PSYB57 Midterm Review.doc

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23 Apr 2012
Chapter 1: The Science of the Mind
Cognitive psychology first understood as the scientific study of
Cognitive psychology is roughly 50 years old
H.M. memory loss brought on by brain surgery. Could not remember any
events that happened after the operation.
Wundt and Tichener: psychology needs to be concerned with the study
of conscious mental events
Introspect: to observe and record the content of our own mental lives
and the sequence of our own experiences
Behaviours, learning history and stimuli are objective data
Beliefs, wishes, goals and expectations are not objective data
Behaviourism took over America in the first half of the 20th century
Behaviourism is concerned with how our behaviour changes in response
to different configurations of stimuli
Kant: transcendental method (inference to best explanation): begin with
the observable facts and work backwards from these observations
Working memory: the memory you use for information that you are
actively working on. Holds information in an easily accessible form, so
that the information is instantly available when you need it.
Working memory has a small capacity
Span test: read someone a list of four items. The person has to report
these back, immediately in sequence. Try again with more items until
the person makes an error
Most people’s letter span is about seven or eight
Working-memory system
At the heart of the system is the central executive
Working memory system diagram page 16
Rehearsal loop function:
Central executive identifies the numbers
Shuffles them off to storage so not burdened
Subvocalization: pronounce the numbers
Subvocalization produces a representation of these numbers in the
phonological buffer (auditory image)
Concurrent articulation: taking a span test while repeating a syllable
Concurrent articulation diagram page 18
The mechanisms needed for subvocal speech overlap with those needed
for overt speech. If they are in use for overt speech, they block the
availability for subvocal speech
Concurrent articulation cuts memory span. Usually 7 items, with
concurrent articulation, drops to three or four
We can test people’s memory spans by using complex visual shapes
Unfamiliar shapes cannot be rehearsed subvocally
Cognitive neuroscience: the study of the biological basis for cognitive
Anarthria: cannot produce speech
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Inner speech relies on the brain areas responsible for planning the
muscle movements of speech
Neuropsychology: concerned with how various forms of brain
dysfunction influence observed performance
Chapter 2: The Neural Basis for Cognition
Capgras syndrome: fully able to recognize the people in her world, but
she is utterly convinced that these people are not who they appear to
be. Often insists that there are slight differences between the imposter
and the person he has replaced.
Occurs because facial recognition involves two separate systems in the
brain, one of which leads to a cognitive appraisal and the other two a
more global, somewhat emotional appraisal. In Capgras syndrome, the
emotional processing is disrupted, leading to the intellectual
identification without the familiarity response
Neuroimaging techniques: allow researchers to take high-quality, three-
dimensional “pictures” of living brains without disturbing the brains’
Capgras Syndrome: damage in the temporal lobe, mostly in the right
side of the head
Amygdala: an almond-shaped structure that seems to serve as an
“emotional evaluator”, helping an organism to detect stimuli associated
with threat or danger
The amygdala is also important for detecting positive stimuli-indicators
of safety or indicators of available rewards
Capgras Syndrome patients also have abnormalities in the frontal lobe,
specifically in the right prefrontal cortex
fMRI: allows us to track moment-by-moment activity levels in different
sites in a living brain
Schizophrenia patients have diminished activity in their frontal lobes
whenever they are experiencing hallucinations. Might reflect a
decreased ability to distinguish internal events from external ones, or to
distinguish the imaginary from reality
The damage to the amygdala is likely to be the reason why Capgras
patients experience no sense of familiarity when they look at faces they
know quite well
The damage to the prefrontal cortex helps us understand why Capgras
patients offer crazy hypotheses in regards to their lack of familiarity
Amygdala is involved in decision-making
The Principal Structures of the Brain
The human brain is divided into three main structures:
The hindbrain: sits directly atop the spinal cord and includes several
structures crucial for controlling key life functions (rhythm of heartbeats
and breathing)
Cerebellum: coordination of bodily movements and balance
oLargest area of the hindbrain
oDamage to the cerebellum can cause problems in spatial
reasoning and discriminating sounds
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The midbrain: coordinates movements, including eye movements. Also
contains circuits that relay auditory information from the ears to the
brain areas where this information is processed and interpreted
oHelps to regulate our experience of pain
Forebrain: largest part of the brain
Cortex: a thing covering on the outer surface of the brain (average 3
mm thick)
Convolutions: the wrinkles of the brain
The valleys in between the wrinkles are deep grooves that divide the
brain into different sections
Longitudinal fissure: the deepest groove that runs from the front to the
back of the brain and separates the left cerebral hemisphere from the
Each hemisphere is divided into four lobes
The frontal lobes form the front of the brain (right behind the forehead)
The central fissure divides the frontal lobes on each side of the brain
from the parietal lobes, the brain’s topmost part
The bottom edge of the frontal lobes is marked by the lateral fissure
Below the lateral fissure are the temporal lobes
The occipital lobes are at the back of the brain and are connected to the
parietal and temporal lobes
The subcortical parts of the forebrain are underneath the cortex
Thalamus: acts as a relay station for all the sensory information going to
the cortex
Hypothalamus: located under the thalamus and controls motivated
behaviours like eating, drinking and sexual activity
The limbic system surrounds the thalamus and hypothalamus
The limbic system contains the amygdala and the hippocampus
(essential for learning and memory and emotional processing)
Chapter 3: Recognizing Objects
Form perception: the process through which you manage to see what
the basic shape and size of an object are
Object recognition: the process through which you identify what the
object is
Gestalt psychologists: the perceptual whole is often different from the
sum of its parts
The Necker cube: ambiguous figure because there is more than one way
to perceive it
Figure/ground organization: the determination of what is the figure and
what is the ground
Lateral inhibition: the visual system manages to emphasize some
aspects of the input and de-emphasize others from the very beginning
Our organization of the input happens before we start cataloguing the
input’s basic features
The analysis of features depends on a prior step in which the figure is
first organized by the viewer
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