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Chapter 9

PSYC14H3 Chapter 9: PSYC14 CHAPTER 9

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Nicholas Hobson

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Chapter 9 – Cognition and Perception - Why is research on cognition and perception important? Research on cognition and perception is esteemed so much because it purports to be informing us about the most elementary and essential psychological processes. Researchers in this field question how the human mind works—how the brain is able to process the streams of information that people encounter as they go about our their lives. Western vs. Eastern artists Horizon at a lower point in French paintings than Japanese French subject larger than a subject in Chinese portraits Given the fundamental questions that occupy researchers of cognition and perception, it is quite remarkable that it is in this domain that some of the clearest evidence for cross- cultural variability appears. Analytic and Holistic Thinking Which of these three are least like the other two? “a dog, a carrot or a rabbit” People typically give one of two kinds of answers. One common answer is the carrot since the other two are animals. This is called taxonomic categorization strategy (COMMON IN WESTERN), stimuli are grouped according to similarity of attributes. Another answer would be the dog, since rabbits eat carrots. This is thematic (COMMON EAST ASIAN MENTALITY) where things are grouped together because of spatial or temporal relationships. Analytic thinking is characterized by a focus on objects and their attributes. Holistic thinking – characterized by an orientation to the context as a whole (associative way of thinking). Origins of these two types of thinking are argued to have arise from the different types of social experiences have within individualistic and collectivistic societies. People with independent self-concepts come to understand others by focusing on their inner attributes and attending less to relationships. People with interdependent s elf-concepts, in contrast, tend to conceive of people in terms of their relationships with others. Analytic thinking evidence: Platonic perspective that the world is a collection of discrete and unchanging objects that can be categorized by reference to a set of universal properties. Holistic thinking was evident in ancient Chinese traditions of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. These guys provided the groundwork. There is evidence that holistic thinking characterizes people from much of the globe. Interestingly, the same places where holistic thinking are found are also the places where there has traditionally been little psychological research. We may well have overestimated the pervasiveness of analytic thinking. Nisbett focused on North Americans and East Asians but in reality other non Western cultures share the same findings. Attention Attention – given a time where one’s cognitive activity is directed. Early results from Roscharch ink blot tests revealed that these two groups of Americans apparently s aw things quite differently. The European-Americans were more likely to describe what they saw based on a single aspect of t he card—say, a little blotch on the bottom that looked like a Ferrari. In contrast, the Chinese-Americans were more likely to give “whole-card” responses, describing what they saw based on the entire image. The results indicated that the Chinese estimates of the l ikelihood t hat t he c orrect picture w ould appear w ere more a ccurate t han t he estimates of the Americans. Apparently, Americans focused more on the individual objects than they did on the relations between the objects. However, holistic thinkers would perform badly on rod and frame tasks that require separating a scene into its component parts. Field dependence vs. field independence – whether you can separate object from background or not. Outgoing people tend to be field dependent. Farmers are field dependant. Catholics and atheists more field dependant than Calvanism (whatever that is).. - As people age their neural functions continue to be shaped by normative cultural attention patterns - People rely on different brain regions for processing visual information in scenes Field Dependence: view objects as bound to their backgrounds (HOLISTIC THINKERS) Field Independence: separate objects from their background fields (ANALYTIC THINKER) STUDY OF FISH BACKGROUND: The Japanese described the fish in relation to the background so when the background changed, they weren’t able to describe the fish even if they were the same thing. Meaning to say that they see the fish and background as bound to each other. Whereas the Americans were always able to describe the fish even if the background changed or not. OKAY GUYS BASICALLY ASIANS SUCK AT LOOKING AT THINGS SEPARATE FROM BACKGROUND Saccades a re t he extremely quick eye movements that shift people’s gaze f rom one fixation point to another. Ofc compared to Americans, Chinese were more systematically scanning entire scene. Living in a busier physical environment seems to foster the ability to attend to a lot of information at once. So do we actually see things differently or process things differently? No we don’t. It depends on the culture we grew up in. We all see the same thing and process the same thing, it’s how we identify these things that is different. Understanding Other People’s Behaviours Trying to understand people’s behaviours. By the way their inner characteristics is an example of analytic thinking. Dispositional attributions – underlying dispositions; i.e our inner attributes (Westerners tend to explain behaviour through this. Situational attributions – explaining behaviour through contextual variables (east Asians) Fundamental attribution Error – tendency to ignore situational variables/ deeply ingrained within us Jones and Harris study - people still assumed that the person who was instructed to write a pro-Castro essay had positive attitudes towards Castro and people who were instructed to write a negative castro essay had negative attitudes toward castro. They attributes the behavior of writing the essay to reflecting the essay writer’s underlying personality even though it’s clear that the writer had no choice in what they wrote. - Example of fundamental attribution error: they ignored the situational variables and focused on the dispositional information Clifford Geerz (anthropologist) suggests that fundamental attribution error is not universal by saying that some cultures such as Balinese do not conceive of people’s behaviours in terms of underlying dispositions but instead see them as emerging out of roles that people have. One experiment tat shows the different tendencies to focus on trait is when participants were asked to memorize a series of facial photographs that were matched with description of behaviours. European Americans indicated underlying trait by linking photos with words describing behaviour. In one study, children (8, 11, and 15 years of age) and u niversity students were recruited from I ndia a nd t he U nited S tates ( Miller, 1 984). The p articipants w ere a sked t o describe a s ituation when someone h ad b ehaved i n either a p rosocial manner or a deviant manner. They were then asked to explain why the person behaved this way Experiments show the 8 year-old give similar answers between cultures in terms of fundamental attribution error. As Americans get older they focus more on disposition and as Indians get older they focus more on situational rather than disposition. Reasoning Styles Rule based reasoning – apply set of rules and laws to make sense of a situation Associative reasoning – looking for evidence of events clustering together, such as a similarity among events or of temporal among events. FLOWER STUDY comparing rule based reasoning to associative reasoning: European Americans based the target flowers off of a rule based reasoning. East Asians based the target flowers off of an associative reasoning. Asian Americans fell in between the two groups. **East Asians take holistic approac
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