Chapter 1 A Span Test (a list of items is read to the participant,
Scope of Cognitive Psychology who is then asked to report the list) measures working
Cognitive Psychology: scientific study of knowledge: memory’s capacity. The span test helps us also in
Memory: need memory of facts to supplement you in seeing how we make errors: when ‘F’ is presented, an
understanding stories; enhance your knowledge. error is usually ‘S’
o H.M was a man who had brain surgery to treat Baddeley and Hitch proposed that working memory is
epilepsy. A problem happened and H.M became not a single entity, but a working-memory system. At
unable to remember anything that happened after the heart of that system is the central executive,
the surgery. Without memory, H.M could not come
which is helped by lower assistants (their only function
to terms with his uncle’s death; he kept forgetting. is to store). One assistant is the articulatory rehearsal
Also, without his memory, he didn’t know his ‘self’. loop (it takes the information and rehearses it with
A Brief History your ‘inner voice’ so the executive can continue to
Cognitive Psychology is 50 years old. The Cognitive function). This assistant relies on the process of
Revolution happened in 1950-1960: subvocalization (silent speech), which initiates the
Wundt and Titchener launched the new enterprise of phonological buffer (it creates an auditory image
research psychology (separating it from biology and which fades in a few seconds but can be revived with
philosophy). They believed that psychology is the subvocalization).
study of conscious thoughts, and that can only be Concurrent Articulation Task: participants are
done with introspection (observe and record content required to take the span test while saying tah-tah-
of our own mental lives and sequence of our own tah. It provided support points for the loop:
experiences). Introspectors had to be trained to be 1. Because the loop was occupied with tah, we saw
unbiased. Introspection failed because memory also that the working memory capacity decreased
relies on the unconscious, which, by definition, (from 7 to 4).
introspection can’t reach. Also, there was no scientific 2. With visually presented items, the concurrent
evidence involved. articulation eliminated sound-alike errors
Data concerned with behaviour are observable and so, because we couldn’t use the loop to create the
scientific. So are stimuli. Recording these would sounds.
eventually give you a person’s learning history. Yet, 3. Memory spans that were tested with visual items
beliefs, goals and wishes aren’t observable, so showed the same effect when they were asked to
behaviourists had to rule out the mentalistic notions, draw items that were difficult to name, because
and so started the behaviourist movement participants couldn’t use the loop.
(dominated psychology in America for first half of 20 4. Another one is that since the loop is only required
century). People started losing interest in it because for storage, without it, we did not see any change
people act based on how they understand or interpret in the other capacities.
the situation, not by the objective situation itself. Claims regarding inner ear and eye have been useful
Kant proposed the transcendental method (aka (new observations) and accurate (correct predictions).
inference to best explanation; begin with observable We can also look at this from the perspective of
facts then work backward from these observations) to cognitive neuroscience (biological basis for cognitive
deal with the problem of studying the mental world functioning) or neuropsychology (how brain
without introspection. dysfunction influences observed performance).
Research in Cognitive Psychology: An Example Anarthia: inability to produce overt speech. People
Working Memory: used for information that is being with this inability make sound-alike errors like normal
actively worked on. It holds the information in an easily people do, which means that actual muscles aren’t
accessible location, because of its small size, but the used in subvocalization. So, the brain areas activated
small size also makes it difficult to remember a lot of are those required for planning and controlling muscle
things. movements. Temporal Lobes: the back, near the temples
Chapter 2 Occipital Lobe: the back, near the neck
Capgras Syndrome Lateral Fissure: divides brain laterally (frontal and
The disorder is rare, and seems to accompany temporal)
Alzheimer’s. The disorder may result from various brain Subcortical parts are beneath the cortex:
injuries. People with this disorder recognize others, but Thalamus: relay station for all sensory information
are convinced that they aren’t who they appear to be. going to the cortex.
