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Chapter 1

Chapter 1- Cognition.docx

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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 221
Thomas Spalek

Cognitive psychologists – experimentalists that use objective, empirical methods of investigation; skeptical thinkers of philosophy Cognitive science – the scientific study of perception, attention, memory, language, and thinking and of how these processes are implemented in the brain – the scientific study of the mind SUMMARY OF INTUITIVE COGNITIVEANALYSIS: 1. Sensory and perceptual – encode and recognize words, identifying letters and their sounds and putting these components together into words 2. Memory and retrieval – search for meaning of words by retrieving the information from memory - Sometimes people use default assumption if they have no specific information about the subject 3. Comprehension – combining word meaning to yield sentence meaning, evaluate the sentence meaning and consider alternative explanations or interpretation 4. Judgment and decision – set of thoughts and judgments that involve the reasonableness of the question - Interpretation of sentences; the intent of speaker – sarcasm or trick question or literal meaning? 5. Computational – retrieving fact knowledge to determine the answer to the question - Lack-of-knowledge reasoning – reasoning done without benefit of complete knowledge about a subject o Example: if something was so trivial as a person having only one hand, one would have heard about it. But because he did not know about it, it was probably not true. - Prior knowledge influence reasoning or the process of knowing the answer (specific inferences are made even when it is not stated)  It is important to note that many important mental processes can occur automatically – very rapidly, below the level of conscious awareness Memory – the mental processes of acquiring and retaining information for later retrieval; the mental storage system that enables these processes - Memory is demonstrated whenever the processes influence our behavior or performance in some way, even we are unaware of the influence 1. The event or information being recalled from memory is one from the past – we remember things from the past but experience things in the present 2. Memory usually refers to a process, a mental act in which stored information is recovered or retrieved for some current use a. Conscious retrieval – intentional recalling to mind b. Automatic or unaware 3. Memory refers to a place, a location where all the events, information and knowledge of a lifetime are stored a. Long term memory b. Short term memory 3 KINDS OF MENTALACTIVITIES: 1. Initial acquisition of information – learning or encoding 2. Subsequent retention of the information 3. Retrieval of the information Cognition – the collection of mental processes and activities used in perceiving, remembering, thinking and understanding, and the act of using those processes Ecological validity – according to Neisser, cognitive research lacks - Research must resemble the situations and task demands characteristics of the real world - It should be generalizable to real world settings in which people think and act Analytic approach – attempting to understand complex events by breaking them down into their components HISTORY OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY Rene Descartes – “I think, therefore I am”; the ultimate proof of human existence is our awareness of our own thought 1879 – marks the beginning of the formal academic, empirical discipline of psychology, a separate discipline from either philosophy or physiology Aristotle: • First philosopher to have advocated an empirically based, natural science approach to understanding • Empiricism – the philosophical position that advances observation and observation-derived data as the basis for all science • Proposed that sensations, images and ideas become associated through: o Similarities o Contrast – differences o Contiguity – occurring close together in time • British Associationism – David Hartley o Mental chemistry • Tabula rasa –Aristotle insists that the mind is a blank slate at birth o Experiences, rather than inborn factors, writes a record onto the blank slate (nature vs nurture) Early psychology: Wilhelm Wundt: • Established the first laboratory for psychological experiment • Studied with Edward Titchener • Wundt believed that the proper topic of study for psychology was “conscious processes and immediate experience” o Introspection – subjects look inward and describe their mental processes and thoughts; self-observation; reporting on inner sensations and experiences  The observer had to be a “master of the situation”; in a state of strained attention; be repeated many times Edward Titchener : • Convinced that knowledge about psychology was obtainable only with the introspective method • Insisted on careful control and rigorous training for his introspectors • Stimulus errors – describing the physical stimulus rather than the mental experience of that stimulus • Titchener studied the structure of the conscious mind, the sensations, images, and feelings that were the very elements of the mind’s structure – structuralism – the first major movement or school of psychological th
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