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PSYC 101 Lecture Notes - Base Rate, Confirmation Bias, Asthma

Course Code
PSYC 101
Barbara Cox

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Chpt. 11 Thinking
Cognition- mental activity associated with processing, understanding and communication info
Cognitive Psychology
the study of these mental activities:
Concept formation
problem solving
decision making
judgement formation
study of both logical and illogical thinking
Reasoning is Problem Solving- starting with a set of facts or premises
Deductive reasoning- what, if any, conclusions necessarily follow?
Inductive reasoning- what is the probability that those conclusions (or hypotheses) are true?
Convergent thinking- all of the data/ info lead to one correct answer
Divergent thinking- data can be combined in different ways to come to different answers, thought to be one of the
measures of creativity
i.e. how many different uses can you find for a break (other than building things)?
Problem Solving
Insight- Sudden and often novel realization of the solution to a problem
Contrasts with strategy-based solutions
Ah-ha moment
Wolfgang Kohler’s experiment on insight by a chimpanzee
Chimpanzee had a moment of insight where he piled up boxes to reach bananas high up, which he
couldn’t reach before
Remote Associates Test- a task that gives the feeling of insight when you solve each problem
i.e. what word goes with stool, powder, ball -> foot
Solving problems of “logical form”
Logic is a formal system of rules of inference (algorithms) for evaluating the validity of arguments that draw
conclusions from premises
2 types of logic problems: conditional or categorical
Conditional- premises: if P, then Q, P is true, conclusion: Q is true
Categorical- premises: all A are B, some Bare C, conclusion: some A are C
Algorithm- methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular problem
contrasts with the usually speedier but also more error-prone use of heuristics
Heuristic- rule of thumb strategy that often allows us to make judgements & solve problems efficiently
Can be subjected to bias and error due to use of shortcuts which must emphasize some info and ignore
other info
Such errors can affect an form of reasoning
Sometimes we are unaware we are using heuristics
Concept- a mental grouping of similar objects, events or people
Organized in hierarchies, from bigger to smaller categories i.e. animals divided into vertebrates &
invertebrates, so on
Simple concept type meaning there is only one feature or one rule
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