The disorder can be explained with the fact that there Hypothalamus: underneath thalamus; controls
are 2 separate systems for facial recognition: one leads motivated behaviors (eat, drink, sex)
to cognitive appraisal, and the other to emotional Limbic System: structures essential for learning
appraisal. In this syndrome, the emotional path is and memory; underneath cortex in temporal:
disrupted. o Amygdala: emotional processing
The neural basis: Neuroimaging techniques (PET and o Hippocampus
MRI – structural) help show location of abnormalities. Lateralization: In all cases, cortical and subcortical, there
One site is in the right temporal lobe, which disrupts are 2 sides of each. They integrate through the presence
circuits between amygdala. People would also have of commissures (thick bundles of fibers that carry
damage to the prefrontal cortex (detected by functional information back and forth for the 2 hemispheres). The
techniques like fMRI). This area is inactive in dreaming, largest is the corpus callosum. Split Brain patients are
but active when planning. Damage to this in Capgras those with a severed corpus callosum. These patients
syndrome shows that patients can’t distinguish taught us that language capacities are on the left, and
between realities. spatial judgement is on the right.
What to learn? This shows that for all stimuli Neuropsychology: study of the brain’s structures and
recognition, we have 2 paths: factual knowledge and how they relate to brain function.
emotional. CT (structural; depend on X-rays; weakness: doesn’t
Study of the Brain specify activity), MRI (structural; depend on magnetic
We know that different areas are specialized with properties of atoms; weakness: doesn’t specify activity),
different functions through the studies of Phineas Gage, fMRI (functional; depend on BOLD; weakness: doesn’t
and Broca’s experiments. have exact time of event), and PET (functional; depend
Hindbrain: Right over spinal cord; controls key life on tracer substances; weakness: doesn’t have exact
functions. It also helps with posture and balance, as well time of event) are neuroimaging equipment. EEG:
as brain’s level of alertness. Electrical recordings of brain activity are another
Cerebellum: largest area of hindbrain; responsible technique. These measure the within neuron activity;
for spatial reasoning, coordination of movements, the electrical impulses that activate axon terminals to
sound discrimination, and integrating input. release neurotransmitters into synapse. These are
Midbrain: coordinates movement (including eyes), usually used to measure broad ranges of activity. To
auditory relay circuits, and pain regulation. measure small bursts, the EEG measures ERP (event-
Forebrain: largest brain part in humans. It surrounds related potentials) changes in voltages before, during,
and hides the other 2. and after an event). Its weakness: doesn’t specify place.
Cortex: thin covering on outer surface of forebrain, Another method is TMS (Transcranial magnetic
3mm thick. It’s actually 80% of brain though, stimulation): magnet causes a temporary disruption of
because of the convolutions (wrinkles). brain region it’s pointed at.
Longitudinal Fissure: deepest groove that divides A weakness of all these neuropsychological techniques
the brain from front to back, separating it into left is that they only provide correlational, not causational
and right hemispheres. data.
Frontal Lobes: under forehead Localization of function: tries to find what’s happening
Parietal Lobes: topmost part of brain where within the brain. Cerebral Cortex many times a second or only occasionally, depending
Generally divided into 3 areas: on the message.
Motor areas: contain brain tissue for organizing and Glia: help guide development of nervous system
controlling bodily movements through early development, support repairs in
Primary projection areas: points for signals leaving nervous system, maintain and control flow of
the cortex towards muscle or vice versa. Departure nutrients to neurons, create myelin sheaths, may have
is motor and arrival is sensory projection. their own signalling system…
Movements due to electric shocking show a Synapse: tiny gap that conveys neurotransmitters
pattern of contralateral control (opposites control)
(there’s only 100 neurotransmitters). The synaptic gap
Areas with a lot of nerves devoted to them are slows down the neuronal signal. This isn’t really a
those we can manipulate better. strong negativity because neurons receive
Sensory Areas: tissue for organizing and analyzing the neurotransmitters from several surrounding neurons.
information we receive from senses Also, communication at the synapse is adjustable (due
Comes from the somatosensory area. If electric to learning).
currents were directed there, a person would Visual System
report tingling sensations. Photoreceptors: Light hits the cornea into the lens
Each of these areas provides a map of sensory (changes focus with the surrounding muscle), and then
environment reaches the retina. On the retina, there are 2
Assignment of cortical space is governed by photoreceptors (specialized neural cells that respond to
function, not anatomical proportions. light): rods (sensitive to low lights; color-blind) and
Also contralateral connections exist here. cones (less sensitive to light, so need high lights;
Association Areas: perform the task of associating sensitive to color; 3 types to determine color;
simple ideas and sensations in order to form more responsible for acuity because the image falls on fovea
complex thoughts and behaviors. that has only cones).
