgery, but unable to recall any event after - We have conception of who we are/what sort of person we are support by memories o Without a memory there is no self - Our self-concept depends on our knowledge (episodic knowledge in particular) - Emotional adjustments rely on memories o Ability to understand a story we’ve read, a conversation, or any of our experiences depends on supplementing the experience with some knowledge - (Wundt and Titchener) psychology concerned largely with study of conscious mental events (feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and recollections) o the only person who can experience or observe your thoughts is you Introspect – “look within”, to observe and record the content of our own mental lives and sequence of our own experiences  could not be casual has to be meticulously trained given vocabulary to describe observations, trained to be as careful/complete as possible, and report experience with minimum interpretations  problems: some thoughts are unconscious introspection limited as a research tool (study conscious experiences) o remembering requires complex series of steps that take place outside of awareness no way to explain these processes  testability of claims is often unattainable no objective facts o need observations not dependent on particular point of view of descriptive style - data concerned with behaviour = objective data o stimuli in the world are in the same “objective” category measurable, recordable, physical events o can record how patterns of behaviours changes with passage of time and with accumulation of experience learning history can be objectively recorded and scientifically studied o beliefs, wishes, goals, and expectations (“mentalistic” notions) cannot be directly observed or objectively recorded can only be studied via introspection  scientific psychology needs to avoid these internal processes/events Behaviourist – how our behaviour changes in response to difference configurations of stimuli (inc. rewards and punishments learning theory)  problems: a lot of our behaviour could not be explained only with reference to objective, overt events (i.e. stimuli and responses) o can easily show that the way people act, things they say, and way they feel are guided by how they understand/interpret the situation (vs. the objective situation itself)  misunderstand why people act as they do, make wrong predictions about how they will behave in the future o demands we not talk about mental entities (i.e. beliefs, memories, etc.) because there is no way to study these directly/scientifically o but these subjective entities play a pivotal role in guiding behaviour must consider to understand behaviour - stimuli physically different from each other have similar effects; vice versa stimuli physically similar to each other have different effects o sometimes meaning derives easily from words, other times meaning depends on certain pragmatic rules to predict behaviour, need to understand meaning of stimuli - how people act is shaped by how they perceive the situation, how they understand the stimuli, etc. o we need to talk about the mental world if we hope to explain behaviour Transcendental method – (Kant) begin with observable facts and work backwards; “inference to best explanation”; does not rely on direct observation o in science, allows reproduction of experiments and varying of experiments to test hypotheses allows assertion that hypotheses have been rigorously tested and assurance that theories are correct o applied to explain how we remember, make decisions, pay attentions, solve problems o particular performance (i.e. memory task) hypothesize series of unseen mental events that made the performance possible ask whether some other sequence of events might explain the data/other findings + seek best way to think about the data  hypothesis testing by collecting more data; seek to derive new predictions Working memory – used for information actively working on; holds info in an easily accessible form o small capacity, holds only few items no problem locating Span test – measure working memory’s capacity; read list of items report back immediately in sequence if succeed try again with more items, etc. until can’t report back  generally people start making errors with sequences of 7 or 8 items  common errors: people substitute one letter for another with a similar sound o (Baddeley and Hitch) working memory is not a single entity working-memory system Central executive – runs the show, does the real work  Helped out by a # of low-level “assistants” useful for mere (temporary) storage of info (i.e. scrap paper to record info to remember)  Does work on info (i.e. interpretation, analysis)  Needed once per cycle to launch next round of subvocalization o For remainder of cycle #s are maintained by rehearsal loop (not executive free to focus on other activities) Articulatory rehearsal loop – one of low-level assistants which draws on sub- vocalized (covert) speech serves to create record in phonological buffer o Materials in buffer then fade but can be refreshed by another cycle of covert speech initiated by working memory’s central executive Subvocalization – go through motions of speaking, or form detailed motor plan for speech movements without making sound Phonological buffer – part of mechanisms ordinarily needed for hearing o Difficult to use in noisy environment  People make “sound-alike” errors in a span task because they’re relying on the rehearsal loop which involves 1 mechanism (“inner voice”) used for overt speech + one (“inner ear”) used for actual hearing  Memory items briefly stored as internal representations of sounds o Span test stores some to-be-remembered items in loop + other items via central executive Concurrent articulation – task of span test + simultaneously using mechanisms for speech production (i.e. saying “tah-tah-tah” repeatedly) mechanisms not available for other use, inc. sub-vocalization o Cannot sub-vocalize one sequence while overtly vocalizing something else o Loop not available for use measuring capacity of working memory without rehearsal loop o Easy, but cuts memory span drastically drops span to 3 or 4 items o Eliminates sound-alike errors with visually presented items o Can test people’s memory spans using complex visual shapes shapes not easily named cannot be rehearsed via the inner-voice/-ear combo (how would you vocalize these?)  