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Psycho notes chap 8 .docx

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Ashley Waggoner Denton

Psych Notes Chapter 8  Low-probability events that are highly publicized have dire consequences (like hijackings of 9/11) can result in fears called dread risks  When reasoning about right choice to make, humans do not always weigh the actual probabilities of different actions  We can be influenced by numerous factors that might not be considered rational  Education about dread risks might prompt people to reconsider choices that could result in additional negative consequences  The way we think about info makes important differences in the quality of our lives, both individually and collectively How Does the Mind Represent Information?  How do we use acquired information?  Some people seem to be better at using information than others -> this ability is described as intelligence  Our thinking is mostly adaptive  The ability to use info rapidly is a critical human skill  The brain represents info and the act of thinking (cognition) is directly associated with manipulating these representations (ex: some thoughts generate images in our heads, others are like words spoken in our heads, others are difficult to describe because we pull them up fully formed without conscious awareness of where they came from)  We use representations to understand objects we encounter in our environments  We use 2 basic types of representations: analogical and symbolic 1. Analogical: Usually correspond to images. They have some characteristics of actual objects (ex: maps, family trees, pictures of objects…) 2. Symbolic: Usually correspond to words or ideas. They are abstract and do not have relationships to physical qualities of objects in the world  In our minds, we often “see” images without trying (if you think of a lemon, you will see a lemon in your mind)  At least some thoughts take the form of mental images  Visual imagery is associated with activity in visual perception-related areas of the brain (the primary visual cortex) -> The same brain areas are active when we think in images  When you retrieve information from memory, the representation of that picture in our mind’s eye parallels the representation in our brain the first time we saw the picture -> We have an eye that faces into the brain instead of outside to the world  Experience seems like viewing a picture inside our head  We can represent only a limited range of knowledge analogically. If something cannot be perceived wholly by our perceptual system, we cannot form a complete analogical representation of it. For ex, we are able to estimate the contours of Africa even if we have never seen them -> Mental maps involve a mixture of analogical and symbolic representations.  Our thinking reflects visual representations of the world but also our general knowledge of the world  Our symbolic representations consist of words, which can represent abstract ideas in a succinct verbal form  Our memory systems are organized so we quickly can call up information as needed. The same principle holds true when we think about objects  Categorization -> Refers to fact that we group things based on shared properties. This reduces the amount of knowledge we must hold in memory and is a more efficient way of thinking  Concept = a category or class that includes subtypes and/or individual items. A concept can consist of mental representations (ex: musical instruments), of a relation between representations (ex: violins are smaller than violas) or of a quality or dimension (ex: brightness or width)  By allowing us to organize mental representations around a common them, a concept ensures that we do not have to store every instance of an object, a relation or a quality or dimension individually. Instead we store an abstract representation based on the properties that particular items or particular ideas share  Defining attribute model of concepts -> Says that each concept is characterized by a list of features that are necessary to determine if an object is a member of a category  This model fails to capture many key aspect of how we organize things in our head however: 1. First, while membership to a category is on an all-or-none basis, this does not account for the fact that we often make exceptions in categorizations, allowing members in groups even if they do not have all the attributes or excluding them even if they have all the attributes 2. Some attributes are more important for defining membership than others and the boundaries between categories are much fuzzier than the defining attribute model suggests 3. All the members of a category are equal in category membership – no item is better fit than another  Defining attribute model -> A model in which concepts are organized hierarchically such that they can be superordinate or subordinate to each other  An alternative to the defining attribute model is the prototype model of concepts. In this model, when we think of a category, we think in terms of a “best example” or a prototype for that category. This model allows for flexibility in the representation of concepts. However, a drawback is that a prototype can be chosen for different reasons (ex: it is the most common example in the category, it is the object all others resemble the most…)  The exemplar model proposes that any concept has no single best representation – instead all the examples or exemplars of category members form the concept  Exemplar model assumes that through experience people form a fuzzy representation of a concept because there is no single representation of any concept. The exemplar model accounts for the observation that some category members are more prototypical than others: The prototypes are simple members we have encountered more often  Schemas enable us to interact with the complex realities of our daily environments  They help us perceive, organize and process information  As we move through real-world settings, we act appropriately by drawing on knowledge of what objects, behaviors and events apply to each setting. The kind of knowledge regarding situations and social contexts differs greatly situations and social contexts differs greatly from the knowledge associated with object classification  We develop schemas about the different types of real-life situations we encounter  Script theory of schemas -> Says that we tend to follow general scripts of how to behave in particular settings.  We employ schemas because: 1. Common situations have consistent attributes 2. People have specific roles within situational contexts  Schemas and scripts, like prototypes, can have unintended consequences like reinforcing sexist of racist beliefs  Gender roles (= prescribed behaviors for males and females) are a type of schema that operates at the unconscious level -> We follow them without consciously knowing we are doing so  Scripts dictate appropriate behaviors and what we view as appropriate is shaped by culture  Relational schemas influence what people expect from others in their social interactions  The schemas and scripts children learn will likely affect their behavior when they are older  Scripts and schemas minimize the amounts of attention required to navigate familiar environments. They allow us to recognize and avoid unusual or dangerous situations. Mental representations in all forms assist us in using information about objects and events in adaptive ways  Thinking about objects, events and circumstances allows us to take appropriate actions, make intelligent decisions and function efficiently in our daily lives How Do We Make Decisions and Solve Problems?  