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McGill University
PSYC 213
Jelena Ristic

COGNITION NOTES 3/25/2012 4:29:00 PM Feb. 28 – Language - sounds & conventional symbols, systematic communication (linguistics) - neurocognitive processes for producing & understanding (psychology) - social act - orthographic features / phonological features / words / prosodic contour (lower level) - syntax / semantics  compositional analysis : literal/propositional meaning, referential assignment / nonliteral/figurative retrieval / socio-pragmatic meaning - bilingualism : enhanced executive functions across life span (inhibitory control) / possibly delayed Alzheimer’s onset (4 yrs) [failure to replicate] - simultaneously bilingual / 2 language replaces 1 / added at no cost to 1 st - lexical processing : translation equivalents (dog—chien) harder for abstract words / language-specific words are less frequent for bilinguals - overlapping words have same/different meanings (coin—piano—dent, cognates [facilitation] vs. homographs [interference]) ; processing related to language in use (filtering out  selective access, separate lexicons) vs. selective attention to eliminate (non-selective access [more evidence], joint lexicon) ? - eye movements during reading (saccades), relative to difficulty of words, comprehension time-course for cognitive processing by eye movement measures : 1 fixation duration / 1 st pass gaze / go-past time / total fixation duration - Study : semantically biased context influence homograph interference and cognate facilitation ? Stage of processing ? Language proficiency ?  low vs. high semantic constraints, used matched controls  results: difference between orange and blue bars = amount of interference for homographs / facilitation for cognates  homographs show interference, cognates show facilitation, irrespective of semantic constraint (early stages of processing)  for total reading time (later stages, focused in on meaning): no interference/facilitation for high constraint (there is for low constraint), meaning that by increasing semantic constraint you can make bilinguals focus more quickly on language-specific meaning but can’t turn off the fact that they’re accessing another language  evidence of cross-activation even if you’re reading in your first language. - auditory word processing – is there language nonselective lexical access ? When bilinguals listen to spoken words, nonselective access (cross language intrusions) March 1 – Imagery - mental imagery is connected to vision - myth of imageless thought ? Tight coupling between thinking-perception. - ‘mental simulation of seeing’ – recreation from long term memory - when you imagine yourself flying above your house, you actually make downward eye movements – as if actual perception process was going on - helps you accomplish things from far away / imagine places you haven’t seen - was considered scientifically inaccessible until Shepard and Metzler (1971) / are 2 objects identical or mirror reversed ?  women bad at this task ! Looking for : image rotation time (rxn time – depedent variable) (by varying degree of rotation – indpt) which gave a direct link between variables and determined the speed of mental rotation (60°/second ~ 17 ms/° of rotation) Brain mechanisms - expect activity in higher order areas (Frontal/parietal/temporal… areas associated with LTM) BUT research does not support this – Activity in visual sensory areas - feedforward pathway = from sensory areas to higher order cognitive areas (early sensory systems  late sensory systems  cognitive systems) - feedback pathway (new!) = cognitive to sensory (opposite)  this enables biasing from long term memory to simulate previous visual experience. - interference between both pathways : closing your eyes when trying to imagine blocks feedforward loop (seeing immediate environment) - 2/3 overlap in brain mechanisms of visual perception and imagery  fMRI data : Kosslyn : block design (visualize and then perceive objects, subtract, differential activation is left over), make judgment on imagined object (wider or taller ?) Ex: hear “tree” – is it wider or taller? Difficult to study imagery since it’s such a personal process. Differential activation ? Frontal and parietal the same for both conditions, but visual areas are more activated in perception than imagery (makes sense, actually seeing uses more visual cortex vs. imagining) but there is no unique area for imagery in frontal and parietal lobes (higher level)  Goodale – DF, visual agnosia with preserved imagery (can’t recognize objects but CAN imagine them). Upper/lower case task (imagine letters and perform wide/tall judgement task). DF couldn’t recognize letters but could draw them from memory. Why? Contradictory to Kosslyn : Goodale says primary visual areas are not necessary for imagery (common area receiving input from visual system and LTM ; for DF, critical sensory input is impaired).  Need to perform critical tests with blind patients (V1 damage), difficult because levels of blindness/different onset (having experienced visual images or blind from birth…). - bistable figures (ex: duck or bunny ? – reversals are less frequent and take more effort) ; imagery is even less rich than perception despite intuition - sex differences : males re: females on mental rotation tasks, but can females be trained?  Feng et al: video games (10 hrs), ABA design (measure mental rotation – train – measure again). Experimental group: 1 person shooter games (visuo-spacial abilities) / control: balance. Females show more improvement, reducing initial difference (but needs to be an action game!)  3 grade boys & girls, sex difference already present. De Lisi & Wolford / Experimental group: Tetris / Control: Carmen Sandiego / same results as with adults. - hemispheric differences : very few functions are actually localized to one hemisphere - Paivio’s dual-coding theory = verbal (logogens, left hemisphere) or nonverbal domains (imagens, right hemisphere). Concrete words elicit mental images.  Fiebach & Friederici / fMRI lexical decision task (is stimulus word or non-word?) / manipulating abstract [LH: norm, feature, status] vs. concrete nouns (invoke mental images, supposedly RH). BUT concrete words turned out to be predominately in the left hemisphere therefore right hemisphere activation theory not supported! March 6-8 – Problem solving Not immediately recalling an answer from memory is a problem (must admit there is a problem) / problem solving makes you go beyond given information ; you have to transform it - relies on: attention (focus on most relevant/important) / memory (strategies that worked in the past for similar problems) / language (understand/communicate) - unique human ability or not? (like Koehler from Gestalt who observed that chimps were able to stack crates in order to reach banana; or filling tube with water to get the peanut) - Problem solving cycle (7 steps, not linear!, depends on nature/outcome)  problem identification  problem definition (details, identifying variables)  strategy (analytic approach [break-down of problem, bottom-up], synthesis [top- down, put everything together], divergent thinking [generate different ideas] or convergent thinking [narrowing down])  organize info (often need to revisit)  resource allocation – get solution as fast as possible / experts [more time to global aspects] vs. novices [more time to local aspects]  monitoring  evaluation - clear path to solution or not ?  