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Chapter 1: Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
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  1. Chapter 1: Introduction to Cognitive Psychology

  2. Cognitive Psychology Is… • The study of how people perceive, learn, remember, and think about information. Problem Solving Decision Making Memory Attention Reading Language

  3. Dialectic flaws/alt idea Thesis Antithesis Synthesis: best of both flaws/alt idea New Thesis

  4. Philosophical Roots Rationalist Logic & reasoning is key Empiricist Experience & observation is key

  5. Rationalism (Descartes) Empiricism (Locke) Synthesis: Both have a role (Kant)

  6. Functionalism (James) “Process” Structuralism (Titchener) “Elements” Synthesis: Associationism (Ebbinghaus & Thorndike)

  7. Behaviorism (Pavlov) “Contingency” Associationism (Thorndike) “Satisfaction” Synthesis: Radical Behaviorism Should study only environment and behavior—not thoughts. (Watson & Skinner)

  8. Less radical Behaviorist Cognitive Map –a thought! (Tolman) Behaviorism Dominated until…. Synthesis: Cognitions should play an active role in psychology (Gestalt, Bandura)

  9. Important to Cognitive Psychology • Lashley emphasized that the brain actively processes information • Hebb targeted cells as center of learning • Chompsky’s review of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior: “reductio ad absurdum”

  10. Important to Cognitive Psychology • 1950’s Development of Computers • Turing Test and Artificial Intelligence • A "cognitive revolution” occurred and increased interest in the study of mental processes (cognitions)

  11. Goals of Research • Data Gathering • Data Analysis • Theory Development • Hypothesis formation • Hypothesis testing • Application to real world

  12. Research Methods • Experiments • Psychobiological studies • Self report • Case studies • Naturalistic Observation • Computer Simulations

  13. In an Experiment… • Random sample of participants • Manipulate the Independent Variable • Create experimental group • Create control group • Randomly assign participants • Measure the Dependent Variable • Same for all groups • Control all other variables • Prevent confounds

  14. Typical Independent Variables • Manipulate stimulus materials • Compare words to non-words • Compare color diagrams to black and white • Compare Yes questions to No questions • Control how participants process materials • Use imagery to study versus repetition • Vary speed of presentation of materials

  15. Typical Dependent Variables • Reaction Time (milliseconds) • Mental events take time • Accuracy/Error analysis • How well the participant does on a task

  16. Correlational Studies • Cannot infer causation • Simply measure variables of interest • Nature of relationship • Positive Correlation • Negative Correlation • Strength of relationship • Determined by size of “r”

  17. Example of Correlational Cognitive Study • An examination of the relationship between confidence and accuracy of eyewitnesses • What do you think the relationship is? Positive? Negative? Strong? Weak? It is not a strong positive correlation! Many studies indicate that high confidence does not mean high accuracy.

  18. Psychobiological Studies • Postmortem studies • Examine the cortex of dyslexics after death • Brain damaged individuals and their deficits • Study amnesiacs with hippocampus damage • Monitor a participant doing a cognitive task • Measure brain activity while a participant is reciting a poem

  19. Self Report Studies • Verbal Protocol • Participants describe their conscious thoughts while solving a story problem • Diary Study • Participants keep track of memory failures • Naturalistic Observation • Monitor decision making of pilots during flights

  20. Case Studies • Intensive studies of individuals • May examine archival records, interviews, direct observation, or participant-observations • Creativity of successful individuals • The deficits of a neglected child

  21. Computers in Research • Analogy for human Cognition • The sequence of symbol manipulation that underlies thinking • The goal: discovery of the programs in humans’ memory • Computer simulations of Artificial Intelligence • Recreate human processes using computers

  22. Underlying Themes • Nature vs. Nurture • Rationalism vs. Empiricism • Structures vs. Processes • Domain Generality vs. Domain Specificity • Causal Inferences vs. Ecological validity • Applied vs. Basic Research • Biological vs. Behavioral Methods

  23. Key Ideas in Cognitive… Data can only be fully explained with theories, and theories are insufficient without data – thus creating the cycle of science. Theory Data

  24. Key Ideas in Cognitive… • Cognition is typically adaptive, but errors made can be informative. • Example- Spoonerisms: • A lack of pies (A pack of lies) • It's roaring with pain (It's pouring with rain) • Errors can be used to infer how speech production occurs.

  25. Key Ideas in Cognitive… • Cognitive processes interact with each other and with non-cognitive processes • Emotions may affect decisions • Working memory capacity contributes to reading speed • Perception contributes to memory decisions

  26. Key Ideas in Cognitive… • Many different methods are used to study cognition • Experiments • Correlational studies • Individual differences • Case studies • Clinical studies

  27. Key Ideas in Cognitive… • Basic research often leads to important applications and applied research often contributes to a more basic understanding of cognition • Priming is explained by spreading activation in memory, and can also explain why skilled readers may read faster • Studying the common errors that 1st graders make in math class can help us to better understand how humans process mathematical information