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Chapter 8

chapter 8 textbook note

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

Chapter 8 Thinking and Intelligence - our thoughts guide much of our behaviour as we solve problems, make decisions, and try to make sense of events going on around us - some people seem to be better at using info than others being intelligent - cultural and environmental factors play important roles in determining peoples levels of intelligence - for the most part our thinking is adaptive How does the mind represent info? - cognitive psychology was originally based on the notion that the brain represents info, and that the act of thinking that is, cognition is directly associated with manipulating these presentations - cognition mental activity such as thinking or representing info - we use representations to understand objects we encounter in our environment - two basic types of representations every day analogical and symbolic, which most often corresponds to images and words - analogical representations a mental representations that has some of the physical characteristics of an object; it is analogous to the object - symbolic representations an abstract mental representation that does not correspond to the physical features of an object or idea - symbolic representations are abstract and do not have a relationship to physical qualities of objects in the world - both types of reorientations are useful o us in understanding how we think because they form the basis of human thought, intelligence, and the ability to solve complex problems of everyday life Mental images are analogical representations - thoughts can take the form of mental images - visual imagery is associated with activity in perception related areas of the brain (primary visual cortex) - these areas are likely responsible for providing the spatial aspects, such as the size and shape of analogical visual imagery - evidence for existence of picture like imagery also comes form studies of brain injured patients - when we retrieve info from memory, as when we recall a picture we recently saw in a newspaper, the representation of tat picture in our minds eye parallels the representation that was in our brain the first time we saw the picture - this doesnt mean the mental image is perfectly accurate, but rather that it corresponds generally to the physical object it represents - by using mental images, we are able to answer questions about objects that are not in our presence - being able to manipulate mental images allows us to think about our environment in novel and creative ways, which as we will see can help us solve problems - limits of analogical representations o although mental representations can be analogical, the range of knowledge we can represent in this way is limited o if something cannot be wholly perceived by our perceptual system, we cannot have a complete analogical representation of it o inaccurate mental images are still analogical representations Concepts are symbolic representations - much of our thinking reflects our general knowledge about objects in the world rather than simply their visual representations - our symbolic representations consist of words and abstract ideas - the provide info - grouping things together based on shared properties, known as categorization, reduces the amount of knowledge we must hold in memory and is therefore an efficient way of thinking - concepts a mental representation that groups or categorizes objects, events, or relations around common themes - concepts can be mental representatives of categories - can also be mental representations of relations as well as qualities or dimensions - allow us to organize mental representations around common themes, ensuring that every instance of an object, a relation, or a quality does not need to be stored individually and allowing the abstract representation of knowledge with shared similar properties - 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 a category - concepts are organized hierarchically, such that they can be super ordinate or subordinate to each other - although the defining attribute model is intuitively appealing, it fails to capture many key aspects of how we organize things in our heads - the model suggests that membership within a category is on an all or none basis, but in reality we often make exception sin our categorization, letting members into groups even if they do not have all the attributes or excluding them even if they have all the attribute - defining attribute model suggests that all attributes of a category are equally salient in terms of defining the given category - research demonstrates not only that some attributes are more important for defining membership than others, but that the boundaries between categories are much fuzzier and more distinct than the defining attribute model suggests - model posits that all members of a category are equal in category membership no one item is a better fit than any other - prototype models an approach to object categorization that is based on the premise that within each category, some embers are more preventative than others - benefit of recognizing our tendency to view categories as having prototypical exemplars is that it closely resembles how we often organizes our knowledge of objects - this tendency recognizes that not all members of a category have the same attributes - prototype models allow the boundaries between categories to be imprecise - although prototype models allow for some additional flexibility in the representation of concepts, they do not always provide a clear indication of what a prototype representation would be like - exemplar models there is no single best representation of a concept - instead, all of the examples, or exemplars, of category members form the concept - exemplar models assume that experience forms fuzzy representations of concepts because, in essence, there is no single representation - exemplar models can account for the observation that some category members are more prototypical than others - prototypical category members are simply those that we have encountered more often Schemas organize useful info about the environment - a whole different class of knowledge, called schemas, enables us to interact with the complex realities of our daily environments - schemas help us perceive, organize, and process info - as we find ourselves in different real world settings, we draw on knowledge of what object, behaviours, and events apply to a given setting in order to act appropriately - we develop schemas about the different types of real life situations that we encounter - one of the more prominent theories in this domain has focused on schemas about the sequences of events that occur in different situations - Schank and Abelson scripts - Scripts allow us to make a series of inferences about the sequence of events that raise in daily situations so that we know how to act in any given situation - These scripts operate a the unconscious level in guiding our behaviour - We follow them without consciously knowing we are doing so - Sometimes our schemas can lead to distortions in memory - For most part they help us interact with external world efficiently - Essential elements of schemas are that (1) common situations have consistent attributes, (2) people have specific roles within the situational context - Schemas and scripts can sometimes have unintended consequences, such as reinforcing sexist or racist belief - Scripts dictate appropriate behaviours - What we view as appropriate is shaped by culture - Given the potential problems with scripts and schemas, it is important to consider what they do for us - The adaptive value of schemas is that they minimize the amount of attention required to negotiate within a familiar environment - They also allow us to recognize and avoid unusual or dangerous situations - Mental representations in all forms assist us in using info about objects and events in adaptive ways - Being able to manipulate our mental representations that is, to think about objects, event, and circumstances allows us to take appropriate actions, make intelligent decision, and function efficiently in our daily lives How do we make decisions and solve problems? - sometimes decisions are much more consequential and require greater reflection - ability to have rational thought and use it to guide decisions and actions is considered a fundamental characteristic of human cognition - Aristotle rational thought might be the defining characteristic that separates humans from other animals - In last half century, cognitive psychologists have tested models derived form philosophical approaches of reasoning and decision making and have discovered that human behaviour, at times, diverges from what might be considered the most expedient or logical approach- Although more complete models encompassing how humans act outside the lab remain to be developed, exploring the
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