CH.1: The Scope of Cognitive Psychology
Henry Molaison (contributed his brain) could rmr events prior to the surgery but he
seemed completely unable to recall any event tht as offered after his operation
This field defined as scientific study of acquisition, retention and use of knowledge. Self-
concept depends on knowledge and emotions rely on memories.
A Brief History
The Years of Introspection
19 century- Wilhelm Wundt and his student Edward B. Titchener launched the new
enterprise of research psychology, defining their field for the first time as an endeavor
separate from philosophy or biology.
Introspect is to look within, to observe and record the content of our own mental lives
and sequence of our own experience. Some thoughts are unconscious, so
introspection was limited as a research tool hence introspection can tell us nothing
about unconscious events. It’s hard to tell what others are thinking.
The Years of Behaviorism
Introspection is hard to observe so it’s better to observe behaviours
Data concerned with behaviour are objective data.
Stimuli in the world are in the same objective category: these are measurable,
recordable, physical events
Mentalistic notions are beliefs, wishes, and expectations that need to be ruled out
when observing behaviour because they can’t be directly observed.
Behaviorist movement: it contains many principles concerned with how behaviour
changes in response to various stimuli (including stimuli we call rewards and
Late 1950s, psychologists were convinced that a great deal of behaviour could not be
explained in these terms as in they couldn’t be explained with reference only to
objective, overt events (such as stimuli and responses) because the ways ppl act, and
ways tht they feel, are guided by how they understand or interpret the situation, and
not by the objective situation itself.
Subjective entities play a pivotal role in guiding behavior so we must consider these
entities if we want to understand behaviour
If a friend requests the salt, your response will depend on how you understand your
friend’s words. It’s the reason why a rigid behaviorist perspective will not allow us to
explain your behaviour. The Roots of the Cognitive Revolution
If we wish to explain or predict behaviour, we need to make reference to the mental
world- the world of perceptions, understandings, and intentions because hw ppl act is
shaped by how they perceive the situation, hw they understand the stimuli, etc.
Kant’s transcendental method: you begin with observable facts and then work
backwards from these observations. Sometimes this method is called inference to best
Study mental processes indirectly, rely on fact that these processes (invisible and with
consequences): measurable delays in producing a response, performances that be
assessed for accuracy, errors that can be scrutinized and categorized. By examining
these (and other) effects produced by mental processes, we can develop and then test
hypotheses about what the mental processes must have been
Research in Cognitive Psychology: An Example
Working Memory: Some Initial Observations
Working memory is to emphasize that the memory you use for information that you
are actively working on. Working memory holds information that you are actively
working on. It holds info in an easily accessible form so that the information is, at your
fingertips, instantly available when you need it.
Working memory is hypothesized to have a small capacity with only a few items held in
Span test: read a list of items to person starting from small up until when they can’t
report back accurately. After 7-8 then ppl make mistakes.
Working Memory: A Proposal
Alan Baddely and Graham Hitch proposed a model to explain both this finding and many
other results. Their model starts by stipulating that working memory isn’t a single entity.
Instead, working memory has svrl different parts so they prefer to speak of working