PSYB57H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Preconscious, Stroop Effect, Iceberg

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16 Apr 2012

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PSYB57 - Week 12
Problem Solving, Conscious Thought, and Unconscious Thought
Problem Solving
-What can we learn about problem solving by examining how experts solve problems?
- How do we use analogies to help solve problems?
- What is inductive reasoning, and what brain regions are involved in inductive reasoning?
- How Experts Solve Problems
Organization by deep, abstract
Experts encode information more
efficiently chess board, mess the pieces
up and possibilities, the experts slope
down to the level of novices
Experts employ a forward search through problem space, movies more likely to work backwards
Experts tend to look at
symptoms and make diagnoses
Med students tend to diagnose
first and then find evidence to
- Solving Problems through
5 subprocesses
1. Retrieval Have problem and don’t
know how to solve
i.e. something is wrong with
computer could be a virus (from biological science)
2. Mapping Structures work? Are there enough elements to map out
3. Evaluation Pull out unimportant, keep the vital
4. Abstraction
5. Predictions
One of the first cognitive investigations of problems solving by analogy was conducted by Gick and Holyoak
Gick and Holyoak (1980)
1. Problem 1: A general wishes to capture a fortress located in the center of a country. There are many roads
radiating outward from the fortress. All have been mined. Although small groups of men can pass over the roads
safely, any large force will detonate the mines. A full-scale direct attack is therefore impossible. What should the
general do?
2. Problem 2: Imagine that you are a doctor treating a patient with a malignant stomach tumour. You cannot
operate on the patient because of the severity of the cancer. But, unless you destroy the tumour somehow, the
patient will die. You could use high-intensity X-rays to destroy the tumour. Unfortunately, the intensity of the X-rays
needed to destroy the tumour also will destroy healthy tissue through which the X-rays must pass. X-rays of lesser
intensity will spare the healthy tissue, but they will be insufficiently powerful to destroy the tumour. Your problem
is to figure out a procedure that will destroy the tumour without also destroying the healthy tissue surrounding the
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- Scientific Hypothesis Testing: Critical Brain
Fugelsang & Dunbar (2005): mechanisms
involved in scientific hypothesis testing
simulate scientific testing
taking pill to be happy antidepressant or
Parahippocampal gyrus and caudate
Inconsistent anti-depression no mood, there
was active in other areas listed
Activity Frontal areas and anterior cingulate
cortex (activated in CONFLICT i.e. colour
Stroop Task)
- Conscious and Unconscious Processing
When are we aware and what parts of the brain
are activated when people are aware of these
Shift attention to shift awareness
i.e. sitting in class for 45 minutes but aren’t aware of this fact until you think about it
a neural correlate
The hard part is the emotion that goes with it
First person issue - introspection
Consciousness is state of awareness of sensation or ideas, such that we can reflect ton them, know what it’s like
to experience them and sometimes report to others that we ware of them
From what consciousness is for to what it is
What is consciousness?
How does it function?
How does the brain make consciousness possible?
Possible Model of Relation Between Attention and Awareness LIKE Broadbent’s Model (sensory though), not
the model we will ultimately accept
- The Cognitive Unconscious
Our intellectual lives requires an elaborate support structure
This behind the scenes activity is the “cognitive unconscious”
In many cases, we are aware only of the products of this processing, not the processes themselves
Influences of Unconscious Attributions
Unconscious thinking can sometimes be quite sophisticated and complex
i.e. causal attribution (Nisbett and Schater [1966] electric shock experiment brought people in and
experience electric shock and went high and higher till the person wanted to end. ½ were given placebo
pill, but people were told properties (analegesic, stomach funny, feel anxious). These are all symptoms of
electric shocks. People were given pill that was x4 higher before ending the experiment?
WHYYYYYY? They weren’t aware of the pill, but they were afraid of the shocks). The pill had some
unconscious effect on the results. Attribute of shocks to pill.
Seems useful to distinguish b/;w the unconscious processes involved in thought and the conscious products
that result from these processes
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