Lecture Notes Nov. 17 & 22 very detailed lecture notes from Nov. 17 & 22. This material is not in the text book

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
School
University of Waterloo
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH211
Professor
November 17 & 22, 2010 Psych 211
THIS SECTION NOT IN BOOK
Competence vs. Performance
Competence = what you know
Performance = what you do with what you know
Factors affecting performance: nervousness, alertness, memory, anxiety, hunger.
A new performance factor: Executive Functions
Executive Functions an umbrella term: it doesn’t refer to one thing, refers to a family of
things. These functions are helpful for making decisions, much like an executive of a company.
Planning
Inhibition and Impulse control e.g. the thumbs-up and pointing game.
Prepotent response = dominant response, must be inhibited (suppressed) in the hand
game.
Mental flexibility (task switching)
Rule acquisition
All these executive functions are associated with the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
There are certain tasks (tests) that were designed to assess executive functions in adults
that had had brain lesions in the prefrontal cortex. If these tests are simplified so they are
appropriate for children, major changes are seen in the preschool years.
Executive Functions tests:
Stroop task Adult version colour names are shown in a different colour ink. The
task is to read the colour of the ink that the colour name is written in: Green,
Yellow, Red.
Stroop task Children version show children a series of 16 cards, 8 cards of 2 types.
Presented in a random order. When shown a picture of the sun in a blue sky, child
must say “night”; when shown a picture of the moon in a night sky, child must say
“day”. Typical pattern for 3-year-olds is to give the prepotent response, and fail.
Typically, 5-year-olds pass this test. Children do better when shown unrelated
pictures, and still had to say “day” or “night”.
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Pattern Variations...
- Shows that failure isn’t just due to instructions
- Why is pattern version so easy?
No prepotent response...
- Dog/pig variation: when shown a picture of a sun, children must say “dog”;
when shown a picture of a moon, children must say “pig”. A lot easier to
pass. 50% pass saying “day” or “night”; 92% pass saying “dog” or “pig”.
- “Ditty” variation: sing: “Think about the answer, don’t tell me. 4-year-olds
do better (88%) on this variation than original.
Executive Functions tests (cont.):
Wisonsin Card Sorting Tasks Adult version - patients are shown cards that vary in
shapes, numbers and colours. This task involves the executive function of Rule
Acquisition. After the patient is used to matching the cards following a certain rule, the
experimenter changes the rule, and the patient must find out the new rule by trial and
error. Also involves Task Switching. Stroke patients acquire the first rule easily, but they
never get to the second rule; stuck on the first rule.
Perseveration/Perseverative Error patients get stuck in a response or rule, and can’t
switch to a new one, even when they are receiving negative feedback.
Dimensional Change Card Sorting (DCCS) Task Children version show children cards
with different pictures of solid colours. They must sort by either shape or colour. First
time, they must sort by colour, then sort by shape. When children are given the first
sorting rule, 3-year-olds do just fine. When the rule is switched, they fail. Instead of
switching to the new rule, they stick to the old rule: perseverative error. Only 42% of 3-
year-olds could switch rules, and 92% of 4-year-olds could switch rules.
Iowa Gambling Task Adult version 4 decks of cards, A, B, C, and D. A and B are “bad”
decks, and C and D are “good” decks. “Bad” decks: when you win, you win big; when
you lose, you lose big. “Good” decks: when you win, you win moderate amounts; when
you lose, you lose very little. Task is rigged so that if the “bad” decks are chosen,
participants walk away with nothing. Stroke patients who have a normal IQ, tend to stick
with the “bad” decks. When this task was simplified and tested with children, 3-year-
olds did worse than chance, and 4-year-olds did better than chance.
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Document Summary

Performance = what you do with what you know. Factors affecting performance: nervousness, alertness, memory, anxiety, hunger. Executive functions an umbrella term: it doesn"t refer to one thing, refers to a family of things. These functions are helpful for making decisions, much like an executive of a company. Inhibition and impulse control e. g. the thumbs-up and pointing game. Prepotent response = dominant response, must be inhibited (suppressed) in the hand game. All these executive functions are associated with the prefrontal cortex of the brain. There are certain tasks (tests) that were designed to assess executive functions in adults that had had brain lesions in the prefrontal cortex. If these tests are simplified so they are appropriate for children, major changes are seen in the preschool years. Stroop task adult version colour names are shown in a different colour ink. The task is to read the colour of the ink that the colour name is written in: green,

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