PSYC21H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Neocortex, Cognitive Module, Mnemonic

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6 Apr 2011
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PSYC21 Final readings
Week 6 Reading: Evolutionary Origins of Social communication
Development of imitation: a comparative cognitive science approach
Imitation Humans must appropriately extract key elements from the info of other’s body movements
^ constantly changes over time
mentally assemble the extracted elements
control our own bodies to replicate the actions accurately
by imitating actions of others, observer can efficiently acquire the adaptive skills specific to
their group
w/o depending only on trial and error, or individual learning
ensures successful communication with others in order to ensure survival of group
members
effective communication requires ability to predict & understand behavior of others with
the same mental state as oneself
ToM: ability to understand intentions, goals, beliefs, & thoughts of others
Product of evol’n that has enabled humans to survive in complex social environments
Imitation = believed to serve as found’n for development of these kinds of mental
structures
Infants can learn that they share certain physical traits with others
Can compare their own experience of perf the same actions with the observed actions of
others
Helps infants develop a mental state of awareness that links them to the mental states of
others
Imitation also believed to play an esp imp role in imaginative ability of conceiving an object
not present, and to serve as a prereq for rep an object by abstract thought (eg: language)
Humans vs.
chimpsξ€β€œmonkey see, monkey do” = untrue!!
Body imitation is difficult for monkeys & chimps
Chimps find it more difficult to perf actions that involved manipulating one object than
those that involved manipulating one object toward another object, or manipulating one
object toward me
They reproduced actions involving familiar motor patterns more easily than unfamiliar
ones
But freq for imitation even for familiar actions were very low
Style of recognizing actions of others is diff in chimps than in humans
Info about body movements of other chimps (motor patterns) did not translate easily into
clues for reproducing the actions, for the chimps
Results indicate that when chimps are imitating, they pay less attn to body movements
and more to the objects being manipulated
It is very difficult for chimps to appropriately map the visual images of the body
movements of another in correspondence to their own body movements
Can humans
imitate from
time of
birth?
Meltzoff & Moore (1977): even newborn humans possess the ability to perform imitation w/
parts of their bodies they can’t see themselves
Based on the fact that infants can imitate some facial expressions (like sticking out tongue,
aka neonatal imitation), hypothesized that humans possess an inherent body-mapping
capability
Aka β€œactive inter-modal mapping” (AIM)
This develops with age and allows humans to develop the ability to imitate more complex
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behavior
Neonatal imitation disappears/ lessens @ 2 months after birth, reappears @ about 1 year
Newborn chimps were able to differentiate & reproduce the facial expressions of another
individual from a week after birth
Neonatal imitation found to be shared b/w humans & chimps
Mechanisms
supporting
neonatal
imitation
Chimp neonatal imitation disappeared 9 weeks after birth
Neonatal imitation can’t be explained by primordial reflex theory
Humans & chimps are able to differentiate b/w at least 2 diff expressions: tongue
protrusion & mouth opening
Baron-Cohen (1996): it is possible to perf imitative actions limited to the neonatal level w/o
perf body mapping b/w one’s body and another’s
Human neonates do not perceive stimuli via specific sensory modalities with specialized
cortical nerve pathways
Stimuli are perceived in a synesthetic, amodal state on the subcortical level
Human infants can perceive stimulus traits w/o separating sight & touch
Within this amodal sensory system, newborns are thought to perceive moving stimuli
It is suggested that neonatal imitation is the result of infant’s synesthetically outputting
this info onto their own bodies
2 views of how the actions of others are regarded:
AIMunderstanding of the mental state of another person is developed thru auto & direct
inherent mapping of another’s body movements onto our own body
all actions of another individual are imitated and actually experienced with one’s own
body
leads to a simulation of another’s perspective thru oneself
thru imitation immediately after birth, infants attribute their own mental states to mind
of the actor
Goal-
directed human infants interpret & imitate the actions of others in attempts to achieve goals
efficiently
imitation faithfully based on mapping was not observed (can’t imitate touchin ear with
opposite hand)
this rational cognitive style seen in the head-light experiment = teleological stance
this isn’t associated with the mental states of the other individual
