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Cognitive psych- final exam notes.docx

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Western University
Psychology 2135A/B
Patrick Brown

Language What is language?  Ferdinand de Saussure distinguished between langue and parole: -langue- the underlying system of language -produced by groups of people (ex. a population who share a native language), therefore an individual person cannot change langue -parole- language as it is used -what a speaker produces on a given occasion -influenced by a person's life history and their current state (ex. anxious, tired, angry)  Chomsky distinguished between competence and performance: -competence- what you know about your language, resides in the individual -performance- how you use that knowledge (psychologists study both of these, linguists only study competence)  Psychologists study how language is influenced by: language skills, social situation, mood, attention Is language uniquely human?  Hockett's Design Features of Language- proposed a set of features that animal communication systems may have- but only human language has all of these features -the first 5 are common to the vocalizations of many land mammals (1-5) -the next 3 can be found only in primates (6-8) -the next 4 are specific to early hominoids (greats apes and humans) and modern humans (10-13) -productivity, displacement and reflexiveness are unique to human language 1. Vocal-auditory channel- allows the hands to be free for other tasks and makes language available even at night 2. Broadcast transmission and directional reception- anyone can hear spoken messages- they're not aimed at one person- but each listener can tell who broadcast a spoken message 3. Rapid fading- the speech signal is transient- available only in the moment it is uttered, then it disappears 4. Interchangeability- each person capable of sending a message can understand the same message 5. Total feedback- a speaker can hear and understand what he is saying as he says it 6. Specialization- the organs used for producing speech are specially adapted for that task 7. Semanticity- the linguistic signal is meaningful- it is about something 8. Arbitrariness- the signal does not resemble the thing that it refers to ex. the word dog is not furry and does not have four paws 9. Discreteness- the basic units of speech (ex. sounds) are perceived categorically (ex. a sounds will be perceived as either p OR b- not half one and half the other 10.Traditional transmission- we each learn the specific speech sounds, words and syntaxes of our language community 11.Displacement- the speaker can talk about things that are not physically present- such as china- or that don't even exist- such as unicorns 12.Productivity- the speaker can say novel utterances that have never been said before (ex. i just heard that little white dog tapping the chorus to beethoven) 13.Duality of patterning- the discrete parts of a language can be rearranged in a systematic way to create new forms (ex. cat to act or tac) 14.Prevarication- speakers can make utterances that they know to be false, with the intention of misleading their listener 15.Reflexiveness- speakers can use language to talk about language (like right now) 16.Learnability- speakers are not constrained by their genes to learn only the language of their biological parents Structure of language The most commonly used levels of analysis: • phonetics- study of how speech sounds are made and what they sound like (nothing to do with meaning) • phonology-a sound difference that does produce a meaning difference (ex p sound in pit vs. b sound in bit), a sound difference that does not produce a meaning difference is phonetic (p sounds without the puff of air vs. with) • morphology- study of the smallest units of meaning (cats as two morphemes, cat and s) • syntax- study of structures of sentences, consists of a set of elements and a set of rules for combining them -behaviourists build models of language based on chaining- each word is a stimulus for the next word in the sentence (overlooks the important relationship between words) -chomsky argued for two kinds of rules- phrase structure rules and generate tree structures and transformations that change one structure into another (ex. phase structure rules generate sentences- the class did well on the exam- and a transformation turns it into sentences- did the class do well on the exam? • semantics- the study of meaning 1. Anomaly- why are some sentences meaningless? 2. Self-contradiction- why is it contradictory to say "my dog is not an animal", what does contradictory mean? 3. Ambiguity- if I say “put your hat on my palm” why is it not clear where I want you to put your hat (on my hand? Or on my tree?) 4. Synonymy- how do we know that “Fred is fatter than Barney” and “Barney is thinner than Fred” mean the same thing, when their forms are quite different? 