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8. Nov 20 -Chapter 8 -Thinking and Intelligence.docx

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Psychology 1000
Lynn Jackson

Chapter 8 Thinking and Intelligence November 20, 2012 Prologue: Dread Risks low-probability events that are highly publicised and have dire consequences resulting in fears, the fears are called dread risks o Ie. an estimated 350 Americans died after 9/11 in car accidents because they avoided flying Outline: How does the mind represent information? How do we make decisions and solve problems? How do we understand intelligence? This chapter is concerned with how we use information when we think and what it means to think intelligently. HOW DOES THE MIND REPRESENT INFORMATION? Unconscious cognitive processes not only influence thought and behaviour, but also affect decision making and problem solving Cognition mental activity such as thinking or representing information The challenge for cognitive psychologists is to understand the nature of our everyday mental representations Our thoughts consist of mental representations of the objects and events we learn about in our environment Two basic types of representations: o Analogical analogous to the real thing; literal representation Text a mental representation that has some physical characteristics of an object The brain is creating an analogy o Symbolic no obvious visual similarity (the word violin has no physical similarities with the actual musical instrument) Text an abstract mental representation that does not correspond to the physical features of an object or idea Mental Images are Analogical Representations Thoughts can take the form of visual images Process is like having an eye that faces into the brain instead of outside to the world Mental visual imagery involves the same underlying brain processes involved in seeing the external world o E.g. Kurby and Zacks (2009) stimulated the OTHER senses through analogous stimuli (auditory reaction, tactile images, smell, such as in Robert Frosts poems) and scanned brains to find that areas of the brain that correspond to various senses are often evoked Manipulating mental images also allows you to think about you environment in novel and creative ways Limits of Analogical Representation Mental maps therefore involve a mixture of analogical and symbolic representations A symbolic representation can yield a wrong answer in this instance, because while our general knowledge is correct, it does not take into account changes While generally useful, these shortcuts can lead to errors Concepts are Symbolic Representations E.g. language The word DOG represents the animal, but there are no visual similarities. o Must be learned o Not through direct evocation of the senses Three models of what is in our head when we think in terms of symbolic concepts o Defining Attribute Model concept is characterized by a list of critical features Text the idea that a concept is characterised by a list of features that are necessary to determine if an object is a member of the category Suggests that membership within a category is on an all-or-none basis, but in reality, we often make exceptions in our categorizations, allowing members into groups even if they do not have all the attributes or excluding them even if they have all the attributes Also suggests that all of a given categorys attributes are equally salient in terms of defining that category Also that all members of a category are equal in category membership o Prototype Model some kind of most representative example; best example of the concept. Text an approach to object categorization that is based on the premise that within each category, some members are more representative than others Allows for flexibility in the representations of concepts Prototype can be chosen for different reasons o Exemplar Model no single best representation, but multiple examples Text information stored about the members of a category is used to determine category membership All the examples of a category members form the concept Accounts for observation that some category members are more prototypical than others: the prototypes are simply members we have encountered more often Concepts are dynamic, they respond to learning and development o Ie, kid thinks that gas going into the car is milk because it feeds the car, as they get older they understand the actual purpose of it One question of interest to cognitive psychologists is how we use knowledge about objects effectively Grouping things based on shared properties, categorization, reduces the amount of knowledge we must hold in memory and is therefore an efficient way of thinking Concept a category, or class, that includes subtypes and/or individual items o Can consist of mental representations, of a relation between representations, or of a quality or dimension, such as brightness or width Schemas Organize Useful Information about Environments Schemas = concepts A structure in long term memory that represents a concept Shape our perceptions and organize information We develop schemas based on our real-life experiences We employ schemas because: o Common situations have consistent attributeso People have specific roles within situational contexts Scripts are schemas that allow us to infer the sequence of events in a given context o Script involves what happens, schema involves thee characteristics of the environment Schemas and scripts shape how we interact in the world Lets you know how to behave Scripts and schemas can be problematic o Gender roles the prescribed behaviours for females and males o Dictated by culture o People over-apply schemas =stereotyping (usually are not accurate to reality) Their adaptive value is that they minimize the amounts of attention required to navigate familiar environments o Also allow us to recognize and avoid unusual or dangerous situations HOW DO WE MAKE DECISIONS AND SOLVE PROBLEMS? Reasoning using information to determine if a conclusion is valid or reasonable Decision Making attempting to select the best alternative among several options Problem Solving finding a way around an obstacle to reach a goal People Use Deductive and Inductive Reasoning Psychological scientists usually distinguish between deductive and inductive reasoning, although in real life, people switch back and forth between Deductive Reasoning using a belief or rule to determine if a conclusion is valid (follows logically from the belief or rule) o Uses logic to draw specific conclusions under certain assumptions or premises o Syllogism logical arguments containing premises (statements) and a conclusion Conditional Syllogismthe a
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