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Chapter 1

Cognitive Psychology Chapter 1 Notes.docx

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PSYC 2650
Anneke Olthof

- C OGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY - Exploring the Science of the Mind Chapter 1: Part 1: The Foundations of Cognitive Psychology The Science of the Mind  Cognitive psychology encompasses more than the study of intellectual thought processes, acquisition and retention- it is: how we think, how remember and how we utilize previous knowledge to enforce decision making processes and emotional experience --- it is how we define self behaviour The Scope of Cognitive Psychology  When the field of cognitive psychology was first launched, it was generally understood as the scientific study of knowledge… however, today we understand that our actions, thoughts and feelings depend on knowledge. Consider the following phrase “Betsy wanted to bring Jacob a present. She shook her piggy bank. It made no sound. She went to look for her mother.”  As a student, you are able to uncover and make sense of this situation because of stored memory (Ie. previous knowledge). Memory is what defines: inferences, assumptions, and understanding of applicative scenarios. The clinical amnesia patient, H.M., was used to exemplify an absence cognitive thought processes when memory is impaired or absent  H.M.’s memory loss was the unanticipated by-product of brain surgery intended to control his epilepsy, and the loss was quite profound; H.M. was able to remember events prior to surgery, but was unable to recall any event that happened after the operation.  He could recall dates, facts, theories and emotions prior to having his hippocampus removed, but was unable to retain and present facts or knowledge (ie. the death of his uncle) --- H.M. put forth the idea that without memory, there is no self. We are unable to resolve such transgressions as: “remembering good deeds, our accomplishments, our goals, and who others perceive us as”. A brief history  In it’s modern form, cognitive psychology is approx. 50 years old  The cognitive revolution across the 1950s and 1960s headlines a striking change in the style of research and theorizing employed by most psychologists  The new style was initially intended to study problems we have already met: problems of memory, decision-making, etc. --- The cognitive revolution changed the intellectual map of psychology The years of introspection  In the late 19 century, scholars Wilhelm Wundt and his student Edward Bradford Titchener launched the new enterprise of research psychology, defining their field as an endeavor separate from philosophy or biology.  In Wundt’s and Titchener’s view, psychology was the study of conscious mental events- our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and recollections.  To study how we observe these processes, psychologists implemented introspection --- the process by which we “look-within” to observe and record the content of our own mental lives and the sequence of our own experiences  Wundt and Titchener insisted that introspection could not be causal; research was a product of meticulous training and vocabulary that reflected careful and thorough observation Unresolved problems of introspect analysis  Some cognitive processes are unconscious and go undetected by human memory  In order for science to proceed, there must be some way of testing it’s claims; eliminating the opportunity for false assertions  Science requires a backbone for solving disagreements and retaining empirical evidence or data claims --- introspection is theory of opinion; testability of claims is often unattainable The years of behaviourism  The behaviourist movement marked the transition to perceiving “psychology as a science”; utilizing measurable and ordinal data to observe the response of specific stimuli  Behaviourism ruled out mentalistic notions, as they did not provide objectifiable evidence valid for dispute  The behavthurist movement dominated psychology in America for roughly the first half of the 20 century, and in many ways was a success: defining “rewards” and “punishable stimuli” as well as giving rise to the “learning theory” Unresolved problems of behavioural analysis (challenged in the late 1950s)  Behaviour cannot be explained be explained with reference to only objective, overt events (such as stimuli and response) --- It is instead, a product of interpretation (subjective entities also play a pivotal role in understanding behaviour and predictable outcomes)  The “pass the salt” example exhibits how many different speech stimuli can elicit the same physical or emotional response in a broad sample group/ *observable stimuli are rarely universal and do not always share common characteristics  Physical similarity in speech stimuli is plainly not what unites various response and cognitive action The roots of the cognitive revolution  The cognitive revolution was sparked by Kant’s transcendental method (“inference to best explaination”): To study psychology, one begins with the observable facts and then works backward from these observations… ie. What initiated the results of perceivable analysis  The progressive path of psychology is to study mental processes indirectly, relying on the fact that these processes, themselves invisible, have visible consequences: measurable delays in producing a response, performances that can be assessed for accuracy, errors that can be scrutinized and categorized... Ultimately leading to the ability to test hypothetical question
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