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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - History, Methods, and Paradigms

Course Code
Gabriela Ilie

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Memory & Cognition Chapter 1 History, Methods, and Paradigms
Cognitive psychology how people acquire, store, transform, use, and communicate
information; what goes on when we perceive, attend, remember, think, categorize, reason,
decide, etc.
Cognitive processes:
1.Attention mentally focusing on a stimulus
2.Perception interpreting sensory information to yield meaningful information
3.Pattern Recognition classifying stimulus into a known category
4.Memory storage facilities and retrieval processes
5.Recognition registering stimulus as familiar
6.Recall extracting previous information on stimulus from memory
8.Problem Solving
9.Knowledge Presentation mental organization of the knowledge accumulated
throughout life
10.Language verbal communication
11.Decision Making determine how to react in a situation
Cognitive processes occur rapidly, with little effort, without our realization, and occur
simultaneously or very closely in time.
Influences on the study of cognition
Plato: storing something in memory is like writing on a wax tablet; the mind is an aviary
filled with birds, memory retrieval is catching a specific birds: sometimes you can, but other
times you can grab only a nearby bird.
Knowledge comes from an individuals own experience; the environment plays an
important role. There are individual differences in genetics, but human nature has
malleable/changeable aspects
People are idiosyncratic due through previous learning, an example of which is the
mental association of two ideas (two distinct ideas or experiences, having no
relations previously, could become joined in the mind simply because they occurred
at the same time Locke)
Emphasis on innate ability, differences due to ones biological/genetic endowment
oSome cognitive, Hardwired, functions come built in as part of human legacy
(evolutionist), eg. Short term memory is attributed to structures of the
human mind that are present in rudimentary form at birth, not
learned/created as a result of experience

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Focus on the elemental components of the mind, rather than on why/how the mind
The proper setting for experimental psychology is the laboratory in order to
determine the true nature of the mind.
Wilhelm Wundt; table of mental elements when combined produce complex mental
Use investigation technique of introspection, presenting trained observers with
stimuli and asking them to describe their conscious experiences; assumed raw
materials of consciousness were sensory and therefore below the level of meaning.
Thoughts/ideas result from a combination of sensations using 4 properties:
1.Mode visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory
2.Quality colour, shape, texture
3. Intensity
Focus on why the mind works the way it does
Mental phenomena should be studied in real-life situations using a holistic approach
William James carried out little research, mostly theoretical
oThe way the minds operations are dependent upon its function, eg. Habit is a
mechanism that keeps our behaviour within bounds, every smallest stroke of
virtue or of vice leaves is ever so little scar.
oDrew heavily on Darwinian evolution theory.
Psychological phenomena is determined by stimuli and responses, eg. Classical
conditioning, operant conditioning
Regarded as branch of functionalism
Unobservable, subjective mental processes should be banished from the study of
Watson regarded all mental phenomena as behavioural and physiological responses
(thoughts are inspired by perceiving the movement of ones tongue and larynx)
Encouraged testable hypotheses and strict research protocols
Skinner rejected mental representations (internal depictions of information),
while Edward Tolman believed that we have both expectations and internal
representations that guide our behaviour
Gestalt Psychology
Psychological phenomena cant be reduced to simple elements, but has to be
analyzed and studied in their entirety; an observer apprehends the total structure of
an experience as a whole instead of its sensory components
Studies subjective experience of stimuli and how the mind organizes perceptions
into wholes instead of discrete parts
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