PSYB57H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Wax Tablet, Edward B. Titchener, Understanding Consciousness

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PSYB57-10W-W01 - How the Brain Gives Rise to the Mind
Explain what cognitive psychology is (pp. 2-3).
Cognition is the internal interpretation/transformation of stored information.
Cognitive psychology includes:
Perception, emotion, representation, encoding, working memory, attention, executive processes,
decision making, motor cognition/mental simulation (setting up our responses) language.
Explain who was involved in the early evolution of cognitive psychology, from philosophy to
introspection to behaviorism (pp. 3-7).
Philosopher Plato (427-347BC) - memories are like etching on a wax tablet, people differ in their harness
and purity of the wax.
Rene Descartes (1596-1650) - distinction between mind and body, mind is qualitatively distinct form
body.
John Locke (1632 - 1753) - contents of mind, thoughts is a series of mental images.
George Berkeley (1685 - 1753) - abstract concepts (justice, truth) could not be conveyed effectively by
images ! storing information cannot be limited to mental images.
Birth of scientific study of mental activity (introspection): Wilhelm Wundt (Germany) (1832 1920)
-focused in understanding consciousness
-the content of consciousness can be approached by analogy to the way chemists approach the
structure of molecules
1. By characterizing basic sensations and feelings
2. Finding the rules whereby such elements are combined
Edward Titchener (1867 - 1927)
- student of Wundt
-extended his approach of feelings and sensations to all mental activity
1. mental activity can be broken down into more basic operation
(perception ! colour, location, shape)
2. developed objective methods for assessing mental activity
(measuring the time needed for people to make decisions)
Oswald Kulpe (1862 - 1915)
-mental images do not always accompany mental activity
-mental image is signaled by experience of perceiving when the sensory input is absent
-we make decisions not knowing how
Behaviourism: Psychology should focus purely on the immediately observable: stimuli, responses, and
the consequences of those responses.
-Clark L. Hull (1884 - 1952) - internal events are inferred directly from behaviour (motivation)
-B. F. Skinner (1904 - 1990) - reject absolutely all discussion of internal events
Understand how and why the cognitive movement was predicted upon computers (pp.
7-11).
Researchers seized on the computer as a model for the way in which human mental activity takes place;
the computer was a tool that allowed researchers to specify the internal mechanisms that produce
behaviour.
For a full understanding we must distinguish between a functional level of analysis, and a physical level of
analysis; and not between software and hardware.
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Explain what mental representation and mental processing are (pp. 11-13).
Mental Representation
-representation: a physical state that conveys information, specifying an object, event, or category or its
characteristics.
-representation ! 2 distinct sides ! form/format and content
Mental Processing
-process: a transformation of information, a specific output comes with a specific input
Processing system is set of processes that work together to accomplish a type of task, using and
producing representations as appropriate. A complex activity is carried out by a a set of processes, and
not purely by a single process.
Algorithm: a step by step procedure which guarantees that a certain input will produce certain output.
Serial algorithms: each steps sequence depends on the one before.
Parallel algorithms: operations that can be performed at the same time. (eg. cake making)
Understand what the structure-process trade-off is, including the difference between serial
and parallel processing (pp. 13-15).
Identifiability: the ability to specify the correct combination of representations and processes used to
accomplish a task.
Saul Sternberg - developed a method to examine how information is accessed in memory.
-eg. a list of numbers, remember, recall if given number was in another given set.
-serial search
Monsell, Townsend, Ashby - instead of a list, numbers were given in an unordered collection (pool ball
in a bowl) - parallel search (all at once)
Identify the structures of cognitive brain; from the most basic parts of the neuron to the
structure of the nervous system, the lobes of the cerebral cortex and subcortical structures
(pp. 17-24).
Neurons: The Building Blocks of the Brain
-building blocks have limitations
Neuron = dendrites + axon + cell body
Dendrite: receives input from other neurons
Axon: usually covered with myelin
Synapse: connection between neurons
Synaptic cleft: the gap in the synapses
Terminal button: release neurotransmitters (tip of axon)
-effect of the neurotransmitters depends on the receptors
Sensory neurons: activates by input from sensory organs
Motor neurons: stimulate muscles ! movements
Interneurons: vast majority of the neurons in the brain, stands between sensory and motor/ other
interneurons.
Glial Cells: plays a critical role in the way connections among neurons are set up. (10x more glial cels
than neurons in the brain)
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Structure o the Nervous System
2 Major Parts: Central Nervous System (CNS) and Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
CNS: brain and spinal cord
PNS: skeletral nervous system and the autonomic nervous system (ANS)
The Peripheral Nervous System
Skeletal system governs striated (very fine striped) muscles
-plays major role in motor cognition and mental simulation
-under voluntary control
ANS functions are carried out by smooth muscles
- smooth muscles found in heart, blood vessels, stomach lining, intestines.
-usually not under voluntary control
-plays a key role in emotion, affects how memory works
ANS has 2 major parts: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system
The Sympathetic System: prepares animal to respond vigorously and accurately during an emergency
-increase heart rate (more oxygen/nutrient to organs)
-increase breathing rate (thus providing more oxygen)
-dilate the pupils (greater sensitivity to light)
-causes the palms of the hands to moist (providing better grip)
-reduces digestive functions, including salivation
-relaxes the bladder (suspending another function hat isnt crucial in an emergency)
The Parasympathetic Nervous System
-dampers down the fight or flight response
-targets single organs or small sets of organs
The Cerebral Cortex
Meninges: the three membrans covering the surface of the brain
-Under meninges ! Cerebral Cortex 2 mm cell bodies of neurons (gray matter)
-The Cortex of the brain is wrinkled
-bulging fold = gyrus
-crease = sulcus
-
Corpus Callosum: a massive collection of nerve fibers that connects the hemispheres
Each hemisphere is divided into 4 lobes: occipital (posterior), temporal (under the temples), parietal
(upper posterior), frontal (front)
Occipital lobe: visual input
Temporal lobe: many different sorts of functions.
-retention of visual memories, receive inputs from occipital lobe, match visual
input to visual memories.
-process input from the ears, posterior portion of the left temporal lobe contains
Wernickes area (crucial for comprehending language)
-anterior (front) of the temporal lobes are crucial for storing new information in
memory and deriving meanings into emotions.
Parietal lobes: crucially involved in representing space and our relationship to it.
-the most anterior gyrus of the parietal lobes, the somatosensory cortex
-represents sensations on different parts of the body.
-important for consciousness and attention
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Document Summary

Psyb57-10w-w01 - how the brain gives rise to the mind. Cognition is the internal interpretation/transformation of stored information. Perception, emotion, representation, encoding, working memory, attention, executive processes, decision making, motor cognition/mental simulation (setting up our responses) language. Explain who was involved in the early evolution of cognitive psychology, from philosophy to introspection to behaviorism (pp. Philosopher plato (427-347bc) - memories are like etching on a wax tablet, people differ in their harness and purity of the wax. Rene descartes (1596-1650) - distinction between mind and body, mind is qualitatively distinct form body. John locke (1632 - 1753) - contents of mind, thoughts is a series of mental images. George berkeley (1685 - 1753) - abstract concepts (justice, truth) could not be conveyed effectively by images storing information cannot be limited to mental images. Birth of scientific study of mental activity (introspection): wilhelm wundt (germany) (1832 1920)

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