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History and Methods.docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2650
Dan Meegan

History 9/6/2012 3:24:00 PM 519 836 7672 or [email protected] (2-3 hours a week) ZAPS class ID: 3Q42…. (on outline) History Armchair Philosophy: casual observations about human cognition  No need to be in lab o Learning how mind works using their mind alone, no extra tools  Greek philosophers o Aristotle, Plato  British Empiricism (Nurture) o John Locke o Bias towards nurture (role of experience in how minds become how they are)  Believe minds start out as “blank slates”  Don’t have anything in your mind, mind is underdeveloped  Through experience and education your mind becomes what it is now  Continental Nativism (Nature) o Spinoza o Biased towards nature o Born with certain things (how can we end up in the same place if we all have different experiences growing up)  American Pragmatism th th o James (Principles of Psychology) late 19 early 20 century  Philosopher  First to described what he did as psychology  Observations were so mature, foresaw what we have now found systematically about the mind and using a different set of tools The Problem…  How to observe the “mind” using scientific methodology instead of philosophical method (black box problem) o Something that we don’t know what’s inside o We can only control and observe stimuli and responses  Don’t know how we take that information in and how you get to that output without using some sort of science methodology  Stimuli  ??? (black box)  Response Solutions to the Problem: (chronological order)  Introspection  Behaviorism (supersede introspection)  Cognitivism and Neuroscience (co-exist today, supersede behaviorism) 1. Introspection a. Wundt, 1879, Leipzig (city in Germany) b. Psychology needed to be concerned with study of conscious mental events c. “look within” and see what is going on i. Not like philosophers, there was effort to be more systematic about it 1. Studied people other than themselves ii. Highly-trained observers report contents of consciousness under controlled conditions 1. Given vocabulary to describe what they observed, trained to report on experiences with little interpretation iii. Mind is doing something (e.g. describing an image that they have just seen) and have someone talk about what is going on in their mind 1. Vivid memory (describe like photograph) vs. verbal quality (not as specific) iv. Have multiple people do it and if there are similarities, have made discovery d. Observations? (show picture of Hendrix) i. Feeling of recognition (I know him) ii. Imagining (hearing) his music iii. Flood of associations (remember trying to play music) Problems to Approach:  Contents of consciousness are difficult to describe o Recognition happens so fast and out of our awareness, hard to provide researcher with information about how recognition occurs  Individual differences in concreteness of contents (imageless thought) o Having the concrete image (photograph in mind) vs. less concrete image (less specific, imageless thought) o Individual differences in memory ability present challenge  We all have the same hardware, hard to generalize to entire population  Difficult to verify (private events, not public) o Taking someone’s word for their consciousness (social desirability bias, observer bias) o Testability of claims is often impossible  E.g. my headache is worse than yours  End product, not the process o Instantaneous experiences, hard to describe, only say end result because they happen so fast o Verses tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon  Only conscious processes are accessible - what about unconscious processes? o Need to study both conscious and unconscious mind (limited) 2. Behaviorism a. “dark days” of the science of the mind b. Psychologists wanted to be scientists (more “noisy” or “abstract” than other scientific disciplines e.g. physics) c. Uncomfortable with idea of studying mind (not all aspects of the mind were commonly agreed upon) i. Behaviourist reaction to make studying mind more concrete d. If you can’t see it, don’t bother talking about it i. Behaviour are observable (objective data) ii. Can record changes in behaviour over time (learning history) e. Ignore anything that cannot be controlled (stimuli) or directly observed (response) i. Can control inputs, cannot control mental responses ii. Asking someone to respond (some reliability in their responses, force some kind of responses) can then make inferences about the mind 1. If you recognize someone in this image, please say their name 2. E.g. beliefs, wishes, goals cannot be observed there can only be studied through introspection f. Problem: how do you observe the mind using scientific methodology? i. Can’t; The (temporary) end of cognition as a subject of scientific inquiry ii. Stimuli    Response iii. There is direct link between stimuli and responses, nothing interesting going on in between g. Empiricism: The mind is a “blank slate” at birth, and develops through experience (learning) i. Behaviorism has history in empiricism ii. Can only create someone a certain way if experience has a big role h. Desire to be a respected science