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Memory and Cognition - ch1.docx

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Pare, Dwayne

Memory and Cognition Chapter 1 – The Science of the Mind - Everything that we do, everything that we feel or say, depends on our cognition – what we know, what we remember and how we think The Scope of Cognitive Psychology - Cognitive psychology was known as the scientific study of knowledge o This led to questions like how is knowledge acquired, retained and used for making decisions and problem soving - Ex. Your studying for a test and the information wont “stick” in your mind, you look for another strategy to study - Ex. Your friends movement in the room is acting as a distraction and you cant shut it out - Ex. You learn that a certain number of people decided to vote for candidate X – how did they decide whom to vote for? o In each of these examples things aren’t going as you wish : you remember less then you want to, you are unable to ignore distraction and voters are making a choice you don’t like - Make it seem like cognitive psychology is focused on our ability to remember, or to pay attention, or to think though options when making a choice - Cognitive psychology is broader – our range of actions, thoughts and feelings depend on our knowledge - Many and perhaps all of our encounters with the world depend on supplementing your experience with knowledge that you bring to the situation ex. The piggy bank example from lecture - Amnesia – case where someone, because of brain damage, has lost the ability to remember certain materials o Ex. HM – memory loss was a byproduct of brain surgery o Had no trouble remembering events prior to the surgery, but he seemed unable to recall any event that occurred after the operation o His uncle died after his surgery – and each time he asked about him he would be told the news, would experience greif and shock but then soon forget because of his memory loss o Without memory he had no way of coming to terms with his uncles death o Commented on the fact that he didn’t know who he was – without memory we don’t know if we are deserving of praise for good deeds or blame, whether we kept promises or achieved our goals o Without memory there is no sense of self - Our self-concept depends on our knowledge – our emotional adjustments to the world, rely on our memories - Our ability to understand a story, a conversation or experiences depend on supplementing the experience with our knowledge A Brief History - Is roughly 50 years old - The cognitive revolution – took place between the 1950’s and 1960’s – represented a striking change in style of research used by most psychologist - Changed the intellectual map of our field The Years of Introspection - Wundt and Titchener – launched a new enterprise of research psychology - There is no way for you to experience my thoughts or I yours - The only person who can experience or observe you’re your thoughts is you - The only way to study thoughts is for each of us to introspect or “look within” to observe and record the content of our own mental lives and experiences - They could not be casual, had to be trained – were given a vocab to describe and to report experiences with minimum interpretation - Some thoughts are unconscious and introspection was limited as a research tool - Ex. If you were asked whats your number, it probably popped up into your thoughts without any effort – therefore a lot of cognitive processes take place out of our awareness - Another problem – there must be some way to test claims so that we an separate correct assertions from false ones - Ex. I insist that my headaches are worse then yours o You describe then in extreme terms – but this may just reflect your verbal style and not your headaches o The only information about headaches is what comes to us through filter of my description and we have no way of knowing whether that filter is coloring the evidence - In science we need objective observations – ones that are not dependant on a particular point of view or a descriptive style - Want to make sure the raw data is out in plain view so I can inspect your evidence and you can inspect mine – can make sure neither of is exaggerating the facts – cant be done with introspection The Years of Behaviourism - Behaviors are obviously observable in the right way o Data concerned with behavior or objective data and are measurable, recordable, and physical events - You can record the pattern of data and also the behaviors I produce each day – can see how the pattern of behavior changes with the passage of time and experiences  learning history - Beliefs, wishes, goals, expectations – cannot be directly observed, cannot be recorded - Behaviorist movement – uncovered a range of principles concerned with behavior changes in response to stimuli - Found that a great deal of behavior could not explained in these terms – the way people act and the ways that they feel are guided by how they understand or interpret situations and not by the situation itself o Leads to us misunderstanding why people are doing what they’re doing and will make the wrong predictions about how they’ll behave in the future o Subjective entities ie. Beliefs, feelings .. must be considered if we want to understand behavior - If we want to predict responses, we need to refer to the stimulus and also to the person’s knowledge and understanding of, and contribution to, this stimulus - Ex. A friend produces a physical stimulus “Pass the salt, please” and you produce a salt-passing behaviour o This behavior could be evoked by other stimuli like: “Could, I have the salt”, “Salt, please” o What do these stimuli have in comman? o Similar sounds would not lead to the salt-passing behavior ex. “Salt the pass” or “Sass the palt” o Stimuli that are different from one another produce the same effect – is not plainly what unites the various stimuli that evoke salt passing o They all however mean the same thing – to predict the behavior if in the dining hall, we need to ask what these stimuli mean to you o Indicates the impossibility of a complete behaviorist psychology The Roots of Cognitive Psychology - How people act is shaped by how they perceive the situation, how they understand the stimuli, and so on - The only direct means of studying the mental world is introspection and introspection is unworkable – we need to study the mental world but we cant - Transcendental method – you begin with the observable facts and then work backward from these observations – how did these observations come about and what causes led to these effects o Called “inference to best explanation” o Ex. Physicist study electrons but have never seen one, they are not observable but their presence has led to visible effects o Physicist observe the clues that electrons leave behind, and from this information they form hypotheses about what exactly electrons like in order to produce the same effects o Can arrange for experiments with new measures and maximize the likelihood that the electron will leave useful clues behind o The prospect of reproducing ecperiments and varying the experiments to test the hypothesis – is what gives science its power o
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