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Cognitive Psychology Exam 1.docx

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PSYC 2650
Karl Hennig

Cognitive Psychology: the scientific study of the mind Attempts to break complex behaviours into their component processes Applied various fields o Engineering and Industrial Design: Human Factors, Human-Computer Interaction o Law: Reliability of memory; eye witness testimony, repressed memory o Business/Marketing/Economics: consumer behaviour Armchair Philosophy: casual observations about human cognition Greek philosophers: first people to systematically study the mind British Empiricism o John Locke, Hume, etc o The role of experience; minds start off as a blank slate Continental Nativism o Spinosa, etc o Innate qualities dictating behaviour American Pragmatism o William James, etc o James described his philosophy as psychology; observations were so mature that he foresaw what contemporary psychologists found much later The Problem: how to observe the mind using scientific methodology o Black Box Problem: the unknown; can only control and observe inputs/outputs and cannot understand whats in between o Solutions: introspection, behaviourism, cognitivism, neuroscience Introspection: o Wudnt, 1879 o look inside and see whats going on o highly trained observers report contents of consciousness under controlled conditions o study of the behaviour of others o encouraged participants to articulate what they were thinking o similar to what philosophers were doing, but more systematic o imagery was something that was studied by introspective psychologists o people were put in a situation where subjects can recall and express what they are thinking o Problems with Introspection Contents of consciousness are difficult to describe Individual difference in concreteness of contents (imageless thought) Concrete: can visualize image and describe it Abstract: can remember parts of the image from memory (imageless) Difficult to verify (private events, not public) Only showed end product/output not the process Only conscious processes are accessible, unconscious process couldnt be observed o Behaviourist Reaction What cant be seen isnt relevant enough to discuss Ignore anything that cannot be controlled (stimuli) or directly observed (response) Respect of other disciplines; seen as a science and not philosophy Too much subjectivity studying things that arent visible People are put in a position where they are asked to respond, and keep a reliability in the response Subjects asked to respond to a stimuli o Problem: how to observe the mind using scientific methodology Decided that cognition could not be the subject of scientific inquiry Usually used animals because of their basic behavioural traits Humans have more complex behavioural tendencies Behaviourism o Empiricism: the mind is like a blank slate at birth and develops through experience and learning (nurture) John Locke o Desire to be respected science Strict experimental control in a lab Animals as subjects o Problems with Behaviourist Approach Cant account for diversity and complexity of behaviour (ie: language) Noam Chomsky: human language is more unique than other communication systems Cant be explained by behaviouralism Other sciences have not been limited to the directly observable Behaviourism was not helpful at addressing applied concerns during WWII Technology during WWII needed to be designed in a way to accommodate human behaviour Behaviouralism didnt allow for people to study the emotional and perceptual responses o The legacy of behaviouralism provided a set of rigorous techniques for experimental study in psychology Verbal learning and memory in cognitive psychology Cognitivism o Origins of Cognitive Psychology Human factors researchers return to academe after WWII; summarized topics that were learned during war time Broadbent (1958) Perception and Communication Chomsky (1959) criticized Skinners behaviourist account of language Computer science and information technology helped develop ways of explaining functions of the mind Neisser (1967) Cognitive Psychology coined the term; cognition= thinking o Cognitive Approach Infer what is going on inside the black box Successful attempt to make inferences about what happens in between stimuli and response o Computational View of the Mind Underlying assumption: Cognition is somehow like a computer program Cognitive psychologists need to figure out the program Information Processing Sensory data: from external environment; seeing something for the first time Internal representations, knowledge, memories, etc. Processing: operations, procedures, transformations Comparison processes: to compare what you have seen before with what you are seeing now Decision making processes o Face recognition Input Match known face? Compare to stored information yes/no output Context based recognition is part of why basic model isnt used by scientists Input to system to compare to known information in stored knowledgeo Criticisms of Cognitive Psychology Ecological validity: oversimplifications in labs Very little resemblance between lab study and real work experience Neural plausibility Methods Behavioural (eg. Mental chronometry) o Chronometry is the measurement of time o Using the measurement of time to make inferences about mental events o Reaction Time (RT): time that elapses between onset of stimulus and response o Assumption: more stuff to do (more processing stages), more time it will take o Donders (1868): Dutch ophthalmologist developed ideas od mental chronometry Techniques which formed the bases of mental chronometry which would be used a decade later Mental processes are measurable Subtraction method is still frequently used, especially in neuroimaging research o Information Processing: stimulus processing more processing response o Stages for Detection Reaction Time stimulus detection (as soon as you see it, you have to show it) response o Stages for Choice Reaction Time stimulus detection decision response show stimuli, react to it, and make a decision to respond in one way or another o Subtraction method: subtract the reaction time for the Detection test from the Choice test to see how long the decision stage takes Problems: assumption of pure insertion; adding a stage leaves all other stages unaffected Functional neuroimaging o
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