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Chapter 13

Cognition Chapter 13 Summary Marnie (1).docx

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PSYC 2650
Anneke Olthof

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COGNITION – CHAPTER 13: REASONING – THINKING THROUGH THE IMPLICATIONS OF WHAT YOU KNOW - Deduction: a process through which we start with claims or assertions that we count as “given” and ask what follows from these premises; deduction allows us to make predictions about upcoming events; tells us to keep our beliefs in touch with reality (ex. If deduction leads us to a prediction based on our beliefs, and the prediction ends up being wrong, this will let us know that something about our belief is wrong) - Confirmation bias: a strong tendency to seek out confirming evidence and to rely on that evidence in drawing their conclusions o Even when presented with disconfirming evidence, people usually won’t adjust their beliefs - When people encounter evidence that is in line with their beliefs, they tend to accept it at face value; when people encounter evidence that disconfirms their beliefs, they tend to be skeptical about it - Belief perseverance: when disconfirming evidence is undeniable and out in plain view, people still don’t use it o Study: participants read fake suicide notes and were asked to determine whether they were real or fake. Participants in one condition were told they were above average in this task, participants in the other condition were told they were below average in this task. After the experiment, the experimenter told the participants that they had been set into pre-determined conditions and so their answers were already determined to be correct or false. They then rated their own ability on this task. Participants in the above average condition continued to think of themselves as above average; participants in the low average condition thought of themselves as below average even though they were told that the basis for belief has been discredited. Logic - If we make reasoning errors, we do so with great frequency - Categorical syllogisms: a type of logical argument that begins with two assertions (the problem’s premises) each containing a statement about a category; the syllogism can then be completed with the conclusion that follows from these premises o Ex. All M are B. All D are M. Therefore, all D are B. [this is a valid syllogism] o Ex. All P are M. All S are M. Therefore, all P are S. [this is an invalid syllogism] o Participants who are asked to reason about syllogisms do so poorly - Belief bias: if a syllogism’s conclusion happens to be something people believe to be true anyhow, they are more likely to judge the conclusion as following logically from the premises. Conversely, if the conclusion happens to be something they believe to be false, they are likely to reject the conclusion as invalid o People are likely to endorse bad arguments if they eventually lead to something that they believe to be true; they are likely to reject a good argument if it eventually leads to something they believe to be false - Low-level matching strategy: endorsing conclusions if the words “match” the premise o Ex. If a participant sees a premise “All A are B” and then “All D are B”, they are likely to accept a conclusion “All A are D” because this conclusion “matches” the wording and structure of the premises - Therefore, people’s reasoning is guided by certain principles and not logic - Conditional statements: statements of the “If X, then Y” format; first statement provides a condition under which the second statement is guaranteed to be true o Ex. “If P is true, then Q is true. P is true, therefore Q must be true.” – people generally are good with this; this is called modus ponens o Ex. “If P is true, then Q is true. P is false, therefore Q must be false.” – people generally have difficulty with this; this is called modus tollens; people often reject conclusions if based off of this rule - Affirming the consequent and denying the antecedent: o Performance tends to be poor when people are asked to reason about conditional statements o Errors are more common if people are asked to reason about abstract problems rather than concrete problems (Ex. “If P then Q” rather than “If John plays baseball, then he is tense”). o Errors are more common if the logic problems involve negatives (Ex. “If John does not play baseball, then he won’t be late”). - Four-Card Task (sometimes called the “selection task”) – participants are shown four playing cards & are told that each card has a number on one side and a letter on the other; they have to evaluate this rule: “If a card has a vowel on one side, it must have an even number on the other side.” (Which cards must be turned over to put this rule to the test?). Presented with cards: A, 6, J, and 7. Most participants flip A & 6, when really they should be flipping A and 7 [only 4% of participants answer this correctly]. You flip A because if you find an even number, it’s consistent with the rule, but if it shows a consonant, this will be inconsistent. Therefore, you flip over the A to find out if the card is consistent/inconsistent; You don’t flip the J because the rule makes no claims about what is on the flip side of a consonant card, so no matter what the result is, it’s consistent with the rule. You don’t flip the 6 for the same reason as the J. You flip the 7 because if there’s a consonant on one side, it fits with the rule. But if there isn’t, it won’t fit! So you want to flip this card because there is a chance you can find out something infor
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