Lesions in frontal lobe produce apraxias Photoreceptors send signals to bipolar cells, then to
(disturbance in initiation of voluntary action) ganglion cells (whose axons converge to form optic
Lesions in occipital lobe produce agnosias nerve). From ganglion cells, they travel to LGN (lateral
(disturbance in ability to identify familiar objects). geniculate nucleus) in thalamus, responsible from
These usually affect one modality only. transmitting to primary projection area in occipital lobe.
Lesions in parietal lobe produce neglect syndrome Lateral Inhibition: cells, when stimulated, inhibit activity
(individual ignores half of visual world). of neighbors. This leads to a stronger response from
Lesions in the lateral fissure produce aphasia cells on edges, leading to edge enhancement (edge will
(disruption to language capacities). seem brighter because of no inhibition).
Damage to prefrontal area causes a variety of Single-cell recording: investigators can record
problems: can’t plan and implement strategies, movement by movement, pattern of electrical changes
within a single neuron. It`s used to seek the patterns
inhibiting their own behaviors, or confusions about
realities. that cause neurons to fire more/less. This allows us to
Brain Cells define the cell’s receptive field (size and shape of area
Neurons: nerve cells in brain; three major parts: cell in visual world to which cell responds).
body, dendrites, and axon. Once neurotransmitters Hubel and Wiesel found that there are several receptive
passes threshold, cell fires and produces an action
potential. From one neuron to the next, it’s through Dot detectors: fire when they sense a small, circular
neurotransmitters; from one end to the next of the area in a specific position within field of view. These
same neuron, it’s through electric impulse. Neurons are aka center-surround cells (light in center has
also follow the all-or-none principle, but it can fire opposite influence on light in surround). Edge Detectors: stimulated at the presence of edges perceiver. An example is that of the Necker cube or
or bars. These have a preference to orientations. Rubin figure. This can also be seen in drawings neutral
Movement Detectors: fire at moving detectors with regard to figure/ground organization (determining
which is figure and which is background), where the
In the visual cortex, there are more specialized types
of receptors (fire to angles, corners…). images are neutral, but your perception creates bias.
Area V1: Site on occipital lobe where axons of LGN Reversible figures aren’t the only ambiguous figures,
reach cortex. but most other things are. We don’t notice their
The visual system relies on parallel processing (many ambiguity because the interpretation happens
instantaneously. Gestalt discovered a set of principles
different steps are going on simultaneously; contrast of
serial processing – step by step method). This provides that guide our interpretations.
speed and possibility of mutual influence among the Proximity: Close things belong to the same object.
systems. Similarity: things similar in color are grouped together.
Within optic nerve, there are P cells (to parvocellular Good continuation: things that present a straight
system in LGN) and M cells (to magnocellular system in contour belong together
LGN). These are specialized to spatial analysis. Closure: we like to perceive closed figures, not
The WHAT pathway is through temporal, and it incomplete ones
identifies visual object. The WHERE pathway is through Simplicity: we interpret images in the simplest way
the parietal system and is responsible for guiding our possible.
action; based on our perception of where the object is. Form perception has 2 steps: collect raw data, then ‘go
Binding problem: tasks of reuniting various elements of beyond the information given’. That’s not always the
a scene, elements that are initially dealt with by
case because sometimes our interpretation happens
different systems (problem with the specialized brain). before we begin interpretation. So in actuality, these 2
Binding problem solutions: steps happen at the same time (parallel processing).
