PSYB57H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Corpus Callosum, Parietal Lobe, Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Published on 29 Jul 2016
PSYB57 Midterm notes (Lectures week 2-7 + chapter 1-6)
Lecture 2 – The foundations of cognitive psychology
Cognition: (Cognoscere: ‘to know’ or ‘to come to know’), are the activities and processes concerned with the acquisition, storage, and
retrieval and processing of knowledge.
-Memory is one aspect of cognition
Cognitive psychology: is the scientific study of how the mind works.
Pre-20th century history
Aristotle- how do we classify objects into groups
Descartes - What is the relationship between the mind and the body?
Locke - How much do environmental and genetic influences affect perception?
Ebbinghaus - Can we quantify how information is retained and retrieved from memory?
Introspection: thinking about own behavior/actions and explaining it.
Wundt and his student Titchener began the study of experimental psychology in the late 1800s
Problems: not directly observable, impossible to test objectively
Behaviorism: focused on observable behaviors. It uncovered principles of how behavior changes in response to stimuli such as rewards
and punishments.
Problems: stimulus-response accounts are not enough and behavior has a mental cause.
Cognitive revolution, Introspective methods for studying mental events are not scientific. However, we need to study
mental events in order to understand behavior
Immanuel Kant- Transcendental method: work backwards from observations to determine cause
Cognitive psychologist study mental evens, but do so indirectly (measure stimuli and responses, develop hypothesis about mental
events, design new experiments)
Information processing
First stage, late 1950s to early 1960s
Characterized by rapid progression propelled by methods of traditional psychophysics and experimental psychology
Second stage, mid-1970s
Fueled by computational analysis and marked arrival of early cognitive science
Third stage, mid-1980s
Incorporated evidence from neuropsychology and animal neurophysiology
Utilizes an ever-increasing array of imaging techniques
Idea that the world contains information for humans to process (foundational to cognitive psychology)
Bit: (binary digit, the most basic unit of information). The quantification of the amount of information provided by the occurrence
of an event.
-Time limitation: The amount of time it takes for information to be processed in the nervous system
-Capacity limitation: The amount of information that the nervous system can process within a period of time
Overall, suggests that humans don’t passively receive and transform signal information
Instead, humans actively select information to process
Models of information processing
-Broadbent’s filter model (1958) based on the idea that information-processing is restricted by
channel capacity (19the maximum amount of information that can be transmitted by an information-
processing device)
Presented three, two-digit pairs, with one digit of each pair being presented to only one ear
Higher accuracy when digits recalled for each ear at a time, rather than having to switch between ears for each digit
Suggests that the ears function as separate channels, switching between them more often caused more information to decay
Waugh and Norman’s Model (1965) Distinguished two types of memory:
Primary memory: What we are aware of in the “immediately present moment”.
Often called “immediate memory” or “short-term memory”
Secondary memory: Knowledge acquired at an earlier time that is stored
indefinitely. Also called “long-term memory”
Approaches to cognitive psychology
-Experimental cognitive psychology: Tightly controlled experiments carried out under laboratory conditions on healthy
oExperiments often designed to disrupt cognitive processes and thus reveal their workings.
oFindings lead to theories, which in turn lead to testable claims
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Some limitations:
Is behavior in a laboratory fundamentally different to that in real world settings. Are the findings of experiments ecologically
Ecological validity - Gibson (1950; 1966):
oArgued for an ecological approach using the richness of information provided by the natural environment
oMeaning of objects and events perceived in terms of affordances” (i.e., the potential functions or uses of stimuli in
the real world)
oKnowledge of affordances is not innate. We learn what can and can’t be done with items through “information
pickup” (i.e., the process whereby we perceive information directly)
Learning means becoming progressively more attuned to what the environment affords us
Does not look directly at brain function, but rather the explicit behavioral results of brain function. Thus we may miss
Tendency to negate individual differences by averaging many participants’ performances. Does not allow for the possibility of
unique cog. Function
-Computational cognitive science: involves recreating some aspect of human cognition in
the form of computer program, flow chart or formula in order to predict behavior in novel
Computational models can vary in complexity from relatively simple flow charts
to highly detailed connectionist networks. In these latter models units or nodes
are connected to many others. In a particular scenario units take the weighted
sum of the inputs coming to it and produce a single output to another unit.
Networks can be arranged in complex layered systems
Some limitations
There are usually many ways to model a particular cognitive phenomenon
There is a lack of a definite method for relating a computational model’s behaviour to human behaviour
It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to take every cognitive factor into account when creating a model (e.g. Do models of
language processing take into account the emotional connotations of particular sentences for particular individuals?)
-Cognitive neuropsychology: Concerned with the cognitive functioning of those who have suffered brain damage. From studying
people with brain injuries we make assertions about healthy brain function
oDamage to region X disrupts ability Y
oPeople who have lost ability Y also have problems with ability Z
Sample Case: Frontal Lobe damage. People with frontal lobe damage often show little cognitive deficit when given IQ tests.
However, they have extreme difficulty with things like
Socially acceptable behaviours
Cognitive flexibility
Abstract thinking
Frontal lobes are the area which differ to the greatest extent between human and ape brains
Some limitations:
Ethically we cannot cause brain damage in humans so we have to work with what we find. This damage is rarely ‘clean’
Interpretation of findings in relation to those suffering damage to several areas is very difficult
If ability Y is disrupted by damage to region X, it does not tell us what role X has in Y. Is it the functional centre, or simply a vital
stage? There are 50 billion interconnected neurons.
What was cog. functioning before injury?
-Cognitive neuroscience: Using brain imaging and brain anatomy to study ‘live’ cognitive functioning in healthy individuals. As the
technology improves, these studies are becoming more influential and potentially useful. Methods include:
Single Unit Recording
Event Related Potentials (ERPs)
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
(Functional) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI,
(Functional) Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS,
Magneto-encephalography (MEG)
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
oMetacognition: refers to the knowledge people have about the way that cognitive processes worl
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oCognitive psychology can be thought as a processes of developing our metacognition which is an actively
developing area of inquiry. It contains many alternative hypotheses about how the
mind works.
oLecture 3- The Neural basis for cognition
oGall and Spurzheim (late 1700’s) and phrenology:
Inferred one’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses from examining bumps and dents on the skull
Idea that different brain areas control different functions (localization of function) stimulated a lot of research
oLocalization of Function: The idea that there is a direct correspondence between specific cognitive functions and specific parts of
the brain
Franz (1912) opposed localization of function idea (Studied the effects of ablation, or destroying parts of an animal’s brain and
observing behavior). If brain functions are localized, then destroying one area should be evident in behavior. Concluded that
mental processes are due to the activity of the brain as a whole, and not individual parts
Lashley (1929) continued ablation studies:
-The law of mass action: Learning and memory depend on the total mass of brain tissue remaining
-The law of equipotentiality: Despite the fact that certain brain areas may become specialized to perform specific
functions, within limits, any part of the brain can do the job of any other part of the brain
oMajor subcortical areas of
the brain
oAtop the spinal cord
oBasic rhythms
The midbrain sits above
the hindbrain
oCoordinates movement,
especially eye movement
oIncludes parts of the auditory pathways
oRegulates the experience of pain
The forebrain includes:
oSubcortical structures:
Limbic System: Amygdala, Hippocampus
oAxes oDivision oConnection
oLeft-right oLongitudinal
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