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Chapter 8

PSYB57H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Implicit Learning, Unconscious Cognition, Ipad

Course Code
George Cree

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Chapter 8: Concepts 12/2/2014 4:53:00 AM
Case study: Steve jobs introduces new products and suprises such as the
new Ipad. But people have different ways of conceiving what an ipad is= is it
a laptop, tablet, something to play games with. People don’t know how to
conceptualize it. That’s what this chapter is about, how to acquire new
The Classical Approach: publication of the book “study of thinking”
(Bruner, Goodnow, Austin). = describing how people acquire concepts.
- we sort events into categories (concepts), textbook= concept of book
- it shares the same attributes with members in the same categories (book
has pages, a cover etc).
- attributes= can have diff values= print can be large or small, cover can be
hard or soft.
disjunctive concepts: one in which class membership is defined by one of
two or more sets of attributes.
Ex: three ways of acquiring Canadian citizenship= born in Canada, born
abroad by Canadian parent, becoming naturalized citizen.
Conjunctive concept: one that is just simply conjunctions of attributes
Relational: relationship between attributes that determines the class to
which an event will be assigned. Ex. Marriage= relationship between two
- (Bruner experiment) positive instances: if it is an instance of a particular
concept. Example: a set of cards, black and squares might be positive
instances of the concept. But number of figures is not.
Negative instance: if the card does not contain the right attributes.
- you need to know which attributes are important to the concept and which
ones aren’t= examine the attributes from the positive instances=
Criticial Attribute: an attribute that is required in order for something to
qualify as an instance of a concept.
Abstraction: including recurring attributes and excluding non-reoccuring one
- the recurrent attributes= form the set that defines the concept.
Example: same concept of composite photographs showing what a “typical”
family member would look like.
Concept Formation Tasks: (Bruner)
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- wants to figure out strategies that participants would use to acquire simple
conjunctive concept.
1) Selection Task: experimenter gives you a card and tells you if it’s a
positive instance or not and you have to figure out what the concept is. Then
you choose a card and the experimenter would tell you if its part of the
concept or not. The participants choose the instances that they will use to
figure out what the concept is.
- you can figure out what the concept is by picking a card that differs in only
one attribute= can conclude if that attribute is important or not to the
- active process= formulating hypotheses. This strategy=
Conservative Focusing: you focus on one attribute at a time and select
instances that vary only in that particular attribute.
Other strategies=
Focus gambling: select instances that differ from the first positive instance in
more than one attribute to see if you can eliminate more hypotheses (after
seeing a card with one black square and one border you might select a card
with 2 black squares and 2 borders, if it’s a positive then you know # of
squares and border doesn’t matter)
Simultaneous Scanning: keeping in mind all possible hypotheses and trying
to eliminate as many possible hypotheses with each selection. Big load on
Successive Scanning: less demanding on memory. Formulate one
hypotheses and keep selecting until the correct one emerges. (if you think
black square is an attribute you keep selecting cards with black squares until
its disconfirmed, then you change your hypothesis).
Reception Strategies: 1) task was selection task. 2) is the reception task
2) Reception Task: the order that the instances are presented is in the
control of the experimenter.
2 strategies= wholist or partist
1) Wholist strategy: first hypothesis is that all attributes in the first positive
instance are part of the concept. If the 2nd instance that you are shown
confirms that then you retain it, if not then you change it depending on what
the previous card and the new one have in common.
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2) Partist strategy: initial hypothesis only includes part of the first instance.
You maintain that hypothesis until something disconfirms it. Heavy load on
Criticisms: very similar to the game mastermind. The experimenter is the
code maker, and the participant is the code-breaker. But we have to study
real world phenomenon and that is more complex. Have to apply lab context
to real world. Or just study real world phenomenon alone.
Learning Complex Rules: example used is learning a strings of letters
according to a finite state grammar using railroad diagrams
- if you were asked to say if those string of letters are consistent with the
grammar (positive instance) or not, you would have to know the grammar
Implicit learning: learning that takes place unintentionally (not knowing that
the string of letters that you are presented with follow certain rules)
(Reber et al) Explicit learning: learning that takes place intentionally (the
experimenter tells you that the string of letters follow rules and you have to
figure out)
- to find out which one is better you would ask participants to say if the
string of letters that they are presented with is grammatical or not.
Results: implicit learning leads to significant amount of rule learning
sometimes leas to better performance than explicit learning.
- people who are learning implicitly can learn the grammar as well as explicit
group, implicit group is abstracting structure of grammar unconsciously
- implicit group: vague sense of what is grammatical, knowledge is tacit:
they know what it is without being able to say exactly what it is.
- sheds light on how we learn language= we aren’t given explicit rule
= implicit learning, learned your mother tongue without knowing the rules
- linguistic knowledge= tacit,
- other complex knowledge may function same way (socialization,
perception, language) perhaps acquired implicitly, unconsciously.
Cognitive Unconscious: implicit learning as evolutionarily primitive form of
unconscious cognition.
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