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
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
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
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
person-machine system The idea that machinery operated by a person must be designed to interact
with the operator's ph