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Lecture

PSY270H1 Lecture Notes - Noam Chomsky, Little Albert Experiment, Cognitive Psychology


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY270H1
Professor
Gillian Rowe

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1. Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive psychology: Scientific study of the mind
Properties and mechanisms of the mind
<Cognitive Psychology: Studying the Mind>
*WHAT IS THE MIND?
- memory, problem solving, and making decisions
The mind
creates and controls mental functions such as perception, attention, memory, emotions,
language, deciding, thinking, and reasoning
(Mental abilities)
Cognition (what the mind does)
-
Representations
of the world to act within it to achieve goals
(e.g. healthy mind = normal, nonfunctioning mind = abnormal)
Operations and functions (creates representations and enables us to act and to achieve goals)
- Beauty of mind
Products considered extraordinary
*STUDYING THE MIND: EARLY WORK IN COGNIVITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
- 1800s: mind cant be studied bc cant be measured
- Donders (1868): Founding of 1st cognitive psychology lab
Donders’ Pioneering Experiment: How Long Does It Take to Make a Decision?
- Reaction time: How long it takes to respond to presentation of a stimulus
- Simple reaction time task: Light ON Push J
- Choice reaction time task: Left Light Push J & Right Light Push K
- CRT takes longer than SRT by 1/10th sec
CRT needs additional time to make a decision (Light Perceive AND Decide button Press)
(SRT: Light Perceive Press)
- IMPORTANCE:
1st cognitive psychology experiment
Shows that mental responses must be
inferred
from behavior
Mental response X measured, but inferred by measuring how long it took
Ebbinghauss Memory Experiment: What Is the Time-Course of Forgetting?
- Nature of memory and forgetting
- Nonsense syllables presented (DAX, QEH, LUH, ZIF) for memorization in order
(a) 1st time: Learn in order
(b) 2nd time: Memorize in order without any errors. Number of trials noted
(c) After learning, delay period (almost immediate ~ 31 days)
(d) Repeat step (b)
- Savings method
Saving = [(Initial repetitions)-(Relearning repetitions)/Initial repetitions] x 100
- Results: Longer delay More relearning repetitions
- Savings (or forgetting) curve memory drops rapidly for the first 2 days after initial learning and then
levels off
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- Importance: Memory can be quantified as function. Behavior determined property of mind
Wundts Psychology Laboratory: Structuralism and Analytic Introspection
- Structuralism: Our overall experience is determined by combining basc elements of experience the
structuralists called sensations
- Periodic table of mind
- Analytic introspection: Trained participants described their experiences and thought processes in
response to stimuli
E.g. Five-note chord on piano Do participants hear five notes as single unit or individual?
William James: Principles of Psychology
- Textbook based on introspections about the operation of his own mind
- Thinking, consciousness, attention, memory, perception, imagination, and reasoning
<Abandoning the Study of the Mind>
*WATSON FOUNDS BEHAVIORISM
- John Watson dissatisfied with method of analytic introspection
Extremely variable results from person to person
Difficult to verify bc interpreted in terms of invisible inner mental processes
- Rejects introspection and consciousness (Unobservable processes such as thinking, emotions, reasoning)
- Study the directly observable behavior
Topic shifts from mind behavior (no reference to mind)
- Little Albert experiment
9 month-old-boy: rat + loud noise presented. Eventually becomes afraid of rat
No reference to mind needed. (Stimulus Behavior)
- Classical conditioning: pairing one stimulus with one another, previously neutral stimulus causes changes in
the response to the neutral stimulus
Ivan Pavlovs experiment: bell + food bell only causes salivation in end
*SKINNERS OPERANT CONDITIONING
- Strengthening of behavior by positive reinforcement
Reinforcing rat with food for pressing bar increased rate of pressing a bar
Focused only on relationship between stimuli and response (No mind)
*SETTING THE STAGE FOR THE REEMERGENCE OF THE MIND IN PSYCHOLOGY
- Tolman: Used behavior to infer mental processes
- Rat placed in maze
Initially explores maze
Rat learns to turn right to obtain food (B) when starts at A
Rat turns left when starts at C to obtain food (B)
- WHY? Cognitive map, conception of the mazes layout, developed in initial exploration
- Skinner argued that children learn language through operant conditioning
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