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Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Thinking and intelligence.docx

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Dan Dolderman

Chapter 8: Thinking and Intelligence Dead risks are fears that can profoundly affect reasoning and decision-making. Gerd Gigerenzer (2004) believes the biases that typically affect decision-making after highly unlikely tragic events should be publicized, so that education about dread risks might prompt people to reconsider choices that could result in additional negative consequences. The way we think about information makes important differences in the quality of our lives – both individually and collectively. Cognition = mental activity such as thinking or representing information. The field of cognitive psychology was originally based on the notions that the brain represents information and that the act of thinking is directly associated with manipulating these representations. Two basic types of representations: 1) Analogical = a mental representation that has some of the physical characteristics of an object; it is analogous to the object. E.g. maps and family trees. 2) Symbolic = an abstract mental representation that does not correspond to the physical features of an object or idea. I.e. names of objects that do not look like the object itself. Scientific Method: The “R” studies and analogical mental images Hypothesis: The time it takes to say whether a stimulus is a mirror image will increase as a function of how far the stimulus is rotated from its upright position. Research method: 1) Participants were shown rotated objects – letters and numbers. 2) Participants were asked whether each object was in its normal orientation or was its mirror image. 3) Researchers timed how long it took the participants to respond. Results: The farther the object was rotated from its upright position, the longer participants took to determine whether the object was in its normal orientation or a mirror images. Participants were fastest when an object was at or close to upright; they were slowest when it was rotated 180 degrees. Conclusion: Participants developed mental images of the objects and rotated these images to view the objects in their upright positions. Presumably, the farther an object was from upright, the longer this process took. Mental maps involve a mixture of analogical and symbolic representations. E.g. most of us can pull up a visual image, a map, of Africa’s contours even if we have never seen the actual contours with our own eyes. Our symbolic representations consist of words, which can represent abstract ideas in a succinct verbal form. Concept = a mental representation that groups or categorizes objects, events or relations around common themes.; a category or class, that includes subtypes and/or individual items. It consists of mental representations, of a relation between representations, or of quality or dimension, such as brightness or width. It ensures that we do not store every instance of an object, a relation or a quality or dimension individually by allowing us to organize mental representations around a common theme. Instead, we store an abstract representation based on the properties that particular items or particular ideas share. Defining attribute model = the idea that a concept is characterized by a list of features that are necessary to determine if an object is a member of the category. Limitations: - It suggests that membership in a category is on an all-or-nothing basis, but in reality we often make exceptions in our categorizations, allowing members into groups even if they do not have all the attributes or excluding them even if they have all the attributes. E.g. saying that “birds fly”, but penguins and ostriches cannot. - It suggests that all of a given category’s attributions are equally salient in terms of defining that category. However, research demonstrates not only that some attributes are more important for defining membership than others but that the boundaries between categories are much fuzzier that the defining attribute model suggests. E.g. has wings is generally considered a clear attribute of bird, whereas is warm-blooded does not as readily come into mind when we think of birds, so being warm-blooded is not salient in how we think of birds. - The model posits that all members of a category are equal in category membership – no one item is a better fit than any other. Prototype model = an approach to object categorizations that is based on the premise that within each category, some members are more representative than others. - It allows for flexibility in the representation of concepts. - A particular prototype can be chosen for different reasons: Is it the most common example of that particular category? Is it a representation that all members of that category resemble? Or does it represent a combination of typical attributes? Exemplar model = information stored about the members of a category is used to determine category membership. It proposes that any concept has no single best representation – instead, all the exemplars of category members form the concept. E.g. your representation of dogs is made up of all the dogs you have encountered in your lifetime. If you see a dog, you compare it with your memories of dogs. It is closely resembles these memories, you conclude that it is a dog. Schemas help us perceive, organize and process information. Unfortunately they reinforce sexist beliefs. Roger Schank and Robert Abelson (1977) have referred to schemas about sequences as scripts (dictate appropriate behaviors, and what we view as appropriate is shaped by culture). E.g. going to the movies is a script most of us are familiar with. We can employ schemas because: 1) Common situations have consistent attributes 2) People have specific roles within situational contexts Relational schemas = influence what people expect from others in their social interactions. Even though scripts and schemas are potentially problematic, their adaptive value is that they minimize the amounts of attention required to navigate familiar environments. They also allow us to recognize and avoid unusual or dangerous situations. Reasoning = using information to determine if a conclusion is valid or reasonable. Decision-making = attempting to select the better alternative among several options. Problem solving = finding a way around an obstacle to reach a goal. Deductive reasoning >> Using a belief or a rule to determine if a conclusion is valid; from general to specific. Deductive reasoning tasks are often presented as syllogisms (logical arguments containing premises and a conclusion) - Conditional syllogisms – the argument takes the form “if A is true, then B is true” - Categorica
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