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Chapter 1

PSYC 2650 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Neuroplasticity, Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Revolution

Course Code
PSYC 2650

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Cognitive Psychology: The Science of the Mind
Chapter 1: page 3-16
The Scope of Cognitive Psychology
- Was first launched as the “scientific study to knowledge”
- Cognitive psychology can help us understand capacities relevant to virtually every moment of our lives
A Brief History
- Roughly 50 years old
- Years of Introspection:
- Late 19th century
- Wundt’s and Titchner’s view: psychology needed to be concerned largely with the study of conscious
mental events (feelings, thoughts, perceptions, recollections)
- The only way for us to study thoughts is for each of us to introspect (look within) and to observe and
record the content of our own mental lives
- Introspects had to be trained
- Must avoid the stimulus error
- Problems with introspection
- Soon forced to acknowledge that some thoughts are unconscious (unobservable)
- No way to test its claims
- Were not objective, independently verifiable, reliable, generalizable
- Rules out animals and children (unable to report their feelings)
- We achieve objectivity by making sure the raw data are out in plain view, so that you can inspect
- Years of Behaviourism
- Behaviourism of John B. Watson and Skinner
- Insisted on independently observable stimuli and responses
- S R Psychology
- Solution to problems with introspection
- Psychology needed objective data
- Psychology was defined at learning
- Learning: involves changes in response probabilities that vary with changes in stimuli over
- Positive/ negative reinforcement, punishment, etc.
- Can observe:
- An organism’s behaviour
- Stimuli
- Learning history (record patterns of behaviour with the accumulation of experience)
- Cannot observe:
- Imagery
- Attention
- Perception
- Memory
- Proposed that the mind was a black box
- Claimed that the mind could not be measured with objective, independently verifiable, and
reliable methods
- Dominated psychology for the first half of the 20th century
- How behaviour changes in response to various stimuli
- Behaviorists failed to generalize basic “laws of behaviour” to complex human behaviour
- Explaining language learning was the behaviorists’ biggest challenge
- And biggest failure
- The ways that people act/ feel are guided by how they understand or interpret a situation
- Although entities such as beliefs, memories, etc. cannot be studied directly (not observable),
they play a pivotal role in guiding behaviour
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