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Tuesday, Sept 11/2012 - Lecture 2

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PSYC 2650
Dan Meegan

PSYC 2650: Cognitive Psychology Lecture 2 Tuesday, September 11, 2012 Class ID for ZAPS access is the one that begins with 3Q42 (Not the one that begins with YQ4A) HINT:As an incentive to do the labs, they are featured prominently on the exam and midterms. What is Cognitive Psychology? • Scientific study of the human mind • Memory, thinking, cognition, attention, consciousness etc are the types of topics that will be discussed in this course • The overall study of behaviour is the definition of Psychology • Things that are going on in our mental worlds affect our behaviour • If you are observing overt behaviour, it is much easier to quantify and make conclusions than when you are assessing mental processes that are hidden to the naked eye • How, historically, have psychologists tried to solve this problem? • How do we currently solve this problem? Branches of Cognitive Psychology • Cognitive psychology can be mixed with disciplines such as philosophy, computer science, linguistics, neuroscience/biology, social sciences, clinical medicine, development • Computers do things that minds do ◦ Two ways in which comp sci is related:Artificial Intelligence, Neural Networking ◦ In artificial intelligence, the ends are the same, but the means by which the computer gets there is different ◦ Can we create computers that work in a similar way to human brains? ◦ Can we use computer models to study the brain? ◦ Neural networks can be used to simulate how the brain works • Psycholinguistics ◦ Linguists are interested in language for different reasons than psychologists • Cognitive Neuroscience ◦ Teaches us how minds arise from brains • Cognitive psychology is sometimes simply called the cognitive sciences since the approaches and interests are varied • Social Cognition ◦ Study of how people think about how we intereact with other beings ◦ The process of interaction is very complex, but invisible to the naked eye ◦ Studies how the mind works in social situations • Clinical Psychology and Medicine ◦ One of the most powerful ways to study how the brain works, is to study how the mind is affected when the brain is damaged ◦ Sometimes deficits incured are physical, but some are mental ◦ Agnosias are deficits of cognition ◦ Amnesias are deficits of memory ◦ Aphagias are deficits of language ◦ Behavioural consequences of brain damage ◦ Goals are scientific – learning about how the brain works by studying the consequences of damage • Developmental Psychology ◦ Very important, but there are whole courses at the University already devoted to it Applications • Engineering & Industrial design ◦ Human Factors, Human-computer interaction ◦ Our minds interact with our environment differently ◦ There are currently very few jobs available that do not involve interacting with a computer ◦ The computer is a fairly complicated piece of machinery so design for this interface is paramount ◦ Our minds work in certain predictable ways that make certain interfaces inherently more intuitive to use than others • Law ◦ Reliability of Memory in eyewitness testimony ◦ Understanding of repressed memory ◦ In some cases, the only evidence we have is that an individual witnessed the crime ◦ Forensic evidence is considered “hard” evidence ◦ We have all experienced memory failure – can we make life and death decisions based solely on an individual's memory ◦ In crime situations it is often in dim lighting, occurs very quickly, and is in an emotionally charged situations ◦ How do we recreate these conditions in a situation that is ethical? ◦ Repressed Memory:An adult individual, after many years of not mentioning it, suddenly accuses someone of abusing them (often sexually) ◦ Can something traumatic happen to a child that is repressed and then later remembered after decades of not remembering it? • Business/Marketing/Economics ◦ Consumer behaviour ◦ Goals could be scientific or marketing (How can we sell minds more things) ◦ If we understand how minds work, we can figure out how to sell people more stuff ◦ Prominent overlap that took many years for those fields to come together ◦ Ecomonists call this field Behavioural Economics ◦ Just like our memory fails us, our decision-making skills can also fail us as well • Clinical Psychology ◦ I know how the mind works by studying damaged minds ◦ When someone incurs that damage, now the psychologist can offer advice on how to rehabilitate or compensate for the damage Cognitive Psychology... • Attempts to break complex behaviours into their component processes • How is cognitive psychology different from other fields in psychology and science in general? • Science practists reductionist • Scientists are interested in understanding complex systems and so the natural way to understand a large system, the simplest way is to understand the component parts • Even when you know that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, it is still important that we understand the functions of the individual components • Computer science is the study of creating and understanding computer systems and psychologists have borrowed many of the language since our minds compute many things • What processes are involved in taking notes during lecture? Taking Notes • Sensation (eyes and ears) • Perception & Recognition – you have to process the information of light and sound to actually turn that sensory information into recognizable wholes ◦ Recognition: How do we take raw information and know what it is because you've seen that combination of informatio
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