PSYC 213 Chapter All: PSYC 213 Cognition - Notes.docx

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22 Jan 2015
PSYC 213 Cognition
Chapter 1: History, Definitions and Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
Defining Cognitive Psychology
Oxford English Dictionary
Action or faculty of knowing
Divided to different mental abilities
Cognitive Psychology studies both low level (i.e. hearing) and high level (i.e.
decision making, intelligence) processes
Urlic Neisser’s definition (Slide 10)
Folk Psychology: A set of assumptions and theories based on everyday
behaviors of ourselves and others.
Metacognition and Cognitive Psychology
Metacognition: The knowledge people have about the way certain
cognitive processes work; how accurately you can assess your own
cognitive processes.
Historical Perspective
How did we get to this definition?
Dialectics: Progression of scientific knowledge
Historical roots of cognitive psychology:
1) Philosophy: Seeks to understand the general nature of the world primarily
using introspection
2) Physiology: Study of the structure and function of the living matter primarily
using experimental approach.
Dialects: Rationalism (knowledge comes from the mind) vs. Empiricism
(knowledge through observation and experimentation)
Plato (rationalist) vs. Aristotle (empiricist)
17th century Descartes vs. Locke
18th Century Synthesis: Immanuel Kant
Both rationalism and empiricism are important
Influence on Cognitive Psychology
Rationalism: Influence on theory development
Empiricism: Influence on the development of the experimental method
Dialects in Cognitive Psychology
1) Structuralism vs. Functionalism (late 1800s)
Functionalism: Psychologists should focus on processes. How the mind
Methodological approach was eclectic – usefulness of knowledge was a
driving force.
Functionalism  Pragmatism (early 1900s)
Synthesis: Associationism (early 1900s)
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PSYC 213 Cognition
How events become associated with one another to result in learning.
Mental processes are associated with one another.
Ebbinghaus: Studied memory
Edward Thorndike: The key to making associations is “satisfaction” or
Law of Effect: A stimulus will produce a response if organism is rewarded
2) Behaviorism vs. Cognitive Psychology (mid 1900s)
Behaviorism: The focus of psychology should be the study between the
stimulus and the response.
How behavior arises given a certain stimulus.
Shift from human to animal research.
Ex: Pavlov and the dog (classical conditioning)
John Watson – Baby Albert experiments demonstrating fear conditioning and
generalization in humans (unethical, not done anymore).
B.F SkinnerAll human behavior can be modified by stimulus-reaction
Brain is a passive organ.
Behavior is contingent on the schedule of rewards and punishments.
Bandura: Vicarious learning. Learning also results from rewards and
punishments modeled by others.
Gestalt Psychology: Experience of percepts
Karl Lashely: Brain is dynamic and active organ (primary for language)
Skinner response: Language is S-R
Chomsky: Language is creative. Children produce sentences without
Technological advancements: mind as a computer metaphor.
Cognitive Psychology born in 1960s
Accepts existence of internal mental states
Accepts scientific method of inquiry (rejects introspection as the main
Late 1960s – Cognitive revolution. Emergence of classical cognitive
Classical Cognitive Psychology
Information processing models
Understanding and representing mental operations
Information processing
Important for understanding and measuring mental operations
Mental operations are embedded in time
Basis for experimental measurements
Three stages of communication:
1) Sender: Encodes the message
2) Communication channel (transmission): Transmits signal
3) Receiver (decoding): Receives and decodes information
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PSYC 213 Cognition
Less likely the message is, the more information it provides
People respond slower to less probable messages
- Response time is related to info processing
Models of information processing
Broadbent’s Filter Model
-First complete theory of attention
-Broadbent argues that the nervous system is a single channel,
having a limit to the rate at which it can transmit stimulus
-There’s a selective filter, which, in order to avoid overloading the
limited capacity channel, might pass along only some of the
available incoming information.
-The filter operates by selecting messages that share some
common basic physical characteristic, and passing these
messages along to the limited capacity system, which is
responsible for the ‘higher-order’ stimulus attributes, such as
form and meaning.
-Broadbent’s Solder-Digit test: Broadbent interpreted a
difference in recall performance to mean that the ears function
as separate channels for information input (had to use selective
Neisser’s Perceptual Cycle: Cyclical model of cognition, the
perceiver possesses a schema that represents what the person is
likely to find in the environment.
-Schemas: Our expectations concerning what we are likely to
find as we explore the world.
-Perceptual cycle begins with the schema directing exploration of
the environment, which brings the person into contact with
information, which in turn can correct the schema, and so on.
-Become increasingly sophisticated in dealings with the
Information Theory
Information Theory: Information provided by a particular event is
inversely related to its probability of occurrence (Less likely a signal is, the
more information it conveys).
Amount of information provided by the occurrence of an event can be
quantified in terms of bits.
Bit: Binary digit. An event that occurs in a situation with two equally
likely outcomes provides one “bit” of information.
Early Tests of Information Theory
People respond more slowly to less likely signals, and quickly to more
likely signals.
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