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PSY270H1 Study Guide - Roger Shepard, Mental Rotation, Endel Tulving

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Gillian Rowe

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Wason Selection:
People find it very difficult to decide what information is necessary in order to test
the truth of an abstract logical-reasoning problem.
A typical experiment using the Wason Selection Task will present some rule, and
ask participants to see if the rule is being violated.
The basic idea is that you can test rules when you have some knowledge or
experience that is appropriate, but not when you lack this experience.
Operation Span:
Working memory is often viewed as a flexible workspace that not only stores
information but also plays an active role in processing and manipulating
information. This active process, however, seems to have a limited amount of
resources to work with. One question that has been posed is whether the
capacity is specific to verbal tasks or if there is a general pool of resources that is
used in every working memory task.
To determine whether there is a general capacity for all working memory tasks,
Turner and Engle (1989) developed a task called operation-word-span or
OSPAN. In this task, participants are asked to read and verify a simple math
problem (such as "Is (4/2)-1=1?) and then read a word after the operation (such
as SNOW). After a series of problems and words has been presented, the
participants recall the words that followed each operation. The number of
operation-word strings in a sequence is increased and decreased to measure the
participant's operation span.
Operation span measures predict verbal abilities and reading comprehension
even though the subjects are solving mathematical problems. Engle and his
colleagues have argued that this implies a general pool of resources that is used
in every type of working memory situation.
This type of task is often called a complex span task, and can be contrasted with
a simple span task, such as memory span. The primary difference is the
presence (complex span) or absence (simple span) of a secondary task (e.g., the
math problems). Performance on simple span tasks usually correlate very highly
with complex span tasks, but complex span tasks often correlate with a wider
variety of tasks, including those that tap attention, than simple span.
Levels of Processing:
The levels of processing have become a central phenomenon in cognitive psychology in
the last several decades. In everyday tasks, one may not realize that he or she is using
the semantic processing for deeper analysis of the story. For example, when reading a
novel, it comes naturally and is most likely stored into long-term memory for recall
(Craik& Lockhart, 1972, p. 680); that way when the person is discussing about that
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