th i. Behaviourist movement in first half of 20 century 1. Discovered “rewards” and “punishments”, basis for learning theory ii. strict experimental control in laboratory iii. animals as subjects 1. learning exercises, classical conditioning, building associations between things not because they are acting differently each time, no decision making process 2. if we are born with blank slates and want to create response, cannot volunteer baby to science, therefore use animals (ethical reasons) Problems to Approach:  Can’t account for diversity and complexity of behavior o The way people act, feel, say are guided not by objective situation itself but rather how they interpret the situation o Physical similarity in stimuli is not what unites responses o Even if animals have minds, they don’t do what we do with them  E.g., complexity of language (Chomsky), human language is rich communication system, something unique of human language that is different than other languages  Different than Skinner (Behaviourist)  multiple ways to say “pass the salt” but all have the same action result  Other sciences have not been limited to the directly observable o Disciplines that already have respect still inference about unobservable events, can make inferences that these “things” must exist o Psychologists learned to have more comfort in disagreement across the field and over time, will “zone in” on right answer o E.g., electrons, quarks, genes  Behaviorism was not helpful at addressing applied concerns during WWII o Big difference was technology (bombs, aircraft technology) o Found that place like Britain, people that were designing machines were having human failures (human error in complicated machines, not just battle that was taking lives) o Appreciation among people that we’ve learn a lot about human behaviour when making these machines o Psychologists asked to apply expertise on behaviour to war 1. Why did pilot push the wrong button? 2. Why do people do certain things instead of other things? a. MUST talk about perceptions, thoughts etc. that behaviorists have put under the rug Legacy of Behavourism:  Come back from war with new perspective on psychology o Why can’t we multitask? Why do people’s attention turn?  Provided a set of rigorous techniques for experimental study in psychology o Verbal learning and memory “tradition” in cognitive psychology o Doing things that have been done on humans that reflect simplicity of original experiments performed on animals 3. Cognitivism a. Visible effects with invisible cause b. By examining effects of mental processes we can develop hypotheses about what the mental processes must have been c. Origins: i. Kant’s (1724-1804) transcendental method 1. Begin with observable facts and then work backward from observations ii. Human factors researchers return to academe following WWII 1. Broadbent (1958) Perception and Communication 2. Studying things like attention and perception a. Enough info had been found that there were books coming out about it iii. Chomsky’s (1959) criticism of Skinner’s behaviorist account of language (occurred around the same time) 1. Behaviorism is not the be all end all 2. Skinner wrote book about language and how we have come to use it without making reference to unobservable events iv. Computer science and information theory being developed at this time 1. At the time, people did not see relationships between minds and computers 2. Saw language in computers and how minds work in similar fashion v. Neisser (1967) Cognitive Psychology (term coined) 1. Summarizing research in book, psychology has really changed as a field 2. Focused on how people think and feel 3. Cognition  “thinking” d. Infer what is going on inside the box i. Stimuli  box (unobservable events)  Response ii. Talk about what is going on in between and influences relationship 4. Computational View of the Mind a. Underlying assumption: i. Cognition is somehow like a computer program 1. Hardware is to software as brain is to mind ii. Cognitive psychologists need to figure out the program 1. Figure out how the system works b. Information Processing (minds are information processors) i. Information 1. Sensory data (from outside world, fresh to us) 2. Internal representations, knowledge, memories (storage, past things that have come in through the senses, have the ability to store them, can compare what is coming in through senses and what happened before) ii. Processing 1. Operations, procedures, transformations a. Comparison process of what you are seeing and what you’ve seen before b. Decision processes (pros and cons etc.) iii. Face Recognition **simplified example 1. Input (face) 2. Match known to face? (Y/N) a. Bank of known faces and names 3. Output a. Yes: Hi Jake! b. No: What is your name? i. Store name and face in memory (store new data in database) Cognitive Revolution (1950s and 1960s): change in style of research an theorizing used by most psychologists Criticisms of Cognitive Psychology:  Ecological validity o Is it valid in the real world o Laboratory oversimplification  Exert too much control over situation therefore bares little resemblance to reality (low ecologi
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