SUSS PSY 305 STUDY UNIT 1 INTRODUCTION TO COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY ( STUDYING…
SUSS PSY 305 STUDY UNIT 1
INTRODUCTION TO COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
WHAT IS COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY?
What IS COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
In brief, it is the study of the human mind (i.e. gocnition), more specifically, mental processes
The mind’s central role
Based on the mind’s role in memory, problem-solving, and making decisions we can define the mind as:
mind creates and controls mental functions
such as perception, attention, memory, emotions, language, deciding, thinking, and reasoning .
Based on the view that the mind is an operating system, we may define the mind as:
mind is a system that creates representations of the world
so that we can act within it to achieve our goals
Both these definitions involve cognition
, such as perception, attention, and memory, that are what the mind does
STUDYING THE MIND: EARLY WORK IN COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY - HOW IT STARTED
DONDERS 1868: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE A DECISION?
Donders was interested in determining how long it takes for a person to make a decision
by measuring reaction time
—how long it takes to respond to the presentation of a stimulus.
He used two measures of reaction time
time by asking his subjects to push a button as rapidly as possible when they saw a light go on
time by using two lights and asking his subjects to push the left button when they saw the left light go on and the right button when they saw the right light go on
Donders reasoned that the difference inreaction time between the simple and choice conditions would indicate how long it took tomake the decision that led to pushing the correct button. Because the choice reaction timetook one-tenth of a second longer than simple reaction time,
Donders concluded that thedecision-making process took one-tenth of a second.
WUNDT’S 1879: STRUCTURALISM AND ANALYTIC INTROSPECTION
Wundt wanted to create a “periodic table of the mind,” which would include all of the basic sensations involved in creating experience based on
According to structuralism, our overall experience is
determined by combining basic elements
of experience the structuralists called
Wundt thought he could achieve this scientific description of the components of experience by using
a technique in which trained subjects described their experiences and thought processes in response to stimuli
No reliable results
Established the first laboratory of scientific psychology
EBBINGHAUS’S 1885 MEMORY EXPERIMENT: WHAT IS THE TIME COURSE OF FORGETTING?
Ebbinghaus used a measure called
, calculated as follows, to determine how much was forgotten after a particular delay: Savings = (
Original time to learn the list
) – (
Time to relearn the list after the delay
Forgetting occurs rapidly in the first 1 to 2 days after originallearning
Contributed with a quantitative meassure of cognition i.e. Plotted his
to project the rapid decline in memory.
WILLIAM JAMES’S 1890 PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGY
made significant observations and codified his observation in his textbook, Principles of Psychology
Some of the observations hold true
The observation that paying attention to one thing involves withdrawing from other things still rings true today and has been the topic of many modern studies of attention
1900s challenge to the views on cognition
In the early 1900s, negative reactions to Wundt’s technique of analytic introspection and the emergence of John Watson’s new approach called behaviourism shifted the focus away from studying mental processes. Behaviourism focuses on objectively studying observable behaviours and deemed consciousness or mental processes, unobservable events.
MODELS IN COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
Structural models are representations of a physical structure.
i.e A model can mimic the appearance of an object, as a model car or aeroplane represents the appearance of a real car or aeroplane.
Similarly, plastic models have been used to illustrate the locations of different structures of the brain.
Structures can also be represented by diagrams that don’t resemble the structure but that instead indicate how different areas of the brain are connected.
One purpose of models is to
We can appreciate this purpose by considering how we might build a model of the brain. Of course,
this model isn’t anything like a real brain, because it doesn’t show what is happening inside each structure and how the structures are connected to each other.
represent the processes
involved in cognitive mechanisms
i.e. with boxes usually representing specific processes and arrows indicating connections between processes
Mental processes involve the acquisition, retention, representation, transmission, and use of knowledge.
Knowledge is acquired through attention and perception, and retained in memory.
Knowledge is conceptually represented and its transmission is made possible using language. And finally, knowledge is used in problem solving and decision making.
There are two different approaches to studying cognition scientifically
- approach studies cognition by measuring the relationship between
- studies cognition by measuring the relationship between
physiology (i.e., brain activity)
Research methodology refers to the study or theoretical analysis of the methods appropriate to a field of study.
In the field of cognitive psychology, they include
Cognitive modelling involves the use of computer programming to
project cognitive models in order to predict cognitive behaviours
and test theories of cognition.
For example, a programme that mimics how an 8-year-old would solve a Mathematics problem or a programme that mimics the way we retrieve information from our memory.
The experimental method tests theories in a more
Starting with a research question, a literature review is conducted which leads to the experimental hypotheses which are predictions of the experimental outcome.
An experiment is designed
using independent and dependent variables to test the hypotheses.
Introspection centres around self-contemplation, they inculde:
Cognitive neuropsychology is the study of the structure and
function of the brain and how they relate
Case studies such as that of Phineas Gage reveal how damage to certain parts of the brain can result in behavioural change