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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - Introduction.docx

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PSYC 212
Jelena Ristic

1 Jan 8 2013 PSYC 213 Textbook Chapter 1: Introduction Pages 3-21 • Cognition: The action or faculty of knowing o Study of processes: the ways in which we become acquainted with things • It is a faculty: we have come to divide the mind into faculties that represent the mental activities of which we are capable Information Processing • Everyday activities like attending, comprehending, remembering and problem solving – to us falls under the general heading of “thinking” • Communication: broken down into three parts o A sender: encodes the message (puts what he/she wants to communicate into appropriate signals) o A communication channel: signals are transmitted via a communication channel o A receiver: when a person receives the information he/she decodes the message Information Theory • Idea that information reduces uncertainty in the mind of the receiver • That the information provided by a particular message is not determined solely by the signal itself, but rather by the whole array of possible messages of which this particular signal is just one • The amount of information a message conveys is an increasing function of the number of possible messages from which that particular message could have been selected • The less likely the message the more information it conveys (the information provided by a particular event is inversely proportional to its probability of occurrence) • The amount of information provided by the occurrence of an event can be quantified in terns of bits: An event that occurs in a situation with two equally likely outcomes provides one “bit” of information • Every time the # of equally possible events doubles, then the number of bits goes up by one Tests: people respond slowly to less likely signals • Merkel and later Hick did test to show that more stimulus options leads to longer response time • When set of stimuli is small, there is little uncertainty as to which will occur, so the info produced is small • When more stimuli, response time increases because more info to process • Response time is proportional to signal information • Tests by Crossman and by Hick show response time faster as signal prob increases (conveys less info), and slows as signal prob decreases (conveys more info) • Shows that the time it takes a person to react to any one stimulus is not determined solely by the stimulus itself, but rather by the entire complex of situations of which this particular signal is just one • Also shows response time is proportional to signal info whether info is varied by: o Altering number of equally probable events o Manipulating frequency of stimulus occurrence o Introducing sequential dependencies Information-Processing Limitations: it takes time to translate a visual signal to a key-press or verbal response in tests • The amount of time it takes for information to flow through the nervous system contributes one limitation • The amount of visual information that a person can transmit at once has limits o The more information a visual signal conveys the longer it takes someone to make an appropriate response  Addition to a time limitation, the nervous system exhibits a capacity limitation 2 • When two messages arrive simultaneously, the amount of interference between them depends on the amount of information they convey • The limit “is one of information rather than stimulation” • Overloading of a person’s information-processing capacity is dealt with by the person’s selecting only some of the total available information; particularly information that shares some basic physical property • Humans are not merely passive receivers and transformers of signal information, but rather are active selectors of information from the environment Models of Information-Processing • Broadbent’s Filter Model: Based on the idea that information processing is restricted by channel capacity o Based on the idea that information processing is restricted by channel capacity o Capacity-free sensory buffer --> selectiv limited capacity channel (nervous system) o When >1 signal comes in they are entered in parallel to the sensory buffer, which extracts simple stimulus and
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