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Cognition

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  1. Cognition Language Cognitive Development Thinking Mental Representation Heuristics Need for Cognitive Consistency

  2. Cognition Who knows what I want to do? Who knows what anyone wants to do? How can you be sure about something like that? Isn’t it all a question of brain chemistry, signals going back and forth, electrical energy in the cortex? How do you know whether something is really what you want to do or just some kind of nerve impulse in the brain? Some minor little activity takes place somewhere in this unimportant place in one of the brain hemispheres and suddenly I wan to go to Montana or I don’t want to go to Montana. —Don DeLillo, White Noise

  3. Structure of Language • Phonemes: Basic speech sounds. • Morphemes: Smallest unit of language that contains meaning. • Surface Structure: The words and phrases comprising a particular sentence. • Deep Structure: The underlying meaning of a sentence.

  4. Rules of Language • Grammar: System of rules that enable us to speak and understand. • Semantics: Rules we use to derive meaning from morphemes. • Syntax: Rules we use to order words into sentences.

  5. Cognitive Development Jean Piaget Genetic Epistemology: The study of the development of knowledge • Action = Knowledge Concept: • Stage approach to development. • All children pass through a series of four universal stages. • Stages are in a fixed order from birth through adolescence: • Stage 1: Sensorimotor • Stage 2: Preoperational • Stage 3: Concrete operational • Stage 4: Formal operational

  6. Cognitive Development Stage Progression: • Children will reach an appropriate level of development. • Exposed to relevant experiences. • If the child fails to receive such experiences then they are assumed to be incapable of reaching their cognitive potential. • The quality of these experiences is crucial. • Schema/Schemes • Assimilation • Accommodation

  7. Cognitive Development Ormrod (2004): • People often remember things in physical situations according to schemas, rather than remembering the actual objects that existed Brewer & Treyens (1981): • 30 students placed in office. • 9 students remembered seeing books. • No students remembered the skull. • No students remembered the tennis racket.

  8. Thinking Cognitive: • Integrated mental network of: • Knowledge, beliefs, and expectations. • Concerning a particular topic or aspect of the world. • Makes life easier Mental Images: • Mental representation that: • Mirrors or resembles the thing it represents. • Includes sounds, pictures, feelings, smells and tastes.

  9. Mental Representation Concept: Dog = Boston Terrier, Poodle, Doberman Emotion = Joy, Sadness, Anger • Mental category that groups objects, relations, activities, abstractions, or qualities having common properties. • Simplify and summarize information about the world. • Allows for fast decision making. • Not all aspects of a concept apply to all elements within the concept. • Not all dogs have long tails. Prototype: An especially representative example of a concept. • What would best represent the “essence” of bird: • Penguin, Eagle, or Flamingo?

  10. Automatic Process Subconscious processes: • Mental processes occurring outside of conscious awareness but accessible to consciousness when necessary. • Enable us to perform more tasks at once, and work simultaneously • Listening to music and reading while drinking and talking on the cell • Volition (mental overload) Nonconscious processes: • Mental processes occurring outside of and not available to conscious awareness. • Ever had a solution to a problem pop into your head later on? • Insight/Intuition Implicit learning: • Learning that occurs when you acquire knowledge about something without being aware of how you did so and without being able to state exactly what it is you have learned. • Chess

  11. Heuristics Rule of thumb that suggests a course of action or guides problem solving but does not guarantee an optimal solution. Dialectical Reasoning: Process in which opposing facts or idea are weighed and compared with a view to determining the best solution or resolving differences. Availability Heuristic: Tendency to judge the probability of a type of event by how easy it is to think of examples or instances. • More people die from auto accidents and yet we are all scared of flying, makes life easier and faster. • Schwartz (1991) • Asked participants for six examples of when they had been assertive (most could think of six). • Then asked a separate group for twelve examples (few people could). • He then asked both how assertive they were. • The ‘six’ people scored themselves higher because their available data had a greater proportion of being assertive. Mental Set: Tendency to solve problems using procedures that worked before on similar problems, to use past heuristics.

  12. Bias Hindsight Bias: • Tendency to overestimate one’s ability to have predicted an event once the outcome is known. • “I knew it all along” phenomenon. Confirmation Bias: • Tendency to look for or pay attention only to information that confirms one’s own beliefs. • “Illusory Correlation” • Redelmeier and Tversky (1996) assessed 18 arthritis patients over 15 months. • Took comprehensive meteorological data. • All the patients were certain that their condition was correlated with the weather. • In fact the actual correlation was close to zero. 

  13. False Consensus Effect Tendency to overestimate the degree to which our own behavior, attitudes, and beliefs are shared by other people. • Reason: • Our friends are like us. • Availability heuristic. • