PYB102 – Week Ten Revision
Thinking means manipulating mental representations for a purpose. Mental images are visual
representations inside our heads. We create mental models as representations which help explain,
describe or predict the way things work.
A concept is a mental representation of a class of objects, ideas or events that share similar
properties. Categorisation is the process of identifying an object as an instance of a category. People
sometimes categorise objects by comparing them with a list of defining features, however people
typically categorise rapidly by judging their similarity to prototypes – abstract representations of a
category stored in memory.
Levels of Categorisation
Superordinate – A broader level where members of a category share few features, for
Subordinate – A more specific level where particular traits of objects are shared, for example
Basic – The most common understanding at a basic and inclusive level where members of
the category share features which are most distinctive of the concept, for example ‘dog’.
Part of the ‘second cognitive revolution’ which is challenging the idea of the mind as
Also known as ‘parallel distributed processing (PDP)’.
Asserts that most cognitive processes occur simultaneously through the activation of
multiple networks within the brain.
Reasoning refers to the process by which people generate and evaluate arguments and beliefs,
typically to solve problems. There are several types of reasoning including: inductive, deductive and
Reasoning from specific observations to more general propositions.
Probability is essential and is relied upon rather than certainty.
Thus, inductive reasoning is based on the evidence available and is not necessarily true
because its underlying premises are only probable, not certain.
Logical reasoning that draws conclusions from a set of assumptions or premises that are
based on logic.
Starts with an idea or general principle and then makes inferences about specific instances.
Deductive arguments are referred to as syllogisms. A syllogism consists of two premises that
lead to a logical conclusion, for example: if it is true that all dogs have fur and that Barkley is
a dog, then Barkley must have fur.
As long as the premises are correct and the reasoning is logical, deductive reasoning can lead
to certain rather than probable conclusions.
The process by which people understand a novel situation by comparing it to a familiar one. This kind of reasoning is influenced by the similarity of the situations, how easy it is to map
out their common elements and the reasoner’s goals.
Problem Solving is the process of transforming one situation into another for the purpose of
achieving a goal. The aim is to move from a current and typically unsatisfactory state to a state
where the problem is resolved. In order to do this, the problem solver uses operators (actions) and
mental and behavioural processes. Subgoals are smaller goals which help to achieve the overall goal
along the way.
Barriers to Problem Solving
Functional fixedness – the tendency to ignore the other possible functions of an object
when they have a fixed function in mind.
Mental set – the tenden