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Lecture 1

PSY270H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Frontal Lobe, Wilhelm Wundt, Confounding

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Christine Burton

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Lecture 1: Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
Learning Objectives:
Describe the historical contributions to cognitive psychology made by the first psychologists,
psychoanalysis and behaviorism.
- Psychologists
o Wilhel Wudt “truturalis: the first pshologist
Wundt investigated the elements of immediate experience via analytic introspection
(self reflection)
Developed some of the first ideas about: experimentation, attention, memory and
o William James (Functionalism): father of American Psychology
Functionalist were interested in studying the purpose of thought rather than its
Concerned with prediction and control through direct observation
- Hysteria and Hypnotism: Psychoanalysis
o Developed from a mental health perspective
o While studying the case of a woman with hysteria, Freud and his mentor, Dr. Joseph Breuer
developed a theory about unexpressed emotions
o Influence of Psychoanalysis: unconscious mind and importance of biology and society
- Behaviorism
o Between the controversy surrounding structuralism and the spectacle of psychoanalysis,
psychology needed something more scientific
o Ivan Pavlov described what would become the ground work for behaviorism.
Explain why and how psychology started to move away from behaviorism toward a cognitive
- E.C. Tolman believed behavior is not just a result of cause and effect, it is purposeful
- Noam Chomsky did not believe language could be simply a result of stimulus and response. He
argued that behaviorists were using laboratory findings in animals as an analogy for verbal behavior
but there was absolutely no evidence to support it.
- WWII was a changing point for psychology because research was needed that had practical
applications in the field. Attention, problem solving and decision making were of primary interest.
Computers were being developed that could perform tasks to replace human performance
operations are knowable
Define the 3 major perspectives in cognitive psychology
1. Representationalism: comes from the influence of computer science where information is
represented as symbols that cognitive processes can operate on
2. Embodied Cognition: is the study of cognition as we interact with the world
3. The biological Perspective: believes information is represented as patterns of activity between
interconnected neurons in a way similar to the brain
Explain the difference between different research methods used in cognitive psychology
- Case studies focus on behaviors of a distinct individual or group
- Correlational studies examine relationships between sets of dependent variables
- Experiments that test causal relationships between variables through the manipulation of
independent variables and control of the conditions under which the dependent variables are
o Quasi- eperiets: the idepedet ariale a’t e aipulated  the eperieter.
Define the important terms associated with experimental studies
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- Independent variable: manipulated by the experimenter
- Dependent variable: depends on the independent variable
- Confounding variable
- Control variables
- Representative samples
- Random Samples
List and describe the most frequently used response measures in cognitive psychology
- Two dependent variables: Accuracy and reaction time
o Accuracy- percentage of correct responses
o Reaction Time- how fast subjects make a response to a stimulus
- Cognitive neuroscientists use neural imaging to examine brain function during cognitive tasks so
their dependent variable is frequently brain activity.
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