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Chapter 8

Thinking and Intelligence – Chapter 8 Summary.docx

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Dan Dolderman

Thinking and IntelligenceChapter 8 Summaryy German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer proposed that lowprobability events that are highly publicized and have dire consequences could result in fears he called DREAD RISKS eg The deaths associated with the hijackings of 911 Sometimes humans do not always weigh the actual probabilities of different actions eg an estimated 350 Americans died during the 3 months following 911 because they avoided flying y We can be influenced by numerous factors that might not be considered rational the prominence of events of images in our minds How does the mind represent information y Our thoughts guide much of our behavior as we solve problems make decisions and try to make sense of events going on around usy Some people seem to be better at using information than others we describe this ability as intelligencey Thinking is adaptive we develop rules for making fast decisions deciding to go a different route to avoid hardsnap judgments Unconscious cognitive processes not only influence thought and behavior but also affect decisionmaking and problem solvingy Malcom Gladwell tried to illustrate how snap judgments can have important consequences by using the example of the fire fighter who because of intuition developed over years of experience in fire fighting decided to evacuate a building when the fire wouldnt go out after spraying water on it Knowing something was not right because of the intuition he decided to evacuate the building after doing so the floor collapsed where they were standing He made the right SNAP JUDGEMENT y Some thoughts generate images in your head while others come out as spoken words in our heads HOWEVER some are still difficult to describe because they are formed without any conscious awareness of where they came fromy Cognitive psych was originally based on the notion that the brain represents information and that the act of thinking is directly associated with manipulating the infoeg of representations a road map represents streets a menu represents food optionsy The challenge for cognitive psychologists is to understand the nature of our everyday mental representations you dont need an actual physical representation to describe everything For instance you can describe what your mother without having to look at a picturey There are two different types of representations which are both very important in understanding how we think because they form the basis of human thoughtintelligence and the ability to solve lifes problems Mental Images Are Analogical Representations y Several lines of evidence support the notion that representations take on picturelike qualities y Eg In a study they made participants determine whether the letters were normally orientated or mirror imaged while being rotated They reached the conclusion that the more the image is rotated the longer it would take for them to decide whether the image was normally orientated or mirror imaged This is because in their heads theyre picture the letter being rotated back to the normal position If it were completely upsidedown them it would take the longest time to react y BUT are all representations of objects analogical Cant you just think of the characteristics of an object ie lemons yellow and waxydimpled skin without having to picture the object Research has shown that at least some thoughts take the form of mental images Stephen Kosslyn and his colleagues had shown that visual imagery is associated with activity in visual perceptionrelated areas of the brain primary visual cortex y The picture in your head happens because of electrical impulses that cause groups of neurons to fireManipulating mental images allows you to think about your environment in novel and creative ways helping you solve problemsLimits of Analogical Representations y If something cannot be perceived wholly by out perceptual system then we cannot form a complete analogical representation of ity Mental maps involve a mixture of analogical and symbolic representations Eg When asked whether San Diego or Jasper is father east Symbolic representations can lead to errors because we can represent only a limited range of knowledge analogically and thus use memory shortcuts unconsciouslyy Much of our thinking reflects not only visual representations of objects in the world but also our general knowledge about the world Eg a lemon and how we can use it By picturing a lemon it doesnt tell you how to use it but because you know that the inside is edible you know that you can squeeze the juice out THUS WHAT YOU DO WITH A LEMON DEPENDS ON HOW YOU THINK ABOUT ITy However we have to store unique knowledge for each member of a category Eg a violin has four strings and a guitar has six stringsy A concept ensures that we do not have to store every instance of an objectrelationqualitydimension individually Instead they are stored as abstract representations based on properties that particular itemsideas share y Defining attribute model fails to capture many key aspects of how we organize things in our heads It suggests that membership within a category is on an allornone basis but we actually make exceptions in our categorizations ex DAM of a bird is can fly butttt penguins are birds which DONT fly Also a DAM suggests that all of a given categorys attributes are equally salient in terms of defining a category BUT research shows that some attributes are more important for defining membership than others but that boundaries between categories are much fuzzier than the DAM suggests ex has wings comes to mind when we think of birds BUT warmblooded does not as readily come to mind when we think of birds Third DAMs suggest that no one item is a better fit than any other ex a 16 year old boy a man who has been in a relationship for a while but never got married and a 30 year old who goes on dates every now and againTHEY ARE NOT ON THE SAME LEVEL y The best example in a category is called the PROTOTYPE MODEL
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