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PSYB57H3 Chapter Notes -Motor Cognition, Saul Sternberg, Wilhelm Wundt


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB57H3
Professor
George Cree

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PSYB57 Chapter 1: How the Brain Gives Rise to the Mind
1. Cognitive psychology: internal representations (ideas, models inside the mind)
- Observable VS unobservable behaviour
2. Philosophy:
Rene Descartes distinction btw mind and body (qualitatively distinct, ex, heat VS light)
John Locke thought is a series of mental images
Bishop George Berkeley disagreed with Locke! Argument: abstract concepts (“justice”,
“truth”) cannot be conveyed by images!
Oswald Kulpe demonstrated that mental images do not always accompany mental activity
A MENTAL IMAGE = SIGNALED BY THE EXPERIENCE OF PERCEIVING WHEN THE
APPROPRIATE SENSORY INPUT IS ABSENT, CREATES THE EXPERIENCE OF “SEEING WITH THE
MIND’S EYE”
- Some types of mental activity (those that occur as you understand words) are
unconscious not accompanied by mental images
William James: “Functionalist psychologist”, focused not on the nature of mental activity BUT
on the functions of specific mental activities (p6)
Introspection: process of internal perception, looking within oneself to assess one’s mental
activity
Wilhelm Wundt focused on understanding the nature of consciousness
(1) Characterizing basic sensations + feelings (feeling heat/cold, seeing red/blue)
(2) Finding the rules whereby such elements are combined (simple sensations combined to
form the perception of seeing an entire object)
- HEAD OF 1st MODERN PSYCHOLOGY LABORATORY, GERMANY, LATE 19th CENTURY
Psychologists of Wundt’s school (2) MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS
(1) Mental activity can be broken down into more basic operations (perception of color,
shape, location)
(2) Developed objective methods for assessing mental activity (measuring amt of time
people need to make certain decisions)
Edward Tichener Wundt’s student. Extended approach to cover not only sensations & feelings
but also mental activity
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Behaviourists: psychology should not attempt to understand hidden mental events
- Focus purely on immediately observable: stimuli, responses + consequences of those
responses
- SEVERE LIMITS: could not explain language, perception, memory, decision making
Clark L. Hull willing to purpose internal events that inferred directly from behaviour
(motivation)
B. F. Skinner + later behaviourists reject all discussion of internal events!
3. Cognitive revolution: late 1950s early 1960s
- Directly tied to development of the computer (a tool that allowed researchers to
specify the internal mechanisms that produce behaviour) allowed mental activity
to be studied more objectively than did introspection!!
- Studying stimuli + response = only the beginning! to understand what is going on:
go inside to look at mechanism that underlies what you can observe directly
Crucial distinction not btw hardware & software (programs) BUT btw LEVELS OF ANALYSIS!
(The physics, function, information processing: the storage, manipulation, transformation of
info)
MENTAL ACTIVITY OFTEN DESCRIBED IN TERMS OF INFO PROCESSING
- Descriptions at the different levels of analysis cannot be replaced by one another b/c
they specify different kinds of things! BUT we can gain insights into characteristics of
one level from the others
4. Mental Representation: a physical state that conveys info, specifying an object, event,
category/its characteristics
- A representation that conveys meaning within a processing system (system that inc
various processes that interpret & operate on representations)
- WOULD NOT REPRESENT ANYTHING IF IT DID NOT OCCUR WITHIN A PROCESSING
SYSTEM
TWO distinct facets:
(1) Format form of representation (drawing VS verbal description)
(2) Content meaning conveyed
Mental Processing: transformation of info that obeys well defined principles to produce a
specific output when given a specific input
- Processing system: set of processes that work together to accomplish a types of
task, using and producing representation as appropriate
Ex, Many separate operations performed in a factory, but all work together common
goal!
5. Algorithm: step-by-step procedure that guarantees that a certain input will produce a
certain output
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