Spatial Position: put the where and what together. Object Recognition
Rhythm: visual system uses neural synchrony (if Object Recognition: process which we use to identify
neurons detecting a vertical line are firing in objects. This is easy, but essential in applying knowledge
synchrony, then these attributes belong to the same to the world. It’s also crucial for learning.
object). We have 2 types of influences on what you see:
Attention also plays a key role in binding. Evidence o Bottom-up Influences: influences from the
comes from conjunction errors (correctly detect stimulus (features are in view)
features present in a visual display, but making o Top-Down Influences: knowledge/expectation
mistakes about how the features are conjoined driven influences; they rely on your knowledge;
(someone shown a blue H and red T might say T is follow the ‘beyond the information’ model (i.e. you
blue). read CAT, not CHT).
One theory is that recognition begins with the
Chapter 3 identification of visual features (vertical lines,
Form Perception diagonals… in input patterns). This is supported through
Vision is our strongest sense because it has the most neuroscience’s observation: people are fast and
spaces of brain area dedicated to it. This can be seen efficient in searching for targets with simple features,
through ventriloquism (person can utter sounds, and it not in searching for those with a combination of
would seem it’s coming from puppets – we believe our features. So, feature analysis is an early step. More
eyes and believe that the puppet is talking). support is through integrative agnosia (damage to
Form Perception: process through which we see basic parietal cortex that causes impairment in tasks that
shapes and sizes of objects. require people to judge how features are bound
Gestalt group pointed out ‘beyond the information together, yet they can detect simple features). This
given’, which means that interpretation is based on the means that feature detection happens before reaching Also, the higher-level detectors help in resolving
Word Recognition This may cause recognition errors, because you might
Tachistoscope: device designed to present stimuli for have been presented with a non-word (CQRN) but
controlled amounts of time (usually 20-30ms). The perceived it instead as CORN.
stimulus is then followed by a mask (random jumble of The networks knowledge is not locally represented (it’s
letters, to interrupt continued processing). These tests not stored in a particular location). The knowledge
are used to see if people can recognize those stimuli about bigram frequencies is distributed knowledge (it’s
later. This depends on several factors: represented in a fashion that’s distributed across the
Familiarity of stimulus: frequent words are easier. network and detectable only if we consider how the
Recency of view: the first exposure primes the entire network functions). This means we need to look
participant, and the process of exposing the stimulus at the relationship between 2 activation levels, not the
multiple times is called repetition priming. level of one by itself.
The system trades off accuracy in order to get efficiency
Word-Superiority Effect: words are more easily
recognized than isolated letters. This was discovered Descendants of Feature Net
through the ‘two-alternative, forced choice’. There are 3 variations on this, but all have the common
Pronouncability: easily pronouncable strings provide a belief of the basic network of connected detectors:
context benefit, so are more recognizable. 1. McClelland-Rumelhart Model: the network is better
with well-formed strings and more efficient in
Probability: we recognize them depending on the
probability of how often 2 letters are together. identifying characters in context. The model doesn’t
believe in bigram detectors. The model focuses on
Our errors are very systematic: misspelled, partial or
non-words are read in a way that brings them into line excitatory connections (activation of one detector
with normal spelling. So, our perception is guided by causes activation in neighbors) and inhibitory
spelling as well. connections (those that inhibit activation of others).
Feature Nets and Word Recognition Also, this model believes in a two-way street of
influences coming back and forth from feature
We have a network of detectors, organized into layers,
with each layer getting more complex. The first is detectors and higher-level detectors. This model is
feature nets (bottom-up system concerned with usually favoured because it reflects biology (our eyes
features: lines, patterns…). Each level in the network send and receive input from LGN for example).
has an activation level (reflects the status of detector at 2. Recognition by Components (RBC) model: includes an
intermediate level of detectors sensitive to geons
any given moment). The detector is activated when the
activation level reaches the response threshold (point (geometric ions). This theory applies more to the real
that detector fires, and sends a signal to the other world in that it explains how we recognize objects a