5. Entailment- how do we know that “Terry is pregnant” necessarily means that Terry is female? • pragmatics- this is about the social rules of language, including etiquette, and conventions that guide conversations (the way you behave towards your best friend and your professor) Two Issues 1. Modularity by Fodor -argued that cognitive processes such as perception and language are modular -modular processes are halfway between reflexes and high-level processes such as decision making (they are separated in your brain, can't stop them from happening (reflexes)/ they have intellectual content (cognitive content) -domain specific- they operate with certain kinds of input but not others -informationally encapsulated- they operate independently of beliefs and other information available to the processor (ex. if believe that studying hard will get you a good mark then you will study vs. if physician hits you on the knee, your leg will go up) -ex. knowing you are looking at a visual illusion doesn't prevent you from seeing that illusion -fodor says that decision making is modular but verbal/visual perception are not 2. Productivity in grammars -most accounts involve a set of rules that produce sentences....problem- the rules that generate sentences are to powerful, they can generate many grammatical but meaningless sentences -fodor- language stands all by itself, independent from everything else Semantic context in sentence comprehension -meanings are part of semantics- not part of language -grammar- generating sentence structure (doesn't include meanings) -McRae has shown clear evidence of an effect of meaning on syntactic analysis 1. The crook arrested by the detective was convicted of theft 2. The policeman arrested by the detective was convicted of theft - more trouble understanding sentence 2, since you relate the policeman to the knowledge you know about policeman (the revision of policeman slows down comprehension) Semantic context and word recognition -McRae's work shows an effect of semantics on a process (syntax-study of structure) that should be encapsulated -work also suggest a role for semantics in sentence comprehension -semantic context also helps us recognize individual words - Humans know so much about the world that to retrieve one bit of knowledge on a given occasion is a challenge; Contexts help us retrieve knowledge by focusing efforts on a particular part of our knowledge -Schwanenflugel and Shoben (see studies page) -compared processing of high-constraint and low-constraint sentences – those that either do or do not create expectations for particular words to follow Carpenter and Daneman's model of reading (see studies page) Semantic context and ambiguity -Sometimes selecting the appropriate words is not enough – you also have to select the appropriate meaning of a word if it has more than one meaning -Swinney and Hakes (see studies page)- dual task procedure -Swinney -similar as above Embodied cognition -Traditional models of cognitive psychology invoke abstract codes (“mental representations”) that are arbitrarily related to the things in the world they represent (Ex. The picture on the screen is not inside the computer, represented by dots) -For example, knowledge is thought of as a network of connected nodes, in which the nodes themselves are empty. That is, the node specifies only the relationship of a given concept to other concepts, an abstract quality (Ex. Birds connected to feathers, doesn’t tell you what birds are or what feathers are, just that birds have feathers) -Margaret Wilson -reviewed six separate ideas offered in the literature as the meaning of “embodied cognition” (concluded that the 6th was the one best supported) 1. Cognition is situated- the situation you're in is going to have some kind of impact on your thinking (ex. with your friends or at a funeral, bring certain things to mind) 2. Cognition is time pressured- have to do things in a hurry (ex. identify that it's a tiger and run away) 3. We off-load cognitive work onto the environment- don't have to do a verbal description if you point, using the environment to direct where you want someone to go 4. The environment is part of the cognitive system 5. Cognition is for action- ex. should you put the coffee in the cup or in the sink 6. Off-line cognition is body based- doing something that doesn't actually require you to worry about the environment (ex. sitting in a chair thinking about a friend, not worried about weather outside or anything else about the environment) Examples of off-line cognition being body-based: 1. imagery- uses the visual system but does not involve actual sensations 2. working memory- using the articulatory apparatus for maintenance rehearsal 3. mental models used in reasoning -reasoning is like simulation- we have these systems for running behaviour and when we want to think about something abstract we use them (ex. when you balance work and play, you're not putting them on a balance, it is abstract) Clark- We learn that “forward is good, backward is bad” because of the nature of the body – e.g., eyes in front so movements occur more safely and efficiently when we go forward -use bodys experience in the world to talk about that Vitruvius- said that the difference between humans and animals is that our long axis is vertical, so we can look up and see the stars (possibilities are open) Lakoff and Johnsons metaphor model -Abstract concepts are rooted in sensorimotor experience – e.g., we use basic bodily experiences such as traveling through space to understand abstract concepts such as romantic love and time -Ex. Im looking forward to the weekend (metaphor)…. Can only talk like this cause of the bodies experience Williams, Huang and Bargh -Features of abstract concepts are mapped onto well-understood concepts based on the body’s experience -E.g., infants are safe and comfortable in mother’s arms. Her body is warm. Infant learns to associate physical warmth with the abstract idea of “a caring person”. Warmth is now social. -the abstract and physical concept are connected- the physical concept comes from experience and we base our thinking (abstract concepts) on the physical concept -for example, people made to feel socially excluded (out in the cold) express stronger desire to have hot soup or coffee -Abstract concepts inherit qualities of the physical experiences used to understand them -E.g., the way to attain physical cleanliness involves avoidance behaviors