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Psychology 2135A/B Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Automaticity, Cognitive Load, Bigram

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John Paul Minda
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Psych 2135 Textbook Notes Midterm 1 Chapters 1-5
Chapter 1: Foundations of Cognitive Psych
The Scope of Cognitive Psych
- Cognitive Psych: scientific study of the acquisition, retention and use of knowledge
- The Broad Role for Memory
o Relevance of cognitive psych is broad b/c actions, thoughts and feelings depend on knowledge
o Many encounters with the world depend on supplementing your experience with knowledge that
you bring to the situation
- Amnesia and Memory Loss
o Patient H.M brain surgery for epilepsy, no memory of what happened after the operation but
could remember what happened before
Without ones memory, there is no self
o Cognitive psych can help us understand capacities relevant to every moment of out lives
The Cognitive Revolution
- Huge shift in research style
o New style indented for studying problems we already met including decision making and memory
- The limits of introspection
o Cog revolution centered around a few ideas
1. The science of psych cannot study mental world directly
2. The science of psych must study mental world if we are going to understand behavior
o Wilhelm Wundt
Work led to the modern field of experimental psych
View: psych must focus on study of conscious mental events (feelings, thoughts,
perceptions and recollections)
How to study thoughts: introspect (“look within”)
Observe and record the content of our mental lives and their sequence
Introspectors must be meticulously trained
Limitations noticed after a few years of research:
Many thoughts are unconscious therefore limited as a research tool
Must be able to test claims of research
- The Years of Behaviourism
o New method of object research necessary for psych to be studied and considered a science
o Thought only observable/objective behavior should be studied therefore beliefs, wishes, goals and
expectations were ignored
o Stimuli including rewards and punishments very popular
o The way people act and the way they feel are guided by how they understand/interpret a situation
and not the objective situation itself
o Limitation: we need to study non-objective mental processes
- Roots of the Cognitive Revolution
o How people act is shaped by how they perceive the situation, how they understand the stimuli
o Kant’s transcendental method
Begin with observable facts and work backward from observations
Sometimes called “inference to best explanation”
Visible effects from an invisible cause
o Mental processes are important but cannot be observed directly, therefore must study indirectly
i.e measuring delays in producing a response, performances that can be assessed for
accuracy, errors that can be scrutinized and categorized
We can then develop and test the hypothesis
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Research in Cognitive Psychology: The Diversity of Methods
- Working Memory: Initial Observations
o Working memory: the memory you use for information that you are actively working on
Holds info in an easily accessible form so it is quickly available to you
Available so quickly because working memory is small (i.e only a few things in it at a time
so you can pick what you need quickly)
o Span test: way to measure working memory’s capacity
Read a list to someone of a few items, person has to report back in sequence. If they get it
right, increase the sequence. Repeat until they get it wrong
Generally 7/8 is average
- Working Memory: A proposal
o When people make mistakes in the span test, often they repeat letters they didn’t hear but ones
that sound similar to ones that were in the sequence (i.e S in the sequence but say F) result of
relying on the rehearsal loop in working memory
o Working memory has several different parts therefore “Working memory system”
Central executive: the part that runs the show and does the real work
Executive helped by lower-level assistants
Provide storage
Specifically info that will soon be needed but isn’t currently needed
o Think piece of scrap paper you write something on
Articulatory rehearsal loop (job of assistants)
Ex: repeating list of numbers in your head over and over while still reading a
Subvocalization silent speech
Phonological bugger auditory image is created in the inner ear
- Evidence for the Working-Memory System
o Concurrent articulation task
Loop is not available because you are using your mouth/tongue to say words out loud so
cannot use them for sub vocalization
Span test results drop to 4/5 items
“sound-alike errors” are eliminated with visually presented items instead of auditory items
Blocks the use of the loop but has no affect on ability to read brief sentences
- The Nature of Working-Memory Evidence
o Cognitive Neuroscience study of the biological basis for cognitive functioning
o Anarthria inability to produce overt speech (due so forms of neurological damage)
o Inner speech relies on parts of the brain that involve planning and controlling the muscle
movements, actual movements of the tongue are not necessary
o Neuropsychology
Observations concern how various forms of brain dysfunction influence observed
Observations from brain imaging show that working-memory activates areas that are
involved in the production of spoken language and areas that are important for the
perception of spoken language
Inner voice uses mechanisms actually used for over speech
Inner ear uses mechanisms actually used for hearing
Note: deaf people rely on an “inner hand” for sign language not an inner voice
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Chapter 2: The Neural Basis for Cognition
Explaining Capgras Syndrome
- A person thinks that the people in her life are being impersonated by others and the real people have been
o Possible reason this happens: facial recognition requires two separate systems in the brain
1. One that leads to a cognitive appraisal
2. Emotional Appraisal
Disrupted in capgras syndrome
- Neural Basis for Capras Syndrome
o Types of neuroimaging provide data for physical makeup of brain (i.e what’s where)
o Temporal lobe damage in capgras syndrome specifically the amygdala (emotional evaluator)
o Also prefrontal cortex (planning and careful analysis) damage in capgras
fMRI enables us to track moment by moment activity levels in different sites in a living
- What Do We Learn From Capgras Syndrome
o Our understanding of it comes from combination of cognitive psychology and cognitive
o Apparently easy tasks i.e recognizing your father uses multiple parts of the brain as is true for
most tasks
The Study of the Brain
- Hindbrain, Midbrain, Forebrain
o Hindbrain:
Sits on top of spinal cord
Controlling key life functions
Ie. Rhythm of heartbeats and breathing
Posture and balance
Diverse set of further roles
Damage problems with spatial reasoning, discriminating sounds and integrating
input received from various sensory systems
o Midbrain
Coordinating movements (including eyes)
Auditory information circuits
Regulate experience of pain
o Forebrain
Outer surface cortex
Crumpling of the cortex is called the convolutions
Longitudinal fissure (runs from front to back of brain)
o Frontal Lobes
Divided from the partial lobes by the central fissure
Bottom of the frontal lobes marked by lateral fissure
- Subcortical Structures
o Thalamus
Sensory relay station
o Hypothalamus
Controlling motivated behaviours (eating, drinking, sexual activity)
o Limbic System
Amygdala and Hippocampus
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