PSYC 2650 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Edward B. Titchener, Wilhelm Wundt, Episodic Memory

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16 Nov 2017
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Chapter 1: The Science of the Mind
The Scope of Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive psychology was first solely focused on the scientific study of knowledge
The Broad Role for Memory
A huge range of our actions, thoughts, and feelings depend on knowledge
Many of our encounters in the world depend on our supplementing our experience with
knowledge that we bring into the situation
o Therefor, memory is crucial for activities (simply story understanding example)
Amnesia and Memory Loss
Amnesia when someone has lost the ability to remember certain materials (because of
brain damage)
H.M. had brain surgery in his mid 20s to control his severe epilepsy
o Had no trouble remembering events prior to the surgery
o Was unable to recall any event that occurred after surgery
o Kept forgetting that his uncle had died, because he was told after the surgery
o Sometimes believed that he didn’t know who he was – didn’t know if he should
be proud of any accomplishments, or ashamed, or if he was honest or lazy (lost
sense of self)
Our self concept, then, depends on our knowledge (particularly episodic knowledge)
Emotional adjustments to the world rely on memories
Our ability to understand a story/conversation depends on our supplementing that
experience with some knowledge
The Cognitive Revolution
“cognitive psychology” is around 50 years’ old
The cognitive revolution went through changes in the way it emerged
The Limits of Introspection
Cognitive revolution centered on a small number of key ideas
o Science of psychology cannot study the mental world directly
o Science of psychology must study the mental world if we are going to understand
behaviour’
Assuming we could study the mental world directly Edward Bradford Titchener &
Wilhelm Wundt
o Their view was that psychology needed to focus largely on the study of
conscious mental events (feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and recollections)
o But how can these events be studied? The only person who can experience or
observe your thoughts is you
o They concluded that they only way to study thoughts is for each of us to
introspect (look within) to observe and record the content of our own mental
lives
o However, this introspection could not be casual introspectors had to be trained
Given a vocabulary to describe what they observed; trained to be careful
and complete; trained to report on their experiences with a minimum of
interpretation
o A concern was that some thoughts are unconscious and the study of
introspection uses conscious experiences only
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