and emotions such as disgust -The way to attain moral purity is analogous: avoid immoral people and be disgusted by immoral acts (such as sins) -Thus, the goal of achieving moral purity is structured by the goal of staying physically clean Comprehension Introduction- larger units of knowledge -larger units of knowledge- at the scale of texts (single paragraph or whole story) -whale is a concept vs. Moby Dick is a text (a story about a whale and the man who hunted it) The challenge -acquiring the meaning of a text is like concept acquisition in childhood, but it has to happen much faster: the process involves repetition and successive refinement -reading a text, we have to acquire and hold in memory a representation of what the text is about Three influences on comprehension -what influences our ability to encode, store, and retrieve larger units of meaning 1. The readers knowledge -what the reader knows is important in the process of extracting and storing meaning from text I. What kind of knowledge influences comprehension -our knowledge of the world can be thought of in terms of schemas- organized structures in memory -knowledge about a familiar event aids comprehension only if you bring it to bear on the task (recognize it as relevant) -background knowledge isn't sufficient if people don't recognize the appropriate context -Bransford and Johnson II. Which processes do schemas influence -schema knowledge influences encoding, it also influences retrieval -Sulin and Dooling -schemas can have positive or negative effects at both encoding and retrieval -if what you're seeing or recalling is schema-consistent, schema will help (bransford and johnson balloon study) -if what youre seeing or recalling is schema-inconsistent, schema will hinder (sulin and dooling adolf hitler study) -note that prior knowledge is said to hurt memory if what is needed is memory for a particular occasion 2. The structure of the text i. Global vs. local structure -global- high level, put novel into one sentence (ex. at the beginning of a movie, someone does something to someone else that disturbs equilibrium, and this continues throughout the movie (ripples)) -global structure influences text comprehension and thus memory -local- specific details, made of propositions (smallest unit of meaning that can be true or false) (ex. dog vs. the dog is blue) -2 models on effects of global detail: ii. Thorndike's model -a grammar of storytelling, basic idea is similar to grammar of a sentence: stories have hierarchical structure -a story grammar is a pattern- description of a problem, attempts to solve the problem, a chain of events leading to resolution, characters reactions to events (i.e. setting, theme, plot, resolution) (easily understood, therefore more memorable, since they have an appropriate structure) -experiments show that manipulating story structure influences both comprehension and memory performance (helps to understand the events and how they are related, the roles individuals play in the story and therefore you get better memory of the story) -understanding something makes it much easier to encode into memory and to later retrieve it, therefore correlated (bad structure makes the story not memorable and viceversa) iii. Mandler and Johnsons model -argued that folktales show basic structure- that is why they have survived for centuries: structure aids memory for the stories (simple, to the point, expectations of what will happen) -expect certain things to happen, so you can do top down processing which eases your comprehension (ex. boy meets girl, loses girl, gets girl back again) -6 elements: setting, beginning, reaction, attempt, outcome, ending -the sequence (beginning-ending) makes one episode. complex stories are created by embedding episodes -there is a hierarchy: can take a whole bunch of stories and analyze and get something similar to this, therefore don't need a theory for every story -if everything was different for everything else there wouldn't be a science of psychology **stories have internal structure -Bower, Black and Turner-influence of obstacles in scripts -effects of local detail: -during reading, local structure is built through 2 processes: 1. Referring a comment back to a topic within a proposition, the more propositions appear between topic and comment, the tougher comprehension is (ex. the dog i saw that lady with the flowered hat walking yesterday was a spaniel) 2. building bridges between propositions- comprehension is influenced by whether a proposition is still in STM when a new reference to it appears -Lesgold, Roth and Curtis “Athick cloud of smoke hung over the forest. Glancing to one side, Carol could see a bee flying around the back seat. Both of the kids were jumping around but made no attempt to free the insect. The forest was on fire.” “Athick cloud of smoke hung over the forest. The smoke was thick and black, and began to fill the clear sky. Up ahead, Carol could see a ranger directing traffic. The forest was on fire.” -ease of comprehension is also influenced by whether bridges between sentences involve implicit or explicit propositions “John threw a cigarette out of his window while driving through the forest. The fire destroyed hundreds of acres.” -the reader adds an implicit bridging proposition: the cigarette caused the fire -explicit- clearly stated (ex. the dog was blue) -implicit- get processed, takes work, over the long term as easy as explicit propositions to remember -comprehension is easier if bridging propositions are explicit 3. The interaction of these two -Kintsch model Construction-integration model- two stage model of text processing -during construction, propositions are