PSY270 Chapter 1 reading notes
PSY 270 Lecture 1 textbook reading notes—Chapter 1
Cognitive psychology: the branch that studies the psychology of
-Donders: conducted the reaction time experiment.
Measuring how long it takes to make a decision. 2 models:
•Tested with only one light on screen. Press button whenever
•With two lights, left or right. Have to decide which button to
push when light appears.
The time to make a decision is the subtraction of these two
-Ebbinghaus: measured how long it takes to forget—saving’s
- Savings=initial repetitions- relearning repetition/ initial
Basically, how many times you repeat to learn, then how
many times it takes you to repeat to relearn after a certain
interval are the 2 variants.
Noticed that the savings are greater when the waiting
interval in between is shorter.
Both Donders and Ebbinghaus measured behavior to determine
- Wundt: German, set up first psychology lab. Proposed
Structuralism purely studies the subjective observation of
the conscious, by using the method of analytic introspection.
Analytic introspection: the periodic table of the mind, highly
subjective, proposing that overall experience is the sum of
- William James: wrote the book Principles of Psychology
-Watson: proposed behaviorism: the study of psychology by
directly observing measurable behavior. Pure stimulus-
idea is associated with Pavlov’s classical conditioning with
dog’s saliva. Except that Watson conducted his experiment
on Little Albert, which involved pairing up loud noise
(stimulus) with the presence of rat (neutral stimulus).
result: Albert is scared whenever he sees a rat, even in the
absence of noise. However, as a side effect Albert is also
scared of everything in the surroundings of which were
present when the noise was present. Bad ethics associated.
- Classical conditioning: Ivan Pavlov’s exp. With dog’s saliva:
when hearing a bell food is always present, dog release
saliva. Once this condition is embedded in the dog’s mind,
hearing the bell alone triggers saliva release. The bell
changed from a neutral stimulus to a real stimulus.
- Operant conditioning: proposed by Skinner, which introduced
the idea that positive reinforcers strengthen behaviors and
negative reinforcers weaken the behavior.
- Cognitive map: invented by Tolman, proved that cognition
exists besides pure stimulus-response. Conducted the rat in
a maze exp. Showed that even when the route condition is
set up, when the food changed position, the rat still knows to
turn to another direction to get the food.
-Cognitive revolution: in the 1950s. include 4 events:
1. Chomsky’s critique of Skinner’s book Verbal Behavior,
which stated that children learn language through operant
conditioning. But Chomsky pointed out that children
invent new words ie “hitted”.
2. The introduction of digital computer inspired the idea of
processing information in stages.
3. Cherry’s attention exp. And Broadbent’s intro. Of flow
diagrams to depict the processes involved in attention:
people can consciously focus on the attended message
and filter out most of the unattended message. Our
cognition acts as a filter and a detector—encodes the
already filtered info.
4. Interdisciplinary conferences at Dartmouth and MIT.
- Miller proposed that the human input is limited to 7 items a
- Memory consolidation: a process during which recent
memory (which is fragile) is turned into a longer-lasting
more stable memory.
- Sleep right after learning reduces rate for forgetting.
- fMRI: measures the left-over oxygen level in the blood vessel
after supplying the active brain. And fMRI shows that the
sleep group has more hippocampus activity than the non-
sleep group after a learning task.
- Encoding: how you learn. Retrieval: how you remember.
Good techniques of encoding helps retrieval.
- This book’s construction: an idea/principle followed by