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sept 17 what response times tell us about cognition.docx

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Psychology 2135A/B
Marcie Penner- Wilger

what response times tell us about cognition Processing time  Cognitive processes take time  Processes can be inferred by differences in processing time across conditions  Benefits: -observable -quantitative variable Response Time (RT)  Time from the onset of a stimulus until a response is made  Aka reaction time (but this term is used to describe processing time in perceptual experiments) - 3+4 “seven” Stimulus response time l-----------------------------l RT Review We are interested in cognitive processes (which are generally unavailable) so we use respons time (observable) to infer processes Experimental Deign  Manipulate one or more independent variables  Look for differences in patterns of RT (the dependent variable) across conditions  Goal is to allow you to infer something about the cognitive processes  Must interpret results within a theoretical framework An example  How do we determine the number of items in a set? - Hypothesis 1: items enumerate (how many there are) serially (one at a time) - Hypothesis 2: items enumerated in parallel (all at the same time) An example  design a simple experiment to test which solution process people are using  enumeration task (how many?)  what variable will you manipulate? -independent variable= number of items (1-6)  Dependent variable: RT
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