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Chapter 8

PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Visual Cortex, Wind Instrument, Cognitive Psychology

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Alison Luby

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-Dread Risks: fears that result from low-probability events being highly publicized e.g. rise in automobile accidents b/c
of the 9/11 (many ppl began to fear flying even though more ppl die in car accidents than in airline disasters)
How Mind Represents Information
-cognitive psychology is based on the notions that the brain represents information and the act of thinking, cognition
(mental activity like thinking/representing information) is directly associated w/ manipulating the representations
-we use representations to understand objects in our environments
-Analogical Representations: has some characteristics of (“analogous to”) actual objects (e.g. maps, family trees)
-Symbolic Representations: abstract; usually words or ideas; do not relate to physical qualities of objects in world (e.g.
the word violin represents musical instrument; the letters of words do not correspond to what violin looks like)
Analogical Representations
-we often see images without trying; representations can take on picture-like qualities
-The “R” Studies: participants shown the letter “R” either normal/mirrored in various angles; told to determine whether it
was in normal/mirror orientation
Discrimination took longest when object was rotated from upright position (180◦); participants mentally rotated
the representations of the objects to “view” objects in upright positions
-visual imagery is associated w/ activity in visual perception-related areas in brain (primary visual cortex) the same
brain areas are activated when we view something and when we think in images
-we can only represent limited range of knowledge analogically
E.g. Maps (like mental map of Africa) involve analogical and symbolic representations; analogical representation
gives map of North America but symbolic knowledge falsely tells you that California is farther west than Alberta
Symbolic Representations
-includes words (representing abstract ideas in verbal form) and how we use knowledge about objects efficiently
-Categorization: grouping things based on shared properties; reduces the amount of knowledge we must hold in memory
and efficient way of thinking
-Concepts are symbolic representations; groups/ categorizes objects, events, relations around common themes (e.g
relations like “elephants are heavier than mice”, qualities like brightness/width); includes subtypes or individual objects
Ensures that we don’t have to store every instance of an object/relation/quality individually; we store abstract
representation based on the properties that objects/ideas share
-Defining Attribute Model of Concepts: each concept is characterized by a list of features that are necessary to
determine if object is part of the category (e.g. for bachelor: “male and unmarried”)
Concepts organized hierarchically (superordinate/subordinate to each other) e.g. wind instrument subordinate to
superordinate category of musical instruments
Suggests that membership within category is all-or-none basis but in reality we make exceptions in categorization
Suggests all of category’s attributes are equally important in defining the category but normally some attributes
are more important than others and boundaries b/w categories are fuzzy
Suggests that all members of category are equal in category membership (no one item is a better fit than another)
-Prototype Model of Concepts: categorization based on the premise that within each category, some members are more
representative than others; we tend to think of a “best example” (“prototype”) for the category
E.g. robin is the prototype for bird for North Americans rather than penguins
-Exemplar Model: proposes that all the examples (exemplars) of a category members form the concept; through
experiences ppl form a fuzzy representation of a concept b/c there is no single representation of any concept
Some category members are more prototypical than others b/c we simply encountered them more often
-Schemas (cognitive framework; pattern of thought/behavior) enable us to interact w/ the complex realities of daily
environments (help us perceive, organize, and process information)
-we develop schemas about the different types of real-life situations we encounter
-Scripts: schemas about sequences of events in certain situations; we tend to follow general scripts of how to behave in
certain settings, like at the movies
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