Chapter 8: Thinking and Intelligence
How does the Mind Represent Information
-cognitive pyshology was originally based on the notion that the brain represent
information, and that the act of thinking – that is cognition is directly associated with
manipulating these representation.
-we use two basic types of representation every day, analogical and symbolic
-Analogical representations have some characteristics of actual ojects, such as maps
reflecting thephysical layout of geography or family tress indicating the degree of
relationship between relatives.
-Symbolic representations most often are words or ideas, such as knowing that the word
violin stands for a musical object
Mental Images Are Analogical Representations
-we often appear to see visual images, which happens without consciously trying to do so.
-several lines of evidence support the notion that representations take on such picture like
-then these ares are likely responsible for providing the spatial aspects, such as size and
shape, of analogical visual imagery.
-These studies show that when we retrieve information from memory, as when we recall
a picture we recently saw in a newspaper, the representation of that picture in our mind’s
eye parallels the representation that was in our brain the frst time we saw the picture.
Limits of Analogical Representations
-the range of knowledge we can represent in this way is limited.
-if something cannot be wholly perceived by our perceptual system, we cannot have a
complete analogical representation of it.
Concepts are Symbolic Representations
-Much of our thinking reflects our general knowledge about objects in the world rather
than simply their visual representations
-symbolic representations consist of words and abstract ideas.
-Grouping things together based on shared properties, known as categorization, reduces
the amount of knowledge we must hold in memory and is therefore an efficient way of
-Concept refers to a class or category that includes some number of individuals or
-concepts can be mental representatives of categories, such as musical instruments, fruits,
-The notion that concepts are formed by defining attributes is called the defining
-according to this model, each concept is characterized by a list of features that are
necessary to determine if an object is a member of a category.
-Althought the defining attribute model is appealing, it fails to capture many key aspects
of how we organize things in our heads.
1) the model suggest that membership within a category is on all or non basis, but in
reality we often make exceptions in our categorizations.
2) the defining attribute model suggest that all attributes of a category are equally salient
in terms of defining the given category.
3) the model posits that all members of a category are equal in category membership – no
one item is a better fit than any other.
-prototype models is that within each category, some members of a particular category
are more representative or prototypical of that category than other members.
-exemplar model is that there is no single best repsentation of a concept.
-exemplar models assume that experience forms fuzzy representations of concepts
because, in essence, there is no single representation.
Schemas Organize Useful Information about the Environment
-schemas enables us to interact with the complex realities of our daily environments.
-schemas help us perceive, organize, and process information.
-we developt scehmas about the differenttypes of real life situations that we encounter
-reffered to these scheams about sequences as SCRIPTS.
-the essential elements of schemas are that 1) common situations have consistent
2) people have specific roles within the situational context.
-scripts dictate appropriate behaviours. What we view as appropriate is shaped by culture
-given the potential problems with scripts and schemas, it is important to consider what
they do for us.
-The adaptive value of schemas is that they minimize the amount of attention required to
negotiate within a familiar environment.
-mental representations in all forms assist us in using information about objects and
events in adaptive ways.
How Do We Make Decisions and Solve Problems?
-GLADWELL argues that decisions made quickly can often equal or even surpass
decision made following considerable reflection and deliberation
-both conscious and unconscious mental processes are important for decision making and
-much of the time we operate quite effectively on automatic pilot with little conscious
awareness of how we are interacting with the world around us.
-The ability to have recreational thought and use it to guide decisions and actions is
considered a fundamental characteristic of human cognition.
People use Deductive and Inductive Reasoning
-reasoning, which refers to evaluating information, arguments and beliefs in order to
-two types of reasoning:
1) inductive reasoning
2) deductive Reasoning
-the tasks is to determine if a conclusion in a specific case can be drawn or deduced from
a set of more general initial premises.
-Deductive reasoning uses logic to draw specific conclusions under certain assumptions
-in the form of syllogisms, which are logical arguments containing premises and a
-conditional syllogism, the argument is in the form: If A is true, then B is true.
-A common deductive reasoning task takes the from of a categorical syllogism, in which
the logical argument contains two premises and a conclusion.
-takes the form : All A are B, All B are C, Therefore, all A are C
-deductive reasoning allows the reasoner to determine the truth of a statement given the
-although we often assume that the principles of deductive reasoning should ally equally
in all circumstances, research indicates that schemas about typical events and situation
can influence performance on reasoning tasks.
-a more common reasoning problem is to determine general principles from specific
-ie. your friend is always late, and as u continue to get to know her, she is still
consistently late. After a number of such instances, you might expect your friend to be
late, because you have induced the general conclusion that your friend is usually tardy.
Decision Making Often Involves Heuristics
-decision making involves putting these beliefs into action by choosing amont options
-decision making has been influenced by normative approaches and descriptive
-normative models of decision making have viewed humans as optimal decision makers,
whereas more recent descriptive models have tried to account for the tendencies humans
have to misinterpret and misrepresent the probabilities underlying many decision-making
-expected utility theory breaks down decision making into a computation of utility, an
indication of overall value, for each possible outcome in a decision making scenario.
-proposes that decisions ultimately boil down to a consideration of possible alternatives,
with people always choosing the most desirable alternative
-we must first rank the alternative in order of presences.
-this ordering allows us to determine whether each alternative is more desirable, less
desirable or equally desirable compared to each competing alternative.
-Tversky and Kahneman: heuristics
-which are mental shortcuts or rules of thumb that people typically use during inductive
reasoning and decision making.
-often occurs at the unconscious level; we are not aware of taking these mental shortcuts
as we go through our day
-heuristics are valuable because they require minimal cognitive resources
-heuristic thinking can be adaptive because it allows for quick decisions rather than
weighing all of the evidence each time.
-heuristics can also result in specific biases, which may lead to errors or faulty decisions.
Cognitive pyshology was originally based on the notion that the brain represent information, and that the act of thinking that is cognition is directly associated with manipulating these representation. We use two basic types of representation every day, analogical and symbolic. Analogical representations have some characteristics of actual ojects, such as maps reflecting thephysical layout of geography or family tress indicating the degree of relationship between relatives. Symbolic representations most often are words or ideas, such as knowing that the word violin stands for a musical object. We often appear to see visual images, which happens without consciously trying to do so. Several lines of evidence support the notion that representations take on such picture like qualities. Then these ares are likely responsible for providing the spatial aspects, such as size and shape, of analogical visual imagery. The range of knowledge we can represent in this way is limited.