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Chapter 1-4

Cognitive Psychology Notes ch. 1-4.doc

24 Pages

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PSYC 2650
Anneke Olthof

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Cog Psych Ch1 The Science of the Mind depends on our cognition what we know what we remember and how we thinkonesability to understand onesworld depends critically on knowledge you bring to the situation11 Scope of Cognitive PsychologyUnderstanding a story or conversation depends on knowledge the reader already hasBetsy wanted to bring Jacob a present She shook her piggy bank It made no sound She went to look for her motherThe reader has to have prior knowledge of what a piggy bank is what happends when you shake it presents cost money and so on HM a patient with amnesia provides additional examples of how thoughts actions and feelings depend on knowledgeWithout the ability to form new memories HM could not grieve for an uncle who had died always hearing the news as if for the first timeWithout memory there is arguably no sense of self 12 A Brief Historymodern form cognitive psychology is roughly 50 years oldCognitive psychology is the study of how we think remember and interpret information However psychologist in the past 1950 had difficulty finding a way to study cognitionThe Years of Introspection need some historical context Cognition started with two psychologists Wilhelm Wundt 18321920 and his student Edward BradfordTitchener 18671927They came to the conclusion that the only way to study cognitionis to look within one self and see how they feel and thinkThere is no way for you to experience my thoughts or I yoursonly person who can experience or observe your thoughts is you concluded only way to study thoughts is for each of us to introspect or look within to observe and record content of our own mental lives and sequence of our own experiences However early investigators weresoon forced to acknowledgesome thoughts are unconscious introspection inevitably limited asresearch tool follows from factintrospection bynature isstudy of conscious experiences tells us nothing about unconscious events now know unconscious thought playshuge part in our mental livesother problems with introspection In order for any science to proceed must be some way of testing its claims otherwise no way of separating correct assertions from false ones accurate descriptions of the world fromfictionsAnd so Behaviorism was born 13 The Years of BehaviorismThe desire to be more scientific led to changes in psychology during the first half of the twentieth centuryThe focus switched to stimuli and behaviours that could be objectively studiedIntrospection and other mentalistic approaches were avoidedBehaviourism uncovered principles of how behaviour changes in response to stimuli such as rewards and punishmentsProblems with BehaviourismBehaviour cannot be understood only in terms of stimuli and responsesBehaviour also depends on things like perception understanding interpretation and strategy14 The Roots of the Cognitive Revolutionhow people actshaped by how they perceive the situation how they understand the stimuli how should one study the mental worldneed to talk aboutmental world if we hope to explain behavior the only direct means for studying mental world turns out to be unworkablesolution actually suggested many years ago byphilosopher Immanuel Kant 17241804 Kants transcendental method one begins with observable factsthen works backward from these observationsIn essence one asks How could these observations have come about What must the underlying causes be that led to these effectsmethod sometimes called inference to best explanation at heart of most modern scienceelectrons cause observable tracks in cloud chambers produce momentary fluctuations in a magnetic fielduse observations same way a police detective uses cluesasking what the crime must have been like if it left this and that cluephysicists and other scientists havehuge advantage over a police detective indeed this is crucial for the distinction between science and police workIf a police detective has insufficient evidencecant arrange forcrime to happen again so that more evidence will be producedscientists have this option can arrange for new experiments with new measures can set stage in advance to maximizelikelihoodthe culprit in our examplethe electron will leave useful clues behind ex add new measuring devices tosituation orplace various obstacles in electrons path scientist can gather more andmore data including datacrucial for testingspecific predictions of a particular theoryprospectofreproducing experiments and varyingexperiments to test hypotheses what gives science its power allows scientists to asserttheir hypotheses have rigorously tested what gives scientists assurance that theories are correctPsychologists work insame fashionknow we need to study mental processes learned from the limitations of behaviorism also knowmental processes cannot be observed directly learned fromdownfall of introspection path forward study mental processes indirectly relying onfactthese 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 categorizedexamining these and other effects produced by mental processes can develop and then testhypotheses about whatmental processes must have been thisfashionuse Kants method just as physiciststo develop a science that doesnot rest on direct observation
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