Reasoning -> When you determine if a conclusion is valid using information you believe is true  Decision making -> When you select among alternatives, usually by identifying important criteria and determining how well each alternative satisfies each criteria  Problem solving -> When you overcome obstacles to move from a present state to a desired goal state. We generally have a problem when a barrier or a gap exists between where we are and where we want to be Deductive and inductive reasoning:  Each situation requires reasoning or evaluating information, arguments and beliefs to draw a conclusion  Psychological scientists generally distinguish between deductive and inductive reasoning: 1. Deductive reasoning: You reason from the general to the specific 2. Inductive reasoning: You reason from the specific to the general  Deductive reasoning: Use logic to draw specific conclusions under certain assumptions or premises. Deductive reasoning tasks are often presented as syllogisms, logical arguments containing premises (= statements) and a conclusion. Syllogisms can be conditional or categorical: 1. Conditional -> Argument take form “If A is true then B is true” 2. Categorical -> Contains 2 premises and a conclusion which can be either valid or invalid. Takes form “All A are B. All B are C. Therefore, all A are C”. Deductive reasoning allows reasoner to determine a statement’s validity given the premises. The reasoner can come up with a valid but incorrect conclusion if the premises use terms inconsistently or ambiguously. What’s more, our prior beliefs about typical events and typical situations can influence our performances on reasoning tasks. We must therefore understand the difference between a valid conclusion and truth. In deductive reasoning, a conclusion follows logically from its premises, it is valid, but may or may not be true.  Inductive reasoning: When we determine general principles from specific examples (ex: The scientific method). In day-to-day life, however, we are usually influenced by anecdotal reports, especially when an anecdote comes from someone close to us more than a conclusion drawn from a faceless mass of research participants Decision making:  Research on decision making has been influenced by normative and descriptive models: 1. Normative models of decision making have viewed humans as optimal decision makers who always select the choice that yields the largest gain, which usually means the most money because these theories were developed from traditional economics 2. Descriptive models have tried to account for humans’ tendencies to misinterpret and misrepresent the probabilities underlying many decisions in everyday life, especially when those decisions fail to comply with the predictions of “rational behavior”. Psychologists try to understand how humans make decisions in everyday life, especially when the decisions fail to comply with the predictions of “rational” behavior. We often make decisions without taking time to consider all the possible pros and cons, processes that allow us to make decisions quickly are useful for dealing with many real-world challenges  Expected utility theory = One normative model of how humans should make decisions  Utility = The overall value for each possible outcome in a decision making scenario  According to expected utility theory, we make decisions by considering the possible alternatives and choosing the most desirable one  Heuristics = The mental shortcuts or riles of thumb people typically use to make decisions. A heuristic is an informed guide. Heuristic thinking usually occurs unconsciously; we are not aware of taking these mental shortcuts. Heuristic processing is useful partly because it allows us to focus our attention on other things since the conscious mind’s processing capacity is limited. Heuristic thinking is adaptive in that it allows us to decide quickly rather than weighing all the evidence each time we have to decide  Algorithm = A procedure that, if followed correctly, will always yield the correct answer  Representativeness heuristic = A rule for categorization based on how similar the person or object is to our prototypes for that category. It can lead to faulty reasoning however if we fail to take other information into account, such as the base rate (the frequency of an event’s occurring)  Framing = When the way info is presented alters how people perceive it. We can significantly influence decision making by emphasizing the potential losses or potential gains  Prospect theory accounts for framing’s effects. It has 2 main components: 1. The need to take into account people’s wealth in predicting their choices 2. The fact that because losses feel much worse than gains feel good, people try to avoid situations that involve losses. This is the principle of loss aversion which states that losing is much worse than gaining is good.  People are not good at knowing how they will feel about something in the future. People do not realize how poor they are at predicting their future feelings -> They overestimate the extent to which negative events will affect them in the future  After a negative event, people engage in strategies that help them feel better like rationalizing why it happened and minimizing the event’s importance  These strategies are adaptive -> They protect the sufferer’s mental health (making sense of an event helps reduce its negative emotional consequences). Humans have a capacity for manufacturing happiness. After a tragic event, they adapt and return to their typical positive outlook.  People seem unaware they can find positive outcomes for tragic events  Affective forecasting = Prediction of one’s emotional state in the future  Data shows that people who make good decisions have better lives. Applying critical thinking skills can positively affect multiple areas of a person’s life Problem solving:  To solve a problem, a person must use knowledge to determine how to move from the current state to the goal state, often by devising strategies to overcome obstacles  Solving a problem requires breaking the task down into subgoals  Insight = Metaphorical mental light bulb that goes on in our head when we suddenly realize the solution to a problem  How we view or represent a problem can significantly affect how easily we solve it  In problem solving, we often need to revise a mental representation to overcome an obstacle  To overcome obstacles we can use restructuring (= representing problem in a novel way). This can lead to a moment of insight  When we try to solve problems, we commonly think back to how we have solved similar problems. A mental set is a problem solving strategy that has worked in the past  Sometimes, our mental representations of an object’s typical functions can create difficulties in probl
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