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PSYCH 207 (48)
Chapter 1

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Jonathan Witt

artificial intelligence A branch of computer science concerned with creating computers that mimic human performance on cognitive tasks. association A connection or link between two units or elements. attention Cognitive resources, mental effort, or concentration devoted to a cognitive process. behaviourism A school of psychology that seeks to define psychological research in terms of observable measures, emphasizing the scientific study of behaviour. between-subjects design A research paradigm in which different experimental subjects participate in different experimental conditions. brain imaging The construction of pictures of the anatomy and functioning of intact brains through such techniques as computerized axial tomography (CAT, or CT), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). clinical interview A research paradigm in which an investigator begins by asking participants a series of open-ended questions but follows up on the responses with specific questions that have been prepared in advance. cognitive neuropsychology A school of psychology that investigates the cognitive abilities and deficits of people with damaged or otherwise unusual brain structures. cognitive revolution A movement in psychology that culminated after World War II, characterized by a belief in the empirical accessibility of mental states and events. cognitive science An interdisciplinary field drawing on research from cognitive psychology, computer science, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, and anthropology. The central issues addressed involve the nature of mind and cognition and how information is acquired, stored, and represented. computer metaphor The basis for the information-processing view of the brain. Different types of psychological processes are thought to be analogous to the workings of a computer processor. connectionism An approach to cognition emphasizing parallel processing of information through immense networks of interconnected nodes. Models developed in the connectionist tradition are sometimes declared to share certain similarities with the way collections of neurons operate in the brain; hence, some connectionist models are referred to as neural networks. controlled observation A research paradigm in which an observer standardizes the conditions of observation for all participants, often introducing specific manipulations and recording responses. decision making The process(es) by which an individual selects one course of action from among alternatives. ecological approach An approach to the study of cognition emphasizing the natural contexts or settings in which cognitive activities occur, and the influences such settings have in the ways in which cognitive activities are acquired, practised, and executed. ecological validity A property of research such that the focus of study is something that occurs naturally outside an experimental laboratory. empiricism A philosophical doctrine emphasizing the role of experience in the acquisition of knowledge. experiment A test of a scientific theory in which the researcher manipulates the independent variable. experimental control A property of research such that the causes of different behaviours or other phenomenon can be isolated and tested. Typically, this involves manipulating independent variables and holding constant all factors but the one(s) of interest. functionalism A school of psychology emphasizing questions such as why the mind or a particular cognitive process works the way(s) it does. Gestalt psychology A school of psychology emphasizing the study of whole entities rather than simple elements. Gestalt psychologists concentrate on problems of perception and problem solving and argue that people's cognitive experience is not reducible to their experience of simple elements (for example, sensations) but, rather, to the overall structure(s) of their experience. human factors engineering An applied area of research that focuses on the design of equipment and technology that is well suited to people's cognitive capabilities. individual differences Stable patterns of performance that differ qualitatively and/or quantitatively across individuals. information processing approach An approach to cognition that uses a computer metaphor in its explanations. Information processing equates cognition with the acquisition, storage, and manipulation of information (for example, what we see, hear, read about, think about) through a system consisting of various storage places and systems of exchange. introspection A methodological technique in which trained observers are asked to reflect on, and report on, their conscious experience while performing cognitive tasks. knowledge representation The mental depiction, storage, and organization of information. language A system of communication that is governed by a system of rules (a grammar) and can express an infinite number of propositions. limited-capacity processor A system that acquires, stores, manipulates, and/or transmits information but has fixed limits on the amount or rate of processing that it can accomplish. linguistics A field of study focusing on the structure, use, and acquisition of language. localization of function The "mapping" of brain areas to different cognitive or motor functions; identifying which neural regions control or are active when different activities take place. memory The cognitive processes underlying the storage, retention, and retrieval of information. mental representation An internal depiction of information. nativism A philosophical doctrine emphasizing the role of innate factors in the acquisition of knowledge. naturalistic observation A research paradigm in which an observer observes participants in familiar, everyday contexts while ideally remaining as unobtrusive as possible. neural network See connectionism. paradigm A body of knowledge that selects and highlights certain issues for study. It includes assumptions about how a particular phenomenon ought to be studied and the kinds of experimental methods and measures that are appropriate to use. pattern recognition The classification of a stimulus into a category. perception The interpretation of sensory information to yield a meaningful description or understanding. person-machine system The idea that machinery operated by a person must be designed to interact with the operator's ph
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