extracted from the text, and these activate other knowledge in LTM (ex. John threw cigarette out window, there was a fire in the forest- activates knowledge about cigarette butt being lit at one end) -spreading activation -integration involves selection among activated word meanings to construct a propositional representation of the sentence (assembles the meaning of the sentence from all the activated words and propositions) -comprehension is not immediate but occurs over time- it involves both bottom up processes, construction phase (words in the text activate related meanings) and top down processes, integration phase (context is used to determine the appropriate meaning of the word) -overall: construction of a text representation and integration of that meaning with the readers world knowledge Problem Solving The role of problem solving in the history of cognitive psychology -Lachman, Lachman and Butterfield- were saying that we may have to chose between traditional experimental research and the study of complex behaviours such as problem solving -cognitive psychologists split into two schools on this issue 1. one led by Simon and Newell -argued that verbal reports were needed to study what matters (what thoughts enter the problem solvers mind as she works) -not asking how they are doing it, asking them what they are thinking about 2. one led by Kahneman and Tversky -focused on representations and processes, not what is going on in the mind -studied through ingenious experimental methods -cognitive psychology followed Kahneman (little chunks of cognitive psych by doing simple experiments) vs. Simon (high level complex operations- his method left him outside the mainstream of cognitive psych) Classifying problems Two basic possibilities: 1. Every problem is like every other problem- then the skills necessary for solving problems will be general 2. Every problem is unique- then a different set of skills would be necessary for each problem Greenos typology of problems- the truth is somewhere between the above extremes -problems within a class share some features, this means that similar skills are required for solving them (doesn't say anything about one class relating to another class) -argued that there are broad classes of problems with similar structures, for which similar approaches would work 1. Arrangement -arrangement problems- require rearranging parts to satisfy a given criterion (ex. seating guests at a table so that those who are mad at each other are far apart) (ex. anagram- rearrange the letters to form a word) -relevant skills: i. fluency- for generating partial solutions -ex. put rebecca between carly and daniel so daniel won't bother carly -ex. lab task demands possible orderings of a subset of the letters ii. retrieval -ex. what happened the last time daniel sat next to carly at dinner -ex. lab task requires retrieving words from memory to solve anagrams iii. knowledge of principles -ex. men are such beasts -ex. in a lab anagram task, you need to know the facts of English spelling -what makes arrangement problems difficult? we often put constraints on the process that are not actually part of the situation (we've added them, we can take them away, ex. nine dot problem) -gestalt psychologists argued that discovering the right arrangement of parts was often a matter of insight -insight: the sudden discovery of the correct solution to a problem following unsuccessful attempts ("seeing the light") -Metcalfe -solution was "subjectively catastrophic"- in one state and then suddenly in another state, no path that leads them from not knowing to knowing 2. Inducing structure -inducing structure problems- challenge is to find how a set of objects are related, the structure you induce is that relation (the relation is fixed, the problem is to discover it) -ex. analogies- have to figure out relationship between the two first and then see which pair is in the same relationship as March is to Month (City-Tokyo) -ex. series extrapolation- a problem that requires finding a pattern among a sequence of items to continue the sequence in the same pattern (ex. 1 2 8 3 4 6 5 6...) -the skills involved include: i. identifying relations among components ii. seeing a pattern among the relations -ex. Ravens Progressive Matrices test 3. Transformation -transformation problems- require changing the initial state through a series of (legal) operations to reach the goal state (ex. initial state- don't have undergrad, goal state- undergrad degree, legal operations-studying) -the goal state is provided and the challenge is to find your way to it -ex. Missionaries and Cannibals problem (also known as Hobbits and Orcs problem) 3 hobbits and 3 orcs. Get them across river. Orcs cant outnumber hobbits. -minimum number of operations that you have to do -difficult for computer program to solve because at some point you have to back track (take one orc or hobbit back) -but humans have no problem solving this -relevant skills: planning based on means-ends analysis -because you know the goal state you can compare it to your current state -if there is a difference, you select an operator that will reduce the difference -an operator is something you can do to move towards your goal -operators reduce the difference between your current state and your goal state Domain-general vs. domain-specific skills -the Monty Hall problem- -he eliminates door number 3, so that 33.3 percent goes to door number two. So door number 2 is now 66.7 and 1 is 33.3. since the host knows which door the car is behind -domain general- they are useful for a variety of tasks (ex. counting), often involve a met
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