PSYB57H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Retina, Inattentional Blindness, Diffusion Mri

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Published on 20 Oct 2016
Week 1: Introduction
Cognitive psychology: study of the processes and products of the human mind
Consists of:
1. Absorbing (sensation) input
2. Processing (computations) making sense of information, accessing memories, making
a decision, etc
3. Responding (action) behavioral output
Some Features of Cognition
1. Importance
Cognitive resources appear to be limited
Cognition is important for functioning well in the world
2. Variability
There are within-subject as well as between-subject differences in cognitive
3. Flexibility
Cognitive abilities often change, for better or worse, with development or
Many cognitive abilities are malleable, at least to some extent
Models of Information Processing
1. Broadbent’s Filter Model
Information processing is restricted by channel capacity: the limit of amount of
information that can be received and transmitted
The whole nervous system is a single channel and has limits to the rate at which it
can transmit stimulus information
A filter prevents overloading of this channel by allowing only certain information
to enter (filtering based on physical characteristics)
2. Introspection (Structuralism)
Introspection: “looking inward” to observe one’s thoughts and feelings
Structuralism: school of thought concerned with taking complex phenomenon and
breaking them down into the pieces that make them up
o Relying on self-report for individuals makes it difficult to verify
o Have to take information at the individual’s word
3. Freudian Theory
The unconscious mind influences how you behave, and it can also be the genesis
of psychological disorders
Freud based much of his work on studying hysterical women
Freudian slips: unconscious information that seeps out into consciousness that
you normally try to hide
Dream analysis: trying to understand the unconscious mind by finding meaning
in dreams
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o Latent content: underlying meaning/ hidden message of the dream that is
motivating it
o Manifest content: what is actually happening in the dream explicit
Freud and Personality Theory
o Id: uncoordinated, instinctual drives
o Superego: morals and values of the individual
o Ego: tries to satisfy both the id and superego
o Defense mechanisms: mental abilities that protect an individual’s way of
thinking/ behaviour (e.g. denial, repression)
Limitations of Freudian theory: lacks falsifiability; cannot provide evidence
against it and so cannot be proven wrong
4. Behaviourism
Behaviourists view the study of psychology as the study of the observable inputs
and outputs of a person
Limitations: cannot account for:
o Creativity (generation of a new idea that you haven’t been taught)
o Acquisition of language (developed universally around a certain age and
sensitive period for learning it)
o False memories (remembering something that did not happen)
5. Cognitivism
Making inferences about mental processes
1. Input (sensory information enters the system)
2. Processing (computations happen in the mind) cognitivism is interested in what
happens during this stage
3. Output (behavioural/motor commands)
Artificial Neural Networks
Neural network: neurons that are functionally related and connected
Models of cognitive computational processes are inspired by neural networks (e.g.
decision making)
Computation and computing power allows us to solve complex math issues to test
complex models quickly
Theory of Computation
Use of algorithms to solve complex computational mathematical problems in cognitive
models efficiently
Computational model: computer program that aims to mimic human cognitive processes
such that factors affecting the functioning of the model would similar affect human
behaviour, and that anything affecting human behaviour would affect the model
E.g. reading is extensively studied with computational models
Advent of the Digital Computer
Ability to crunch numbers allows us to test complex models
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Can take complex models and simulate and test it in a day with current technology
Turing test: test of whether you are interacting with a computer or a person
Developing Complex Models of Cognition
Serial processing: processing information one at a time
Parallel processing: processing more than one thing at a time more efficient
6. Cognitive Neuroscience
“biology of the mind”
Edwin Smith papyrus (2500-3000 BC) earliest recorded of medical treatment
for traumatic injury (both of the brain and the body)
o Hinted at localization of function of the brain
So Where is the Mind?
1. Empedocles of Acragas (500 BC)
Cardiac hypothesis: belief that the mind comes from/ is located in the heart
2. Alcamaeon of Croton and Galen
Brain hypothesis: brain gives rise to the mind
3. Descartes
Was a rationalist (knowledge can only come about through reasoning)
Dualism: brain and the mind are materially separate but work together and
o Communicate through the pineal gland (only structure of the brain not
found in both hemispheres)
Monism: competing view that argues that the brain and the mind are one entity
Descartes and Reflexes:
o Believed the brain to give rise to reflexes through receiving signals from
all over the body to produce a reaction
o We now know that reflexes can operate without the brain, through touch
and motor neurons
Rather, the brain controls and “puts the brakes” on our reflexes
e.g. taking something out of the oven and it burns you but you
don’t want to drop it
Damage to the brain and its connections can produce loss of this
suppression on reflexes
Descartes and Vision light information is passed to the pineal gland where it
triggers actions in the body
How is the Brain Organized?
1. An undifferentiated mass: no functional difference between the brain areas
2. Localization of function: different brain areas serve different functions
Josef Gall and Phrenology
Phrenology: study of shape and size of the skull as an indication of character traits and
cognitive abilities
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