Psychology 3130A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Satisficing, Tabula Rasa, Cognitive Revolution

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The Psychology of Thinking
- Thinking has been described as the essence of being
- Descartes I think therefore I am
- Thinking studies within broader field of cognition
- Cognitive psych = defined as study of info processing and behaviour
o Basic attention, perception to memory etc
- Concerned with complex mental behaviours
What is Thinking
Basic Description
Thinking = mental activity (however not synonymous)
Is a very specific subset of mental activity that involves working with mental
representations, planning and executing behaviours, and the coordination of cognitive
resources
Different Kinds of thinking
Can be divided up in many ways, including divisions based on content, effort, desired
outcome, etc
Theory of mine = being able to consider contents of another perso’s thoughts
o Involved in the game of chess
E.g. catching fly balls vs solving physics problems
o First behaviour is a conscious and effortful processes whereas the second is an
intuitive and procedural process that defies verbal description
However both rely on some degree of retrieved memories
o While they are different and solve different problems, there are shared
underlying mechanisms (retrieval of prior instances from memory)
Challenges to the thinking process
Humans are capable of predicting and judging info even in the face of incomplete and
sparse info
e.g. recent study by Tom Griffiths and Josh Tenenbaum looked at peoples ability to
make quick judgements about things that they were not experts in
o found most people able to make predictions that fell closely inline with statistical
models of optimal outcome
i.e. make good judgements could be bc people are good at using
existing knowledge, memory to make predictions
Multitasking
brain and mind is designed to be able to divide attention and resources among several
input and output channels
research suggests there is always a cost
e.g. Ophir Nass and Wagner created questionnaire that allowed them to measure light,
medium and heavy media multitaskers
o participants asked to engage in number of tasks that required them to switch
quickly b/w responses and to detect targets in the presence of distractors
eig a heavy edia ultitasker did’t predit etter perforae o ogitive tasks
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