Psychology 2135 09/11/2012
Lecture 1 – Outline
1. Prehistory of the study of cognition
how did ancient people explain behavior?
2. Early History
19 century Germany psychologists
3. Recent history
World war 2 – Technology
World war 2 – movements of refugees
How did ancient people explain behavior?
Human behavior is complex. Throughout history, explanations of behavior have acknowledged by including
some kind of complexity.
Sense that something incredible produces behavior; Gods. The nature of the complexity has varied over time, but the complexity is always there.
Can’t know our reinforcement history like we would with an animal, for instance. It (Causeconsequence) is
all the things that have happened in your life, but too expensive to be scientifically proven.
Unfortunately the complex part of any account of behavior is usually left implicit, it’s left as a mystery. Only
small aspects are predictable
There is no evidence that an integrated concept of mind existed in classical Greece (or elsewhere)
No integrated concept of body, only separate parts
Internal organs seen as interacting complex ways to produce behavior “It took a lot of guts to do that”
Note connection to modern views of “embodied cognition”
Modern traces of this view:
My heart is broken, he was inspired, he has guts etc.
Gods and demons were thought to interfere in human activities, behavior comes from the outside
Interpersonal understanding seen as sufficiently marvelous and also important that it had to be explained in
terms of god: Hermes
Modern traces of the idea that behavior comes from the outside such as commercials make people buy
Early societies (1000BC) had little understanding of the actual causes of behavior or of the internal (mental)
representations of the world that make behavior possible
Nonetheless, thinkers of the time poets CHECK SLIDES
Early History of the study of Cognition
Distinguished between reason and emotion and argued that emotion should not control behavior.
It is the differences between animals and humans that are interesting such as language and consciousness
This new made how humans are different from animals the central issue from psychology in the two
centuries after Descartes
Locke: He distinguished two types of knowledge
He argued that knowledge comes from experience, an idea that argues against the “divine rights of kings”
Asked how basic mental “elements” combine to create our conscious experience
Descent with modification; people and animals evolved from common ancestors
Human functions evolved from animal functions
After Darwin psychology focused on what humans share with animals (learning) and had less interest in
what was different about humans
19 century German physiologists
studied nerve conduction speed an observable physical process
showed you can have a science of behavior
Basic idea: consequences of behavior determine whether that behavior will occur again
World war 2
Operators had to be selected and trained for complex machines and weaponry (fast planes, radar etc.)
Behaviorists had no relevant knowledge or research techniques for answering those questions
Many European psychologists, especially jews, were persecuted by Nazis. Most of those who gow away
went to the usa
The computer’s program specifies the processes that produce its behavior Linguistics
Skinner’s book was attacked by linguists as too simple to explain complex language structures (e.g
Chomsky developed a new model, inspired by computer programs, of how humans generate a sentence
All the influences came together
The new approach focuses on mental representations and the processes that operate on them
It was called cognitive psychology
Why is pattern recognition important?
the world represent visual objects to us in an enormous number of different orientations, light conditions
there are a great many objects in the world. They have important differences, so it matters whether you
correctly recognize them.
It’s important not to get these two confused. Noticed that your knowledge of the two animal species
persuades you after the fact that there is no danger of misrecognizing one for the other. But that knowledge
becomes available only after you have done the work of recognition.
The same object (including humans) will look different on different occasions. How o we know that all of
these images, except one, are of the same woman?
Why is pattern recognition difficult?
Percept in the mind, Object in the world
Because we recognize things in the world so quickly, human pattern recognition is so fast that we cant learn
much by measuring response speed
To recognize is to “recognize” that is to reknow or to know again
To recognize a match of two things: 1.a stimulus representation 2. A representation in memory How do we form the stimulus representation? How do we search memory to find the match?
Forming a stimulus representation
What are the visual cues that help us distinguish between items that look similar?
What are the processes that recover those images?