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Psychology (2,981)
PSY270H1 (159)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1 & First Lecture

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Susanne Ferber

Introduction Tuesday January 03 2012 513 PMCognitive psychology branch of psychology concerned with scientific study of the mind y Mind creates and controls mental functions like perception attention memory emotions ylanguage deciding thinking and reasoning o Important for functioning and survival o Determines mental abilitiesCognition mental processes like attention and memory what the mind doesyo Describes acquisition storage transformation and use of knowledge Want to determine properties and mechanisms of the mind mental processes behind behaviour y Origins go back to Greek philosophers Aristotle yo Philosophers had 3 assumptionsThe world can be understood and predicted y Humans are part of the world y And explanations should be of this world yo Things arent random things happen in a systematic way Human behaviour can be explained the same way we explain everything else o Stopped referring to supernatural reasons for eventsThe Renaissance Rene Descartes yo Time marked by the rise of humanism and beginning of modern science o Emphasis on the individual as opposed to religion o 2 assumptions reemergedWorld can be understood and predicted explanations should be of this world yo The scientific method emphasis on observation What is the truth and what is the best way to find the truth o Origin of knowledgeNativism knowledge is innate y Rationalist contemplation logical analysis y Empiricism knowledge is gained through experience tabula rasa yo Descartes both nativism and empiricism have their place Early Work in Cognitive PsychologyEarly ideas about the mind dominated by the belief that it could not be studiedyFranciscus Donders yo In 1868 did the first cognitive psychology experiment First modern scientist to study cognition o Wanted to determined how long it takes for a person to make a decision by measuring reaction time how long it takes to respond to presentation of a stimulus o Mental chronometry how long does a cognitive process take o Simple reaction time task reacting to presence or absence of a single stimulusPushing a button after a light appears y No decision just detection yo Choice reaction time task reacting to one of two or more stimuliPushes one button for right light another for left light y Decision required y
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