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PSY270H1 (159)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Notes

2 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY270H1
Professor
Gillian Rowe

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Mind: creates and controls mental functions such as perception, attention, memory, emotions, languages, deciding,
thinking, and reasoning; a system that creates representations of the world so that we can act within it to achieve our
goals
Cognitive psychology: the study of thinking how people perceive, learn, remember, and think about information
oCognition what is actually going on in the mind; performance observable behaviour used as evidence of
cognition
oCognitive Revolution
Fall of behaviourism
Rising popularity of computers consider internal events as well as observable stimuli and responses
Human factors engineering importance of studying complex human behaviour
Communications engineering useful concepts
Modern linguistics challenged behaviourists view of language
Computer science (artificial intelligence) human computer analogy
oDonders:
PURPOSE: determine how long it takes for a person to make a decision
METHOD/CONCLUSION: measuring reaction time time taken to respond to stimulus
Simple reaction time task: presenting stimulus (light) mental response (perceiving light) 
behavioural response (pushing button)
Choice reaction time task: presenting stimulus (light) mental response (perceiving light AND decide
which number to push) behavioural response (pushing button); took slightly longer therefore decision
takes around 1/10 of a second
SIGNIFICANCE: mental responses must be inferred from behaviour
oEbbinghaus:
PURPOSE: determine how information that is learned is lost over time
METHOD/CONCLUSION: savings method calculate savings by subtracting the number of trials needed to
learn the list after a delay from the number of trials it took to learn the list the first time.
Memory drops rapidly for first 2 days and then levels off
SIGNIFICANCE: memory can be quantified; functions like the forgetting curve can be used to describe a
property of the mind
oWatson: (Behaviourism)
Little Albert experiment
Classical conditioning pairing one stimulus with another, previously neutral stimulus causes changes in
the response to the neutral stimulus
oSkinner: (Behaviourism)
Operant condition behaviour strengthened by the presentation of positive reinforcers
oTolman:
Rat in maze experiment: rat learned to get cheese from right, but turned left when food was there
Cognitive map a conception of the mazes layout
oChallenge: cognition is complex, mental events cannot be observed directly, their workings can only be observed
indirectly via behaviour
oBasic assumptions:
Mental processes exist
Mental processes can be studied scientifically
By studying reaction time and accuracy of processing
By examining brain indices of the mind
Positron emission tomography (PET)
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
Event-related potentials (ERP)
Human beings are active information processors
oMuller:
PURPOSE: learn about memory consolidation process by which experiences or info that has entered the
memory system becomes strengthened so it is resistant to interference caused by trauma or other events.
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Description
Mind: creates and controls mental functions such as perception, attention, memory, emotions, languages, deciding, thinking, and reasoning; a system that creates representations of the world so that we can act within it to achieve our goals Cognitive psychology: the study of thinking how people perceive, learn, remember, and think about information o Cognition what is actually going on in the mind; performance observable behaviour used as evidence of cognition o Cognitive Revolution Fall of behaviourism Rising popularity of computers consider internal events as well as observable stimuli and responses Human factors engineering importance of studying complex human behaviour Communications engineering useful concepts Modern linguistics challenged behaviourists view of language Computer science (artificial intelligence) human computer analogy o Donders: PURPOSE: determine how long it takes for a person to make a decision METHODCONCLUSION: measuring reaction time time taken to respond to stimulus Simple reaction time task: presenting stimulus (light) mental response (perceiving light) behavioural response (pushing button) Choice reaction time task: presenting stimulus (light) mental response (perceiving light AND decide which number to push) behavioural response (pushing button); took slightly longer therefore decision takes around 110 of a second SIGNIFICANCE: mental responses must be inferred from behaviour o Ebbinghaus: PURPOSE: determine how information that is learned is lost over time METHODCONCLUSION: savings method calculate savings by sub
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