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PSY270 Lecture 1

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Christine Burton

Lecture 1: PSY270: Introduction to Cognitive Psychology Today’s Goals  Review course objectives and assessments  Understand the influences that led to the emergence of cognitive psychology  Introduce the recurring themes in cognitive psychology and this course  Introduce methods for studying cognitive psychology What is Cognitive Psychology?  Concerned with how people think …and learn, remember (and forget), speak, read, write, pay attention, solve problems, make decisions…  Cognitive psychology shares common interests with other areas of psychology and vice versa Greek Philosophy: Epistemology  What do we know and how do we gain knowledge? (aka cognitive psychology)  Rationalism  a priori truths  gain knowledge through reasoning and deduction  Empiricism  a posteriori truths  gain knowledge through observation and induction Empiricism is not Science 1 Wilhelm Wundt and Structuralism (1832-1920)  The first “psychologist”  Structuralism was the first school of thought in psychology  Investigated the elements of thought via controlled introspection  Developed some of the first ideas about:  Experimentation  Perception  Attention  Memory  Language William James and Functionalism (1842-1910)  Father of American psychology  Functionalist were interested in studying the purpose of thought rather than it‟s elements  Concerned with prediction and control through direct observation  Wrote “The Principles of Psychology” Hysteria and Hypnotism: Psychoanalysis  Developed from a mental health perspective  Charcot (1825-1893) was known to use hypnosis in the treatment of hysteria  While studying the case of a woman with hysteria, Freud and his mentor, Dr. Joseph Breuer developed a theory about unexpressed emotions  Influences of psychanalysis  Unconscious mind  Importance of biology and society Salivating Dogs: Here comes Behaviourism  Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) described what would become the groundwork for behaviourism: classical (Pavlovian) conditioning  Edward Lee Thorndike (1874-1949) set the stage for behaviourism in America 2  Law of effect: When an association is followed by a “satisfying state of affairs,” the connection is strengthened Behaviourism  John Watson (1878-1958) was concerned with behaviour as a series of stimuli and responses  Brain processes are unimportant (“mystery box”)  Animals can be a good substitute to study human behaviour  B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) developed operant conditioning  Shaping  Behaviour modification Is That All There Is?  E.C.Tolman (1886-1959) believed behaviour is not just a result of cause and effect – it is purposeful  Learning can be latent (not reward or punishment)  Albert Bandura (1925- ) demonstrated that we don‟t even need to act (operate) in the world to learn  We can learn by modeling others  We are motivated by imagining reinforcements 3   Noam Chomsky (1928- ) did not believe language could be simply a result of stimulus and response  Developed „generative grammar‟  Introduced idea of „universal [innate] grammar‟ Computers and Artificial Intelligence  Alan Turing (1912-1954) first proposed the Turing Machine (similar to a computer program)  Goal was to carry out what the human mind can do  Newell and Simon were among the first to design a “non-war” computer program  Logic Theorist (1956) was the first „thinking machine‟ Themes in Cognitive Psychology 1. Mental representations  We use models to infer cognitive processes 2. Bottom-up vs Top-down processing  Are cognitive processes built step-by-step or can we take short-cuts?  Do we use the information given or do we make assumptions? 3. Structure vs. Function  Should we be concerned with cognitive contents or processes? 4. The mind is in the brain  Study how the brain works  Major concern about localized vs. distributed processing 5. Modular vs. general components  Do mental operations work separately or are they controlled by a general processor? 6. The computer metaphor 4  We wanted to make computers do what humans do, but now we understand computers a lot better than the mind  Information processing account vs Parallel distributed processing (PDP) account Information-Processing View  Information is processed serially Parallel Distributed Processing  Information is processed in parallel  Uses the brain as it‟s model 5 Studying Cognitive Psychology  As with any area of psychology, researchers can study behaviour and physiology  Researchers can use a variety of research methods:  Experiments  Self-reports  Case studies  Naturalistic observation  Computer simulations Experiments and Quasi-experiments  Experiments require that the researcher controls as much of the environment as possible  Independent variable is manipulated by the experimenter  Dependent variable is measured – it depends on the independent variable  Researchers create and test hypotheses that the IV will cause a change in the DV  Researchers try to avoid confounding variables  Use as many control variables as possible  Use representative and random samples  Many (cognitive) psychology experiments are quasi-experimental  6 Lecture 2: Cognitive Neuroscience and Perception (Jan 10th) Today’s Goals  Describe structure and function of a neuron  Review major anatomical divisions of the brain  Introduce theories of object recognition  Compare object vs. facial recognition Key Themes of Anatomy 1. Structure vs. Function 1. Structure of neuron + brain, how does it function 2. Localization vs. Distributed Processing 1. Certain localized function in brain, or different areas?  study of cognitive psychology today consists of both purely behavioral experiments and experiments that consider links between behaviour and the brain  Cognitive neuroscience: the study of the physiological basis of cognition The Neuron - Neurons: building blocks and transmission lines of the nervous system - nerve net: provided a complex pathway for conducting signals uninterrupted through the network - Ramon y Cajal use
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