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Problem Solving, Judgement, and Decision Making
Problem Solving, Judgement, and Decision Making

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Queen's University
PSYC 100

Problem Solving, Judgement, and Decision Making Problem Solving-accomplishing a goal when the solution or the path to the solution is not clear -individual problems are different but they share some key components: Initial State- describes what the condition is at the outset of a problem Goal State- describes what you need or desire as an outcome Obstacles- something that slows or prevents progress toward goal state Operators- techniques used to reach the goal state Well-Defined Problem-problem that has a clear initial state and goal state -such as realizing your cold is an initial state, operator is putting on a sweater, and goal state is your comfortable Ill-Defined Problem-problem that may be lacking definition in one or more ways, such as ambiguous initial state or a lack of familiar operators -such as choosing a topic for a term paper which is the initial state, the operator is flipping through your favourite chapter in the textbook to find what interests you, and the goal state is writing about culture and language-> but how do you know when you’re done if you’re writing a novel Algorithms-problem-solving strategies based on a series of rules -Computer-based, logical, objective, slower -for example, in hangman, saying the most common letters in words first, or, saying each letter of the alphabet Heuristics-problem-solving strategies that stem from prior experiences and provide and educated guess as to what is the most likely solution -subjective, quicker, intuitive, ‘just seems right’ -for example, in hangman, guessing letters that make sense in the word with the letters previously guessed using algorithms, such as a word ending in ‘g’, you would guess ‘n,’ because common words end in ‘ing’ Mental Set- cognitive obstacle that occurs when an individual attempts to apply a routine solution to what is actually a new type of problem Functional Fixedness-occurs when an individual identifies a potential operator, but can think of only its most obvious functions -for example, Maria’s father has five daughters: Lala, Lela, Lila, and Lola. What is the fifth daughter’s name? Representativeness Heuristic-making judgments of likelihood based on how well an example represents a specific category -Conjunction Fallacy Availability Heuristic- estimating the frequency of an event basted on how easily examples of it come to mind Anchoring Effect- when an individual attempts to solve a problem involving numbers and uses previous knowledge to keep the response within a limited range Belief Perseverance-when an individual believes they have the solution to the problem or the correct answer for a question and accepts only evidence that will confirm those beliefs -for example a card dealer, counts 51 cards first, then 52 cards the second time, and begins to deal, assuming they have 52 cards Confirmation Bias- when an individual searches for only evidence that will confirm their beliefs instead of evidence that might disconfirm them Satisfiers- individuals who seek to make decisions that are good enough Maximizers- individuals who attempt to evaluate every option for every choice until they find the perfect fit Paradox of Choice- observation that more choices can lead to less satisfaction, because the more options you have, the more overwhelming it is to decide between the options Language and Communication Language-form of communication that involves the use of spoken, written, or gestural symbols that are combined in a rule-based form -symbolic -sounds and collections of sounds into words are largely arbitrary and not linked to meaning in the real world (possible exception is onomatopoeia or words for animal sounds) -socially agreed-upon, rule-governed system of arbitrary symbols that can be combined in different ways to communicate ideas and feelings about the present time and place and other times and places, real or imagined -difference between human language and animal communication is that humans can use language to communicate about objects and events that are not in present time and place, can be used to express imagination, can be used to produce new meanings to regular words, can be used to create new words- productive, and is biologically passed down, where we continue to communicate because it’s biological rather than cultural, whereas animal communication expresses the present, animals cannot teach their offspring the meanings of words, animals who do learn language can just have a personal attachment with their trainer rather than learning, and their language is only limited to mostly single signs Phonemes-most basic units of speech sounds -letters that have a slight variation depending on the other letters around them -for example, the letter ‘t’ is written as /t/, where the two forward slashes indicate a phonemes -/t/ sounds different in words like stop, stash, stink, and stoke Phonology- rules that govern the patterns of sounds that are used in a language - which sounds are used, and how they're combined Phonetic Reading- sounding out words Morphemes-smallest meaningful units of a language -Morphology -includes prefixes and suffixes -composed of one or more morphemes -formed from the combinations of phonemes Free Morphemes- meaningful on their own and can stand alone as words such as ‘engage’ in ‘engagement’ Bound Morphemes- meaningful only when combined with other morphemes to form words such as ‘ment’ in ‘engagement’ Semantics-study of how people come to understand meaning from words, the rules, and the relationship -intuitions -rules are crucial for comprehension Syntax-rules for combining words and morpheme’s into meaningful phrases and sentences -most basic form is nouns and verbs Pragmatics-study of non-linguistic elements of language use -social rules of language that allow people to use language appropriately for different purposes and in different situations -refers to knowledge of the world as it relates to understanding and using language -helps interprets what others say to you -emphasize on social situations and the speaker’s behaviour -guided by the Cooperative Principle, pragmatic rules apply to conversation, so entering a conversation is essentially agreeing to cooperate -sometime what is said is not as important as how it is said Flouting- blatantly disobeying -many uses pragmatics and semantics for humor -language involves the uses of the whole cortex-> visual areas for reading, auditory areas for listening, and memories that provide ideas and the words to talk about them are distributed throughout the brain -most unique and complex aspects of language occur in the left hemisphere for most people Aphasias- language disorders caused by damage to the brain structures that support using and understanding language Wernicke’s Area-area of the brain most associated with finding the meaning of words -left hemisphere, middle, back portion of the temporal lobe Wernicke’s Aphasia-damage to the Wernicke’s area -associated with semantics rather than syntax, because an individual’s speech sounds normal, intonation, accent, and demeanor are normal, but the word choices don’t make sense -language disorder where a person has difficulty understanding the words they hear -doesn’t affect other cognitive abilities -sometimes mistaken for schizophrenia because of the confusing nature of speech Broca’s Area-frontal lobe structure that controls our ability to articulate speech sounds that compose words -left hemisphere -appears adjacent to a strip of the brain known as the motor cortex that helps control body movements -associated with the production of speech, adding grammatical flourishes to words that have already been levered and combined them into syntactically appropriate phrase, and active when processing musical notes Broca’s Aphasia-damage to the Broca’s area -can still speak, but it’s difficult -speech is limited to a series of single words intertwined with filled pauses (uh, er…) and gesturing with speech can be affected, words are often produced without normal grammatical flair- no articles, suffixes, or prefixes -many scientists believe that language is a unique feature of the human species and has evolved to solve problems related to survival and reproductive fitness, adds greater efficiency to though, allows us to transmit information without acquiring us to have direct experience with potentially dangerous situations, and facilitates communicating social needs and desires -mutated gene on chromosome 7 known as FOXP2 causes the Broca’s area to not activate which causes difficulty in putting thoughts into words, but people can function properly Sensitive Period-time during childhood where children’s brains are primed to develp language skills -children absorb language almost effortlessly compared to adults, but their ability seems to fade away starting around the seventh year -similar to deaf children who receive cochlear implants-> they cannot hear language so their development is delayed Fast Mapping- ability to map words onto concepts or objects after only a single exposur
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