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Jan 17 notes Zeigarnik effect, introspection, Personal equation, sensation and perception, JND, Weber's law, bottom up processing, top down processing

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PSYC 3260
Tony Neild

We have to keep in mind how other people see and think of the world. Zeigarnik effect- if there is something that is unfinished (Some cognitive task that is unable to complete or get a solution) it will continue to bother you until you think “I don’t care” or achieve a satisfactory conclusion. When we talk about cognition we usually talk about thinking. Emotions interfere with that, as well as habit. We usually don’t do thinks because we think it is right but because we’re habituated. In this course we will talk about rational thoughts, not about emotions. Cognitive psychologists are behaviourists. Behaviourists tend to suggest that they don’t care about what’s going on in the brain but about inputs and outputs. The way we look in the brain is by using various physiological techniques. fMRI- measures the effects of magnetic forces on the brain. One of the first attempts to look at how we process information was by the structuralists who believed that there are structures according to which we act. The first to look into it was Wundt, who created the first laboratory in Germany. He used introspection- had people describe what was going on in their brains. Problems with introspection?  A lot of times we don’t know what’s going on in there; sometimes it’s much too fast. You would get different replies when using introspection because what is the right answer?  Observing behaviour- the mere observation may affect and bias what they’re looking at.  Observer bias- at the base of that particular problem; when you observe something you have particular expectations as to what you’re watching and what you expect to see. We focus on some aspect of the environment which represents what we want to see. When they asked people to look into their brains and tell what they’re doing, the fact that they were aware to be looking for something provided different results than otherwise would have been found.  Insensitivity- some things just happen to fast. When asked what’s 2+2, you immediately know it’s 4. How did you do that? I just did. Insensitivity problem has to do with speed with which things happen; a lot of things we do, mentally, occur really fast and the solutions we come up with are not consistent with what we think we’re doing. What people would describe is what they think they should be doing but they might not really do it; might use a shortcut they’re not aware of.  Experience- if you start observing, you start to learn about the things you’re observing which can’t help. o Nominal fallacy- giving something a name and feeling that you somehow explained it. Giving something a name helps you identify it. Kleptomaniac: why is this person taking things they don’t need? Because they’re kleptomaniac, well why are they kleptomaniac? Because they take things they don’t need. Structuralists were followed by functionalists. Functionalists wanted to find the function of mental processes. Behaviourism- once objective measures were used to get something useful going on. First experimental work was done by Donders. Personal equation- people process information at different speeds. Donders decided to use a method to find out about this. One of the things that is used a lot in cognition is reaction time (how long it takes people to respond and react). To find out what’s going on we can look at the kinds of errors that are made. If you observe the kinds of errors people make you can infere on how they deal with the problem. Ytou look at the number of corrections and measure the type of information that is used. Also, can ask “what do you think you’re doing?”- asking is the first step to finding out what’s going on but can’t just take it as the absolute truth. Donders used the subtractive method 1. Lights goes on- press a button 2. Red light press; Green light don’t press You subtract the first reaction time from the second reaction time. It takes longer to find make decision for first kind than for the second kind. By subtracting the time it takes to do the easy task from the harder task you find how long it takes. If you know how long it takes to do something you can try to figure out the kinds of processes that take place. This was the first time that someone took an objective measure to find out what kind of processes take place. To get some idea of what’s going on, measure reaction time. Reaction time and error (what kind of errors made) is a good measurement to find out what’s going on in terms of processes. Sensation and perception- These are two different stages in our comprehension of the world Sensation- is there something or has something changed and where? It has to reach a certain intensity (visually or auditory, touch or smell) before you recognize its existence. Threshold- When something has certain intensity, up to a certain point I can hear it and all of a sudden I can hear or see it. This is referred to as threshold. The point where you switch from not being able to notice something to actually being able to notice it. The absolute threshold- individual difference; different people have different acuity for hearing, seeing. The question of whether or not something is there, it depends on how people expect something to occur, how alert they are, or how experienced they are. How long does something have to intensify for it to be detected? 50% of intensity is considered to be the absolute threshold; the stimulus is at such an intensity that it is noticeable 50% of the time. Difference threshold- there has to be a certain degree or change for something to be noticed. There’s certain amount of energy that has to go into something for it to really change. JND- just noticeable difference; the smallest amount you change something for a person to say “ah, this is not the same thing as the previous thing”. Weber’s Law- the change in intensity divided by ori
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