Module 27 Page 1
Cognition - all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering and
Concept - a mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people
Prototype - a mental image or best example of a category. Matching new items to a prototype
provides a quick and easy method for sorting items into categories (as when comparing
feathered creatures to a prototypical bird, such as a robin).
Problem Solving: Strategies and Obstacles
Algorithm - a methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular
problem. Contrasts with the usually speedier - but also more error-prone - use of heuristics.
Heuristic - a simple thinking strategy that often allows us to make judgments and solve
problems efficiently but also more error-prone than algorithms. Ex. Chunking
Insight - a sudden realization of a problems solution; contrasts with strategy-based solutions.
Strikes suddenly with no prior sense of "getting warmer" to the solution.
Confirmation Bias - a tendency to search for information that supports our preconceptions and
to ignore or distort contradictory evidence. We may eagerly seek out and favour evidence
verifying our ideas than evidence refuting them.
"Ordinary people evade facts, become inconsistent, or systematically defend themselves
against the threat of new information relevant to the issue." Thus once people form a believe
they prefer belief-confirming information.
Mental Set - a tendency to approach a problem in one particular way, often a way that has been
successful in the past.
A perceptual set predisposes what we perceive, a mental set predisposes how we think.
Forming Good and Bad Decisions and Judgments
Intuition - an effortless immediate, automatic feeling or thought, as contrasted with explicit,
Availability Heuristic - estimating the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory;
if instances come readily to mind (perh