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PSYC 3260 Lecture Notes - Metacognition, Social Cognition, Anthropomorphism

Course Code
PSYC 3260
Tony Neild

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Knowing and cognition is the same thing; recognition and cognition are related. What cognition is about
is information processing; you start with sensation (how do you know there’s some kind of event or
stimuli that’s worth attending to? You ask yourself if there’s any significance or relevance; if it does have
significance we listen to it to see what it means and store it). Once we have it stored, we’re dealing with
memory. Information is stored in memory by processing the information is some kind of meaningful
way. We can later inspect it, to see what it is and see what to do with it. The information won’t just stay
there, we have to process it and organize it.
There is a personality characteristic that has to do with the way people interpret the world. Labellers-
when receiving new information, treat and label it as something they know. Sharpeners- don’t related
from one thing to another, assume all information is new.
Every area takes words that are used in the world and uses it to serve its own purposes and gives it a
different meaning.
Social cognition- why are people doing what they’re doing and what are the implications for me?
Meta cognition- is our own understanding of our own cognitive processes. If you give a 4 year old
pictures and ask you to remember them and then ask them, a lot of time they invent stuff. When they’re
7-8 they will look at pictures and try rehearsing and remembering it (they know now that if they want to
remember they have to do something about it) that’s meta-cognition. Understanding how cognition
works and knowing what to do with it.
Broadband’s Obscuration- people could not attend to multiple things at one time. This predicted that
people couldn’t receive information from two different sources equally. Then someone suggested the
cocktail party phenomenon (hearing your name in a party). How can we test the degree into which
people can switch back and forth? He conducted an experience that fed back into the theory.
A good theory must be:
Testable- you do not test a theory by demonstrating but by doing something you think it might not be
able to handle.
Fruitful- may change the way you think about the universe. Freud made people think differently about
the way the world works. Freud was right about one thing- sometimes people do things in which their
motivation is unknown.
Comprehensive- must talk about everything we know today
*can modify a theory to make sense and be more relevant
Parsimonious- has to do with being simple. A theory would say: what do we need in terms of things in
the environment to cause us to do something? Parsimonious means pairing away anything that’s not
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