Psych 207.docx

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University of Waterloo
Jonathan Fugelsang

Psych 2071112013 90200 AM Cognition A cognitive psychologist finds way to examine the key mechanisms to understand cognitive processes Historical PerspectiveHow did it develop Recent discipline separate in the 1960s Dates back to Aristotle and PlatoBoth working on memory Empiricism Supported by John Locke David Hume and Stuart Mill Knowledge comes from individuals own experience Recognize individual differences in genetics but emphasize human natures changeable aspects Humans are born with a blank slate and knowledge is acquired through interactions Mental association of ideas John Locke believed that two distinct ideas having nothing to do with each other could become joined in the mind simply because they happened at the same time Nativism Role of biological factors in determining ones cognitive abilities Comes from philosophical traditions of Rene Descartes and Immanuel Kant They attribute individual cognitive differences to innate abilities Hardware in the brain and difficult to modify with experienceshort term memory Schools of Experimental Psychology Wilhelm Wundt 1879wanted to discover the building blocks to conscious experience Once identified Wundt believed that psychologists could determine how these units combined to produce complex mental phenomenao Called Structuralism He thought any conscious idea resulted from a combination of senses mode visual auditory olfactory quality shape color texture intensity and durationJames Baldwin 1889introspectioninvolved presenting highly trained observers with various stimuli and asking them to describe their conscious experience believed that the human conscious experience could be uncovered through this method Have many limitationsmany aspects of cognition that appear without conscious awarenessWilliam Jameswanted to explain functionalism how and why it works Structuralists and functionalists differed not only in their key questions but also in their methods Wanted to know why the mind works the way it doesfunctionalismHabit Thought people should take great care to abolish bad habits and take up good onesStructuralists were convinced that the proper setting for experimental psych was the lab where the experiments could be tightly controlled Empiricism Functionalists want to get out of the lab and study the organism in real life situations Nativism Functionalists drew heavy on Darwinian evolutionary theory and tried to extend biological adaptions to psychological phenomena Behaviorism Dominated psychology until the 1960s Regarded as a branch of functionalismrejected introspection found to be untestable Argued that scientists should only focus on what is observable which is overt behavior Study of learning was also emphasized and the relationship between inputs and outputs During this period is became wrong to talk about mental representations consciousness or mental statesbeyond the scope of scientific study Watson believed that things such as images and thoughts resulted from low level activity of the glands or small muscles BF Skinner disagreed believed they were triggered by external environmental stimuli and gave rise to behaviors Responsible for the rigorous research methods that allowed researchers to examine the workings on the mind without relying on subjective measures introspection PRIMARY Gestalt Psychology 1900s Central assumption was that psychological phenomena has to be analyzed and studied in their entirety and could not be reduced to simple elements Observer did not construct a perceptual experience or conscious cognitive experience of any kind based on simple elemental sensory aspects but rather the experience as a whole Rejected structuralism functionalism and behavioralism as offering incomplete accounts of psychological and cognitive experiences Focused on how people use andor impose structure on their own experiences Galton Inspired by Charles Darwin Individual DifferencesWondered if intellectual abilities could be subjected to the same pressures of natural selection and be inherited Began to analyze data which involved looking at the family trees of important men to determine the roots of cognitive ability Invented cognitive ability tests and questionnaires to assess intellectual abilitywork on mental imagery The Cognitive RevolutionMainly a rejection in the behaviorist assumption that mental events and states were beyond the realm of scientific studyHuman factors engineering presented new problems that needed solutions WW2 the development of complicated equipment required highly trained personnel Needed some knowledge Wanted most optimal way to use it PersonMachine system idea that the machinery should be designed to interact with the operators physical and cognitive capacities and limitations shared properties that engineers designed Psychologists recognized the limitations of the human mind Developments in the field of linguistics Noam Chomskyhow people understand and produce language Set of rules known as the generative grammarallowing speakers to construct and listeners to understand Developments in neuroscience localization of functions in the brain Donald Hebbsuggested that some kind of functions such as visual perceptions were constructed over time by building cell assemblies David Hubel and Torsten Weiseldemonstrated that specific cells in the visual cortex of cats were in fact specialized to respond to specific kinds of stimuli early experience shaped brain development Cognitive functions can be localized to specific parts of the brain Kittens exposed to only horizontal lines failed to recognize vertical lines
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