No use of rehearsal loop = no cost attached to denying the use of the loop o Blocks use of loop but has no effect on ability to read brief sentences, do logic problems, etc.  can present string of 3 or 4 letters and ask to remember while solving simple problem, then report back original letters half-filling working memory has virtually no impact on problem-solving; performance as fast and accurate  because memory load is accommodated within rehearsal loop no burden on executive (needed for problem-solving) - varying forms of data (related to performance): can manipulate research participants’ activities, stimuli themselves; look at nature of performance, measure speed of performance, etc. Cognitive neuroscience – study of biological basis for cognitive functioning o insights into working memory by considering biological mechanisms Anarthria – neurological damage = unable to move muscles = unable to speak/produce speech o show sound-alike confusions in data (like ordinary participants) actual muscle movements not needed for sub-vocalization  “inner speech” probably relies on brain areas responsible for planning muscle movements of speech Neurology – how various forms of brain dysfunction influence observed performance - When participant is engaged in working-memory rehearsal, activity observed in brain areas involved in production + perception and understanding of spoken language o “inner voice” uses mechanisms used for overt speech; “inner ear” uses mechanisms used for actual hearing - Deaf rely on different assistant for working memory use inner hand (and cover sign language; vs. inner voice and covert speech) o Disrupted if asked to wiggle fingers (vs. saying “tah-tah-tah”) during memory task; tend to make “same-hand-shape” (vs. sound-alike) errors in working memory - It’s been suggested that “intelligence” = excess capacity in working memory CH 2 (pg 25-30) - Cognitive psychologists rely on many sorts of findings (i.e. response times, error rates, questionnaire responses) no one source is more important than others; all contribute - Functioning of brain dependent on many interconnected systems o Damage = specific and sometimes highly disruptive symptoms Capgras syndrome – one of accompaniments to Alzheimer’s syndrome sometimes observed among elderly; can result from various injuries to the brain o Fully able to recognize people in their world (i.e. husband, parents, friends) but convinced these people are not who they appear to be  Afflicted person insists these people have been kidnapped (or worse) recognized person is not the genuine one, instead well-trained, well-disguised impostor  Insist there are slight differences between impostor and replaced person  No else detects differences = compounds bewilderment of Capgras sufferer paranoid suspicions; in some instances murder supposed impostor o Facial recognition = system that leads to cognitive appraisal (“I know what my father looks like + can perceive that you closely resemble him”) + more global, somewhat emotional appraisal (“You look familiar to me + trigger warm response in me”)  Concordance of both appraisals = certainty of recognition  Emotional processing is disrupted in Capgras syndrome intellectual identification without familiarity response Neuro-imaging techniques – allow researchers to take high-quality, 3D “pictures” of living brains without disturbing brains’ owners o i.e. PET scans tell about structure of brain, inc. abnormalities in brain tissue  link between Capgras syndrome + abnormalities in right temporal lobe disrupts circuits involving amygdala – serves as “emotional evaluator”; helps detect stimuli associated with threat or danger o important for detecting positive stimuli, indicators of safety or available rewards o essential for making judgement of familiarity + emotional attachment feeling o i.e. fMRI allows to track moment-by-moment activity levels in different sites in living brain can draw conclusions about brain area’s function  brain abnormalities of Capgras syndrome also in right prefrontal cortex  schizophrenia shows diminished activity in frontal lobes whenever experiencing hallucinations reflects decreased ability to distinguish internal events (thoughts) from external (voices), or imagined events from real  Capgras patients may be less able to keep track of what is real/plausible vs. not weird beliefs can emerge (inc. delusions) - Evidence confirms recognition has 2 separate parts: one hinges on factual knowledge + one’s more “emotional” and tied to warm sense of familiarity o Damage to amygdala = why Capgras patients experience no sense of familiarity  To prefrontal cortex = why Capgras patients experience crazy hypotheses about their skewed perception - Other evidence suggests the amygdala plays central part in helping people remember emotional events; role in decision-making (esp. Decisions that rest on emotional evaluations) (pg 33-36) Lesion – specific area of damage o On hippocampus = memory problems, but not language disorders o On occipital cortex = problems in vision, but not other sensory modalities o consequences depend on hemisphere damaged left of frontal lobe = disruption of language use; right side of frontal lobe doesn’t Split-brain patients – undergone surgery that severed corpus callosum, disrupting communication between hemispheres