How does the mind represent information?
Representation – one thing which corresponds to another or stands for something abstract
o Mental representations (analogous representation) – Mental representations that are
representative of the characteristics of the object
Picture of violin (the picture shares characteristics with the violin)
o Abstract Representations (Symbolic representation) – things which represent the object,
but are not related to the characteristics of the object.
A Heart stands for love (Heart is not related to the physical characteristics of
Categorization – grouping based on shared characteristics or properties
Concept – a mental representation of an object, event or idea
o E.g: chair is a concept; it contains desk chair, lounge chair, arm chair
o Can be combined with other concepts for more general label (concept)
E.g: chair and table are both furniture (furniture is another concept)
Defining attribute model – the idea that a concept is defined by a list of features that must be
met if an item is in it.
o E.g: All bachelors must be single; if he’s not single, he’s not a bachelor.
o Doesn’t always work out; not all birds fly, and 3 year olds are not bachelors.
o Some characteristics are more important for a given concept
“Warm blooded” is less important than “has wings” for the BIRD concept
Prototype Model – Objects are categorized according to how closely they resemble the
prototype (best example) of the category
o Allows for flexibility in representation of concepts
o Explains why some category members are better fit
o Doesn’t explain how a prototype is picked
Exemplar Model – Info stored on members of category used to determine category membership
o We categorize a new animal by seeing if it looks like any of the animals we’ve previously
Script theory of Schemas
Script theory – We follow scripts on behaviors at particular settings (quiet in movie theatre,
talkative with friends over dinner)
o Script Schemas work because
Common situations have common attributes (restaurants have food)
People have specific roles within situational context (waiter brings food) How do we make decisions and solve problems?
Reasoning – Using info to determine if conclusion is reasonable
o Deductive – Reasoning from general statements to conclude about a specific item
(usually involves a syllogism; a logical argument with premises (if … then …))
E.g: If Bob is a man, and men are slobs, then bob is a slob
o Inductive – Reasoning from specific example to make a general conclusion
Men in general are slobs because I know 10 men and they are slobs
Decision making – Attempt to select best among several options
Problem Solving – finding a way to get around an obstacle and reach a goal
Models of Decision Making
Normative Model – Views humans as optimal decision makers, always pick the best choice
Descriptive Model – A model that factors in human’s tendency to misrepresent probabilities
Expected Utility Theory – Decision making as a computatio