Psychology 3130A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Linear Combination, Multidimensional Scaling, Context-Dependent Memory

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Chapter 2:Psychology of Similarity
What is Similarity
Seems to be a domain general construct
o means that it operates according to the same principles whether or not the objects or ideas that are being
compared are visual, auditory etc or recalled from memory
similarity as a computation is carried out in the same way regardless of context
have to account for flexibility and fluidity that exists in how people understand and rate similarity
o more than one kind of similarity (coin example page 40); we can appreciate similarity between and among objects
at different levels
Similarity and the thinking process
plays role in cognitive processes; important aspect of many higher order thoughts
Object Recognition
able to see an object from a variety of POVs, recognize the object, name it, access categorical info, grasp it appropriately
often assumed to require an assessment of the similarity between the incoming perceptual representation and the mental
representations that have been stored in memory
objects are recognized as a function of their similarity to stored patterns of known and previously seen objects
understanding of similarity is crucial for understanding of object recognition process
Memory retrieval
Semantic memory memory for facts is assumed to be organized conceptually
Retrieval cue must contact most similar representations in memory
Memory retrieval errors are a function of similarity
Many early cognitive theories of semantic memory demonstrate importance of similarity with the basic idea of spreading
o Spreading activation occurs when a single target concept is activated, and that activation spreads to other related
concepts; degree of spread is influenced by similarity and may also be taken as an index of similarity
o Typically measured in terms of reaction time in a lexical decision task (task where letter strings either words or non
words present, required to respond quick with judgement of whether string is word or not)
e.g. identify work for, should be faster to correctly identify word knife
MINERVA2 = model of memory; instance-based
o built on the notion that similarity between memory traces is a major component of memory retrieval
o memory retrieval functions as a result of the similarity between a probe and many retrieved memory traces
o probe can be thought of as a cue, or a prompt requiring system to recall a memory
o probe contacts as many stored exemplars as it can, but exemplars that are more similar to the probe are retrieved
more quickly
o probe able to contact many similar exemplars quickly corresponds to memories that are retrieved easily
Problem Solving
problems that are similar are solved similarity, a problem solver can use this assessment similarity to assit in solving
Newell and Simon describes problem solving as a search through a defined problem space
o Problem space is simply the arrangement of the currents state, the goal, the obstacles to reaching that goal, and
the operators that allow one to reach the goal
Solving a problem can be thought of as a process of moving through the problem space from initial state towards goal state
Possibly that problem space navigation is a process of tracking the increased similarity between the current state and goal
o Problem solver knows what goal state is supposed to look like and can compare current state to that in order to
determine which action to choose next
Inductive Reasoning
Typically involves generalizing and making predictions about the future based on past events
similarity-coverage model assumes that inductions and inferences are based on an understanding of the similarity among
the items or concepts being considered in a given argument
inductive reasoning is a mental process by which we make predictions about future outcomes based on our knowledge of
similarity between two items helps to determine strength of the inductive inference
Assessment of Similarity
Ratings Task
asking people how similar two things are; scale 1-7
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