o visual info doesn’t reach brain sites in left hemisphere that control speech can’t say presented picture; can sketch appropriate drawing in response to picture Neuro-imaging – allows to take precise 3D pictures of brain Computerized axial tomography (CT scans) – use x-rays to study brain’s anatomy  map of brain tells what structures are where Positron emission tomography (PET scans) – provide precise assessment of how blood is flowing through each region of the brain used to study brain’s functioning  when particular brain area more active, it needs/receives greater blood flow  rely on photon detectors  map of brain tells about activity levels Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – relies on magnetic properties of atoms that make up brain tissue detailed pictures of brain Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) – measures oxygen content in blood flowing through each region of the brain accurate index of level of neural activity in the region  precise picture of brain’s moment-by-moment activities o CT scans and MRI results relatively stable change only if person’s brain structure changes (i.e. injury)  PET or fMRI scans highly variable results depend on task being performed Fusiform face area (FFA) – highly responsive to faces; much less to other visual stimuli Parahippocampal place area (PPA) – responds actively whenever pictures of places are in view Binocular rivalry – visual system unable to handle both stimuli (face + house) at once or to fuse them into a single complex perception visual system flip-flops between BOLD signal – blood oxygenation level dependent; measures how much oxygen the blood’s hemoglobin is carrying in each part of the brain quantitative basis for comparing activity levels - We can use brain scans as means of studying some of the bases for conscious awareness - Neuro-imaging limits: data tell us whether brain area’s activity is correlated with particular function, but we need other data to ask whether the brain sites play a role in causing that function o Data usually come from study of brain lesions damage to brain site disrupts function = indication that the site plays some role in supporting that function Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – creates series of strong magnetic pulses at specific location on scalp = temporary disruption in small brain region directly underneath this scalp area (51-52) Binding problem – task of reuniting various elements – initially dealt with by different systems in different parts of the brain – of a scene CH 3 (pg 59-73) - Humans vision is the dominant sense brain area devoted to vision > any other senses Form perception – process through which you manage to see basic shape and size of an object Object recognition – process through which you identify what the object is o Crucial for learning and memory must combine new info with previously learned info o Categorization to combine and integrate Gestalt psychologists – perception of visual world organized in ways that the stimulus input is not organization must be contributed by perceiver o Perceptual whole is different from the sum of its parts Necker cube – ambiguous figure more than one way to perceive it o Perception not neutral perceive cube as having one configuration or the other perception goes beyond info given by specifying an arrangement in depth Figure/ground organization – determination of what is figure (object against background) and what is ground perception not neutral (i.e. vase vs. profiles) - Interpretation/organization of input before cataloguing input’s basic features o Cataloguing of input’s features depends on form organization by viewer feature = “in the eye of the beholder” o Can provide/fill in missing features through interpretation and extrapolation o features govern interpretation but features found depend on how figure is interpreted - brain relies on parallel processing brain areas analyzing pattern’s basic features (fine-grain) + pattern’s large-scale configuration interact - perceptual organization = immediate impressions of the stimulus recognize or not o familiarity depends on the figure perceived figure + specifications added by perceiver  changed specifications = lost familiarity - interpretation (organization of figure/ground) must fit with all incoming stimulus info o perceptual system prefers simplest explanation of stimulus  avoids interpretations that involve coincidences - recognition of various objects is influenced by the context in which the objects are encountered o many objects recognized by virtue of their parts [relevant] features in input pattern  features we use are present in our organized perception of the input/forms - advantages of feature-based system: features such as line segments and curves could serve as general-purpose building blocks o people can recognize many variations on objects (i.e. different handwriting) o features have priority in our perception of the world Visual search task – participants indicate whether certain target is present in display  single prominent feature = easy visual system does not have to inspect each figure to determine whether it has relevant properties o difference between angles and curves jumps out immediately; differences in colour, orientation, etc. o detection of features = separate, early step in object recognition then features assembled into more complex wholes Integrative agnosia – damage to parietal cortex; normal in tasks to detect whether particular features are present in a display  impaired in tasks that require to judge how features are bound together to form complex objects  similar results in studies where transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) used to disrupt portions of brain in healthy individuals o disruption of parietal love = no impact on p
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