Well-structured problems (ex. Algebra, clear path to solution, ‘move problems’ – point A to B with various restrictions [like FreeCell or Hobbits and Orcs], can be simulated with computer programs ‘can we program a human mind’ – CREATE program: initial problem  steps – routines/iterations  goal) vs.  Ill-structured problems (ex. Drawstring problem). Stuck! If you understand, you solve it instantly but if you don’t, no amount of steps will help you. No well- defined problem space. Need insight (‘Aha!’). Must often re-conceptualize problem. o Gestalt – explaining insight: experience problem as a whole, using productive thinking (beyond realizing associations between individual elements) as opposed to reproductive thinking (analyzing different elements in terms of relationship and associations). Koehler studied productive (getting banana)/reproductive thinking. Insight is special, non-linear. 3 reasons it may occur: [but never presented any evidence]  A. extended unconscious leaps in thinking (difficult to study!]  B. accelerated mental processing  C. short-circuited normal processing o Typical vs. Special to explain insight (opposes Gestalt) – insight is an just an extension of typical thinking (linear). Weisberg: Don’t always need ‘aha’, and you can also have ‘aha’ experience while solving ordinary problems. o Neo-Gestaltist view: different feelings of our progress while solving insight and non-insight type problems. Metcalfe & Wiebe: insight (arrange 10 pennies so that you have 5 rows of 4 pennies, ‘feeling of closeness’ to solution) or incremental (tower of Hanoi) problems. Found that with time, non-insight  linear, but insight is flat as a function of time; all of a sudden when the solution is reached you get the feeling of warmth.  ‘Aha’ moments in the brain? (Qiu et al) fMRI, Participants solved Chinese riddles, logogrips [some require ‘aha’ experience]. Aha > No-aha [looking for Aha only]: differential brain activity required for insight problems.  Kuonious & Beeman: EEG, ‘insight’ experiences are a culmination of a series of brain states and processes going on at different times (not a different type of thinking). - humans do not solve problems the same as computers – take shortcuts (heuristics – means ends, minimal number of steps, backwards, generate and test - Isomorphic problems are a type of well-structured problem: wording and context are different (ex. Hobbits and Orcs, and Book Lovers and Book Burners). Can be difficult to detect when worded/represented differently. Ex: number scramble, tic-tac-toe, magic square. - can computers be programmed to experience insight?  Mutilated checkerboard (missing corner white squares): placing 2 dominoes at a time (not diagonally), can you cover the board with 31 dominoes (each covers one black and white square). Try for a while, reach impasse, restructure, count number of b/w squares, find that the answer is no. Proponents argue that computers can be programmed to do this.  Simon: set computer on wrong path, computer has to represent problem in a new way, finds solution. Is this insight? - hindrances: mental sets (stuck on particular solution) / negative transfer / functional fixedness - aids: positive transfer (past successes help) / incubation – putting off the problem for a while helps to minimize negative transfer March 8 -13 – Reasoning, Judgment, Choice - Formal reasoning: draw valid conclusions from a set of premises/principles  Deductive: general to specific facts [paradigm  prediction  experiment] o Based on logical propositions/assertions/statements. Specific rules of logic allow for valid conclusions (not necessarily true) o (1) Conditional reasoning: ‘If-Then’: if antecedent (p)  consequent (q)  Modus ponens : p  q.p.q (If p then q, therefore q) – must affirm antecedent (cannot reach conclusion by denying antecedent)  Modus tollens: if p then q, but NOT q, therefore NOT p. Deny consequent (proof by contradiction, p) p  q.q.p Can’t reach a valid conclusion by affirming consequent (p). o (2) Syllogistic reasoning: draw conclusions (have to be logical but not necessarily true) from 2 premises  linear - quantitave/qualitative comparison in which one term has more or less of a particular attribute (ex: you are smarter than your best friend/your best friend is smarter than roommate/who is smartest?  you) Determine relationship. Solving: spatial relationship between items (you – your best friend – roommate) / semantic comparison between items (Smarter [you, best friend, roommate])  categorical – most known, premises says something about items pertaining to categories. Ex: All cognitive psychologists are athletes / All athletes are pianists / All cognitive psychologists are pianists  which group belongs to what category(ies) [Venn diagrams]  4 major types of premises:  universal affirmative: All A are B – all humans are mammals; (A inside B = all A are B but not all B are A) (A and B in one circle = all A are B; all B are A)  universal negative: no A are B – no humans are reptiles; (A and B in separate circles)  particular affirmative: some*[and possibly all] A are B – some humans are women; (A and B intersecting circles) (A inside B) (A and B in one circle)  particular negative: some A are not B – some humans are not women (A and B in intersecting circles)  You can’t draw valid conclusions from  2 particular premises: some cog. Psychologists are left-handed / Some left-handed people are smart / Some cog. Psychologists are smart  2 negative premises: no students are stupid / no stupid people eat pizza / no students eat pizza  How do you solve categorical syllogisms? P. Johnson Laird – construct mental model of situation to representing the set of premises. o Deductive reasoning tasks – Wason card selection task [4 cards with a number and a letter on each side, turn 2 cards to test; if consonant and odd number?  modus ponens (affirm antecedent  consonant) : turn card 4 ; modus tollens (deny consequent  therefore NOT an odd number) : turn card 3  Griggs and Cox / isomorphic problem / police officer enforcing
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