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Lecture 3

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB57H3
Professor
Dwayne Pare
Semester
Fall

Description
PSYB57 Sept 18, 2013 CHAPTER 1: COGNITION AND ITS HISTORY/FIELDS The word cognition is derived from the Latin word cognoscere, meaning “to know” or “to come to know”. Cognition is therefore the activities and processes concerned with the acquisition, storage, retrieval and processing of knowledge. Cognition: activities and processes concerned with the acquisition of knowledge. What is Cognitive Psychology? It is the scientific study of how the mind works. Also the study of knowledge.  How do we study and memorize?  How do we focus our attention and concentrate?  How do we make decisions? Things which cognitive psychologists may seek to explain.  Why do we find it difficult to describe how to tie a shoelace without moving our hands or looking at our shoes?  What processes are involved in planning a trip?  How to recognize a song from the first few beats of music? H.M. H.M. was a patient who had surgery to fix epileptic surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery gave him amnesia. He could remember everything before the surgery. After the surgery, he was unable to form new memories. He could not remember that his uncle was dead and he also had very little sense of himself.  As he couldn‟t remember recent things that he had done, H.M. did not know what kind of person he was. He could have done something terrible but forgotten. A Brief History Psychology is still a young science. Before, everything was about biology or philosophy. th Pre-20 century history of cognitive psychology Aristotle – how do we classify objects into groups? Descartes – what is the relationship between mind and body? PSYB57 Sept 18, 2013 Locke – how much do environmental and genetic influences affect perception? Ebbinghaus – can we quantify how information is retained and retrieved from memory? Introspection Def.: Observing your own thoughts. „Study of within‟ This was difficult – even if we wanted to detail how to pick up a pen, we could maybe get most of our conscious thoughts about the process. However, we could not describe unconscious influences. Problems:  Thoughts are directly observable  Impossible to test objectively Behaviourism This overcame the limitations posed by introspection – it focused on observable behaviours. Uncovered principles of how behaviour changes in response to stimuli, such as rewards and punishments. Problems:  Stimulus-response accounts are not enough  Behaviour has a mental cause – why are you doing that behaviour?  Ignored emotions Different stimuli elicit the same behaviour Same stimulus elicits a different behaviour Cognitive Revolution From introspection/behaviourism, experiemental psychologists learned that:  Instrospectibe events are not scientific  But we still need to study mental events in order to understand behaviour Immanuel Kant‟s transcendental method.  Def.: look at event and determine the cause for the event Cognitive psychologists study mental events but do so indirectly PSYB57 Sept 18, 2013  Measure stimuli and responses  Develop hypothesis about mental events  Design new experiments Approaches to Cognitive Psychology Experimental Cognitive Psychology  Tightly controlled experiments carried out under lab conditions on healthy individuals  Often designed to disrupt normal functions/activity.  Hypotheses can lead to theories Limitations  Is behaviour in laboratory conditions fundamentally different to that in real world settings. Are the finding of experiments ecologically valid?  Does not look directly at brain function but rather the explicit results of brain function – something may be missed.  Tendency to negate individual differences by averaging many participant performances. Does not allow for the possibility of unique cognitive function Computational Cognitive Science Involves recreating some aspect of human cognition in the form of computer program/flow chart/formula in order to predict behaviour in novel situations. (While this is still used, it was kind of taken over by neuroscience.)  Computational models can vary in complexity from simple flow charts to highly detailed connectionist networks.  In these latter models, units
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