PSY BEH 11B Lecture 9: Lecture 9 (Thinking, Representation)

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University of California - Irvine
Psychology and Social Behavior
Kier Groulx

PsyBeh 11B (54050) – Week 5 Lecture #9 – Thinking 1, Representations Mental Representations allow us to • Think about physical objects not immediately present • Consider the outcomes of actions that we are not currently experiencing • Draw conclusions based on evidence from events that we’ve encountered in the past and so are available only through memory Two important themes • Humans are simultaneously capable of o Having extraordinarily high-quality thinking o Of coming to conclusions that are completely unjustified and making foolish choices o Can still make grievous mistakes • The nature of thoughts depends critically on what it is that thought manipulates o Ideas can be representations Mental Representation • Content in the mind that stands for some object or event or state of affairs o Can be represented in the world around you • Two broad classes of mental representations o Analogical: mental images ▪ Ex: picture of a cat o Symbolic: propositions ▪ Ex: the word cat ▪ Sentences, diagrams, mostly everything that isn’t image, sound, or mapping etc. • Continuum not a categorical distinction o Can say representations can primarily fall into one category, but most have some components from both categories Mental Images and Symbols • Gives you an idea; not 100% o At a point in time o Doesn’t give you all information o Mental images are a one-to-one pairing of what you look like What does research on visual imagery indicate? • The same brain areas are involved in visual perception and visual imagery • People who lose the ability to see color lose ability to imagine color • People who lose the ability to perceive detail lose the ability to imagine detail Strengths and Weaknesses of analogical repre
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