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Lecture 2

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University of Toronto St. George
Connie Boudens

Lecture 2 - 01/14/13 The Foundations of Cognitive Psychology 35% midterm 35% final 30% quizzes and assignments Check online for syllabus later on Also check chapter quizzes Assignments would probably be stuff from the Workbook The Scope of Cognitive Psychology Cognitive psychology is the study of knowledge Cognitive psychology is the way to study memories, perception and attention of items which we look at the study of stimuli. Language. Language is always important. Knowledge and concept formation. Knowledge is important as what we know but also how we understand things and how concepts form. The textbook uses the everyday student life issues. We also talk about problem solving, how we solve efficiently and correctly. Judgment and decision making; how do we decide which things are better than others? Peer assessments help us on quality assessment, it's how we decide what work is better than something else. "Betsy wanted to bring Jacob a paper. She shook her refrigerator. it made no sound. She went to look for her mother." This doesn't make sense at all unless you have something at the back of your mind. The Betsy and Piggy Bank example This makes sense. Why? When you're getting a present, you're buying a present for someone, you need money for that and you put that in a piggy bank. We know that shaking it means we want to get it out of the piggy; more change than bills. Memory and understanding have a lot to do with more than writing an exam, etc. We need our memory for a lot of things. There's different types. H.M. He was someone who suffered from seizures in his 20s, he had surgery to reduce his seizures. It ended up giving him a type of amnesia where he could no longer form new memories. It didn't affect his lifespan. The way he acted was so unique that in psychology, people decided to study him and his responses. It was a curious question. After his surgery, he remembered mostly everything from prior to the surgery, at least his childhood growing up. He no longer formed new memories post-surgery. After a little while, he wouldn't remembered that he had met you, etc. This was one piece of evidence that Working Memory was affected. The reason is that because he was able to communicate and hold a conversation and be able to answer you, what we define as working memory is something that seems to stay intact even with certain brain region damages. He was fond of his uncle - who passed away. They would tell him this news, he'd experience grief and sadness, after a few minutes, it would be gone. He would forget this and re experience the same grief over and over again. He didn't feel a sense of self. He couldn't remember if he had done good things or bad things in the past. He couldn't remember what he was like. If you get drunk, you tend to not remember what kind of things you did prior. Imagine that as a moment to moment experience. Without being able to judge your sense of self, it becomes quite difficult. A brief history: introspection Wundt/Titchener - Developmental Psychology (1800s) The focus for them they looked at were mental events, i.e. consciousness, things that weren't talked about in terms of biology. They wanted to know whether if you can study something that is within you. People were looking at the body and their medical issues. But can we study our thoughts? They proposed to do this thru introspection. It's something that we do on a daily basis in different contexts. An example would be just thinking about myself and my thoughts or my behaviours and why I'm doing them. Sometimes you may be angry at someone, and the whole day. And you say why am I angry? Maybe it's because it's repetition of that person's behaviour that affects yours. It's about how we see ourselves from within. This had to be taught, the skill to be able to study the mind and conscious mental activity had to be taught. You had to be trained to do this properly. They found that it was an interesting endeavour that scientists believe there was a problem with this method. Something that we can observe from the outside rather than subjective observation. Example is that Dwayne can say that he paces back and forth because he wants to be in front of everyone at some point in the class. No one would be able to validate that thought. He may be nervous as a cause of his behaviour. This doesn't get at unconscious processes. Generally, there's other items or other things that are below the threshold of consciousness. We define that as something that we are aware of. He's aware of his thoughts of walking back and forth. He told us in the first class he had a phobic of speaking in front of people. That may be relatable. However, there are a lot unknown aspects. How do we study this in a way that is scientific? A brief history: behaviourism It focuses on observable behaviours ignoring what's going on in the mind. The mind is something we don't have access to. We observe behav
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