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Psychology 2010A/B Chapter Notes -Color Vision, Subliminal Stimuli, Moon Illusion

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Terry Biggs

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Psychology 2010A Midterm Text Book Notes
Chapter 1
- Cognition is the mental action of knowing
- The amount of information provided by a given event can be quantified in terms of bits
o “binary digit”
o Most basic unit of information
o Event that occurs in a situation with two equally likely outcomes = 1 “bit” of information
Information Theory
- Information reduces uncertainty in the mind of the receiver
- Amount of information provided is proportionate to the probability that that particular message
will occur
- * Information provided by a particular message is inversely related to the probability of its
occurrence; the less likely it is, the more information is there
- Hick (1952)
o Time taken to respond to a stimulus
o Response time slowed as number of stimulus alternatives increased
o Stimulus information linked with processing time; more information, more time needed
to respond
Limitations of information processing:
- Amount of time it takes for information to flow through the nervous system (NS)
- Amount of visual information a person can process at one time
o More information, longer it takes to process
- People deal with information overload by attending to only some of the available signal
Models of Information Processing
- Broadbent’s Filter Model
o Theory based on the idea that information-processing is restricted by channel capacity
Maximum amount of information that can be transmitted by an information-
processing device
o 1. 2 or more signals occur at once and enter sensory buffer together
o 2. Buffer extracts simple stimulus characteristics
o 3. Filter selects messages that share basic physical characteristics and passes them to
limited capacity system
o 4. Any messages not selected decay over time
- Ears function as separate channels for information input; selective attention
- Waugh and Norman’s Model
o Introspection: “looking inward” to observe one’s own thoughts and feelings
o Primary memory: what we are aware of in the immediate present moment (aka: STM)
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Psychology 2010A Midterm Text Book Notes
o Secondary memory: knowledge acquired at an earlier time that is stored indefinitely and
absent from awareness
- Distinction between STM and LTM based on introspective evidence (seldom “trusted”)
- Brown-Peterson Task
o Experimental paradigm where subjects are given a set of items and a number
o Subjects begin counting back by 3s from that number and asked to recall items at
particular intervals
- Participants’ ability declines as number of interfering items increases
Ecological Validity
- Gibson (1950, 1966)
o Argued that stimuli used in psychological experiments impoverished compared to real-
life stimuli
o Ecological approach: psychological inquiry that reflects real world conditions
o Meaning of objects/events perceived through affordances
Potential function/uses of stimuli in the real world
o Information pickup: perceive information directly
- Neisser (1976)
o Cyclical model of cognition
o Perceiver possesses schema (category) that represents what is expected to find thus
directing exploration of it
o Perceiver also encounters unexpected information so modifies schema
o Perceptual cycle: schemata guide exploration of the world and are shaped by what we
find there
Metacognition and Cognitive Psychology
- Knowledge about the way cognitive processes work; understanding our own processes
Chapter 3
- Visual agnosia: an inability to identify objects visually even though they can be identified by
other senses
- Weiskrantz (1986)
o Blindsight studies suggest that we may be able to perceive visual objects even when we
have no conscious experience of them
- William James (1890, 1983)
o People are not actually aware of all things in their environment of which they could be
- Encoding: the process of transforming information into one or more forms of representation
- Subliminal perception
o Consistent with Wicken’s view
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