it’s thought to be limited to a nonmentalistic level of explaining and predicting the goal of
action
Imitation as a form of communication, and its evol’n origins
diff ways in which humans & chimps recognize (input) the behavior of others may be a reason for
the diff in their imitation abilities
Development of
social
communication
& imitation
humans are able to imitate behaviors before 1 year of age if the action is
sufficiently simple
social communication based on the dyadic relationship occurs increasingly from
4mon
infants learn during this period to manipulate objects in simple ways
imitation based on a triadic relationship that is guided by an adult enables a more
faithful reexperiencing in the infant of the other’s action
Meltzoff (1990): 9mo infants prefer those who are imitating them than those who
don’t
Human infants learn each day w/ the guidance of others of how to communicate
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thru imitation
Sharing body
experiencesYou pinching yourself = bidirectional, you feel being pinched & pinching
being pinched = unidirectional, you feel only being pinched
Ecological self: through repeated body experiences such as these, human infants
become aware of how their own action can affect the external world
Through repetitions of self-awareness, infant becomes able to differentiate b/w
their own actions and those of others, while realizing that many aspects are
shared b/w the 2
By merely watching the actions of others, infant can gain access to intentional
mental states behind those actions
Infant can project their own mental state onto others
As infant performs shared imitation w/ others, mapping occurs in greater detail
Develops gradually through accumulation of shared body experiences with others
based on triadic communication
Development &
evol’n of
imitation
ability
It is very rare for chimps to interact triadically
Human infants understand objects thru the perspectives of others
This is rarely observed in chimps (moms don’t interact with the chimp)
Chimps appear to predict the purpose of an action from their knowledge of the
objects’ traits & fxns, and the change of state they experience
Can’t use the brush except for brushing (eg; can’t hit with the brush, even when
shown
Humans can predict the goals of someone w/o being restricted to a specific context
Mirror neurons: vental premotor area F5, inferior parietal cortex of the macaque
Discharges when a monkey perfs an action
Pigtailed macaques are capable of recognizing when they’re being imitated
Week 8 Reading: Inference or interaction – social cognition w/o precursors
interaction theory (IT) as an alternative to both theory theory (TT) and simulation theory (ST)
various capacities for primary and secondary intersubjectivity found in infancy and early
childhood should not be thought of as precursors to later developing capacities for using folk
psychology or simulation routines
they various capacities for primary and secondary intersubjectivity found in infancy and early
childhood should not be thought of as precursors to later developing capacities for using folk
psychology or simulation routines
standard and dominant models of social cognition: TT and ST
Theory theorywe rely on our folk psychological theory to formulate the
inference
Simulation
theorywe explicitly simulate what must be going on in the other’s
mind by imagining ourselves in his or her shoes
social cognition is a problem (the β€˜problem of other minds’) because we lack direct access to other
minds
we need some special cognitive process (theorizing, simulating) that will allow us to infer
(mindread, mentalize) mental states in others
our normal everyday stance toward the other person is an observational stance
we observe behaviors with some degree of detachment, and we use those observations as
evidence for our theorizing, or as starting points for our simulating
these mentalizing processes (theorizing or simulating) constitute our primary and pervasive way
of understanding others
we attempt to explain or predict their behavior by divining their mental states
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Document Summary

Week 6 reading: evolutionary origins of social communication. Development of imitation: a comparative cognitive science approach. humans must appropriately extract key elements from the info of other"s body movements. control our own bodies to replicate the actions accurately. by imitating actions of others, observer can efficiently acquire the adaptive skills specific to their group. w/o depending only on t rial and error, or individual learning. ensures successful communication with others in order to ensure survival of group members. effective communication requires ability to predict & understand behavior of others with the same mental state as oneself. tom: ability to understand intentions, goals, beliefs, & thoughts of others. product of evol"n that has enabled humans to survive in complex social environments. imitation = believed to serve as found"n for development of these kinds of mental structures. infants can learn that they share certain physical traits with others.

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