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Chapter 1

PSYCH 2H03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Subvocalization, Neuropsychology, Cognitive Neuroscience

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Cheryl Chow

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Learning Readings 1
Chapter 1: The Science of the Mind
Cognition: what we know, what we remember, and how we think
- The ability to understand the world depends on knowledge an individual brings to the
Cognitive psychology: the scientific study of the acquisition, retention, and use of knowledge
- How is knowledge acquired?
- How is knowledge retained so that it’s available when needed?
- How is knowledge used?
Actions, thoughts, and feelings all depend on knowledge.
- Allows us to make connections between ideas and form expectations
- Loss of memory can be devastating, e.g. a man with amnesia must be told again and
again about his uncle’s death, forcing him to relive the grief many times over
- Memories about our actions, feelings, and thoughts allow us to know who we are
A Brief History
- Modern cognitive psychology is only 50 years old
- Cognitive revolution: an intellectual movement in the 1950s that began what are known
collectively as the cognitive sciences
The Years of Introspection
- Wundt and Titchener
- Psychology must study conscious mental events: feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and
- Introspect: look within
Stems from the fact that the only person who can observe your thoughts is you
- Introspectors had to be trained in order to properly and objectively describe their own
mental lives
- Limitations:
Some thoughts are unconscious
No method of testing claims (e.g. you can never determine whether one person’s
headaches are more painful than another)
The Years of Behaviourism
- Both stimuli and behaviours are measurable, recordable, physical events
- Allows studying of learning history by analyzing changes in behaviour through time
- Behaviourism: concerned with how our behavior changes in response to different con-
figurations of stimuli, and believe the inner workings of the mind are unimportant
because they cannot be measured
- Limitations: People’s behaviour changes with their interpretations of the situation
The Roots of the Cognitive Revolution
- How people act is shaped by how they perceive the situation and how they understand the
stimuli, making the mental world important when making predictions about behaviour.
- Transcendental method: Kant, begins with observable facts and works backward from
these observations
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