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Midterm

PSYC 2650 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Headphones, Stroop Effect, Language Change


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 2650
Professor
Karl Hennig
Study Guide
Midterm

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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 what’s in between
o Solutions: introspection, behaviourism, cognitivism, neuroscience
Introspection:
o Wudnt, 1879
o “look inside and see what’s 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 couldn’t be observed
o Behaviourist Reaction
What can’t be seen isn’t 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 aren’t 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

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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
Can’t account for diversity and complexity of behaviour (ie: language)
Noam Chomsky: human language is more unique than other communication
systems
Can’t 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 didn’t 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 Skinner’s 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 isn’t used by scientists
Input to system to compare to known information in stored knowledge

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o 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 PET, fMRI
o Increased brain activity during cognitive tasks
o It takes metabolic energy to perform cognitive tasks, neuroimaging can see which regions
are involved in performing certain tasks by seeing which parts of the brain are using energy
o Problems
Many regions are active during cognitive performance; widespread brain activity
o Solution: subtraction method
experimental condition: activities associated with Processes A, B, and C
Control condition: activities associated with Processes A and C
Subtracting the control condition from the experimental condition gives you the
activity associated with process B
Cognitive neuropsychology
o What the damaged brain, and the resulting cognitive deficit, can tell us about normal
cognitive function
o Theory: Face recognition is a unique process; able to recognize minute differences between
people
Stimulus perception recognition (differentiating between other faces in stored
knowledge) response
Localized damage would allow a person to recognize objects but not faces and people
o Theory: Face recognition not unique; same as being able to differentiate between objects
Stimulus perception recognition (stored representation of objects) response
Localized damage would not allow an individual to recognize anything (objects or
people)
o Localized brain damage might be able to answer the question of if face recognition is unique
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