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

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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>
- 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)
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
- 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)
1st cognitive psychology experiment
Shows that mental responses must be
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>
- 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
- 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)
- 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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