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Western University
Psychology 2135A/B

CH 1 –INTRO – LECTURE & MINI 1 Psych 2135 – Intro - ‘the term cognition refers to all processes by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered and used’ Neisser, 1967 Cognitive Psych of Watching TV Seeing - ignore other objects in the same room - isolate individual objects – first need to realize that it is an object - recognize faces of regular characters  Can extract from memory the contextually appropriate info associated with a given face Hearing Moving The History of Cognitive Pysch Behaviourism John Watson (originator) and B.F. Skinner (most influential thinker)  That one should argue only from objectively observable evidence (not to admit any other kind of evidence to the debate)  One should reefer only to objectively observable entites Objectively observable – something is visible or audible – available to the sense of anyone presence Objectively observable evidence – ie. physical responses (a rat presseing a lever) it either happened or it didn’t Objectively observable entities – thing we can all see and hear (person’s eyes & ears)  It would exclude things that we cant see or hear such as mental structure and processes Behaviorists reject any appeal to what they considered ‘non-observables’  Ie. internal mental representations, mental images o Cognitive structures (memory) and processes (retrieval) are not directly observable World War II - Behaviourism became replaced by cognitive psych due to the second world war being a external pressure  Military asked behaviourist psychologist to contribute to the design of technological equipment and training of operators, behaviourists was not up to the task  Could not spend time searching for information (behaviourists asked for pigeons bc that is what they worked with, and an expert on learning theory – doesn’t make sense with the topic they needed radar operators)  Focus changed from the learning history – all the things that happened in the radar operators life before coming to the station to online processing what was happening inside the operators head as he tried to read the panel or screen at that exact moment Post World War Much had changed after the war: - in their military svc, they had confronted a new kind of question, and developed new ways of getting an answer - they had demonstrated the practical importance of human information processing, and gov’t had noticed, so lots of money for research was forthcoming - psychologists noticed that governments had noticed and they wanted some of that money Computer Science - computers can think although it is not directly visible it is knowable – the program is your model of the process Other Currents in the Origin of Cognitive Psychology Noam Chomsky was dissatisfied with the then dominant approach to linguistics which was to describe languages, he wanted more than that he wanted to understand the human capacity for language  Behaviourists focused on individual words and noticed repetitive behaviour  Chomsky focused on sentences and noticed constant novelty o No one every says exactly the same sentence twice  Productivity – always creating new sentences, never running out Chomsky’s solution was to propose generative grammars  Sentences have an underlying structure  A finite set of rules and a finite set of words the rules operate on, these words can be combined according to the rules to produce an infinite number of sentences  Infinite productivity does not require infinite resources Behaviourism Fights Back Skinner included language in behaviourism and called it verbal behaviour Chomsky published a devastating review of verbal behaviour This review is one of the most important documents in the history of psychology Chomsky’s review - the goal of this book is to provide a way to predict and control verbal behaviour by observing and manipulating the physical environment of the speaker CH 1 –INTRO – LECTURE & MINI 3 Cognitive Psycho
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