PSYB57H3- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 23 pages long!)

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Published on 5 Oct 2017
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PSYB57H3
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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PSYB57: Ch. 1 Introduction
CASE STUDY: WHAT IS COGNITION?
Folk Psychology: an umbrella term for various assumptions and theories based on the everyday
behaviours of ourselves and others.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines cognition as “the mental action or process of acquiring
knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses” this definition
underscores a key point: that cognition is the mental action of knowing.
COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY AND INFORMATION PROCESSING
The study of human cognition has advanced in three stages:
o The first stage, from the late 1950s to the early 1960s, was one of rapid progression propelled by
the methods of traditional psychophysics (the scientific investigation of the relationship between
sensations and stimulus) and experimental psychology.
Stimulus: An entity in the external environment that can be perceived by an observer.
o The second stage, underway by the mid-1970s, was fuelled by computational analysis and
marked the arrival of cognitive science.
o The third phase, which began in the mid-1980s, has incorporated evidence from
neuropsychology and animal neurophysiology, and most recently an increasing array of imaging
techniques that allow us to observe the brain in action.
Foundational to all of cognitive psychology is the idea that the world contains information that is
available for humans to process.
o Cognitive psychology sees humans not as passive receivers and transformers of signal
information, but as active selectors of information from the environment.
o Only some of the information is selected for processing because our nervous systems are able to
handle only so much information at any one time, and only some of the information is responded
to because our heads, eyes, hands, and feet, cannot be in two places at the same time.
The amount of information provided by a given event can be quantified in term of Bits (shorts for
“binary digits”).
o Bits: The most basic unit of information. Every event that occurs in a situation with two equally
likely outcomes provides one “bits” of information.
INFORMATION THEORY
Basic to the concept of information processing is the idea that information reduces uncertainty in the
mind of the receiver the amount of information provided by a given message is proportional to the
probability that that particular message will occur.
The idea underlying information processing theory is that the information provided by a particular
message is not determined solely by its content, but rather by the whole array of possible messages of
which this particular message is just one.
o The amount of information a message conveys is an increasing function of the number of
possible messages from which that particular message could have been selected.
Information Theory posits that the information provided by a particular message is inversely related to
the probability of its occurrence: the less likely it is, the more information it conveys.
o Information Theory: the theory that the information provided by a particular event is inversely
related to the probability of its occurrence.
Limitations on Information Processing
The experiments by Hick & Hyman demonstrated that it takes time to translate a visual signal to either a
key-press or a verbal response.
o The amount of time it takes for information to flow through the nervous system is one limitation
on information-processing capacity, but the amount of visual information that a person a person
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can process at any one time has limits as well the more information a visual signal conveys,
the longer it takes for the viewer to make an appropriate response.
in addition to a time limitation, the nervous system has a capacity limitation for the
amount of information that it can handle within a fixed period of time.
Webster & Thompson had airport control-tower operators listen to recorded voice transmission
simulating messages from pilots.
o A pilot-to-tower communication consisted of the aircraft’s call signal and a sequence of three
unrelated words.
o The call signals were drawn from a set of 10 possible signals, whereas the word messages were
drawn from a set of 1152 possibilities.
o The amount of information conveyed by each call signal was much less than that contributed by
each word message because the traffic controllers had a fairly good idea of what the call signal
would be, but almost no idea of what the word message would be.
Although they were able to identify the call signals from two airplanes arriving
simultaneously, they could not identify more than one of two simultaneous word
messages this suggests that there are limits to the nervous system’s capacity for
information processing.
When two messages arrive simultaneously, the amount of interference between
them depends on the amount of information they convey (the limit is one of
information rather than simulation) Hyman showed that people respond faster
to an expected stimulus than to one that is unexpected.
MODELS OF INFORMATION PROCESSING
There are several models of the relationships between different cognitive processes - two classic models
are the: Broadbent’s Filter Model & Waugh and Norman’s model of information processing.
Broadbent’s Filter Model
Studies have focused on the limitations of the capacity to process information and the selective
processes that are used to deal with those limitations.
The first complete theory of attention was Broadbent’s Filter Model the idea behind it that
information processing is restricted by Channel Capacity (it was originally suggested by Shannon &
Shannon & Weaver).
o Filter Model: A theory based on the idea that information processing is restricted by channel
capacity.
o Channel Capacity: The maximum amount of information that can be transmitted by an
information-processing device.
Broadbent argues that the whole nervous system can be regarded as a single channel with limits to the
rate at which it can transmit stimulus information
o Overloading of this limited capacity channel is prevented by a selective device or filter, which
allows only some of the available incoming information to enter the system.
o Preceding the filter is a capacity-free sensory buffer or temporary store.
When two or more signals/messages occur at one time, they enter the sensory buffer together the
buffer then extracts such simple characteristics as colour (vision), voice (hearing), or spatial location.
o The filter operates by selecting messages that share some basic physical characteristic (e.g.,
location in space) and passing them along to the limited capacity that is responsible for the
analysis of “higher-order” stimulus attributes, such as form and meaning.
o Any messages that were not selected are held, in parallel (i.e., simultaneously), in the sensory
buffer, where they are subject to decay with the passage of time.
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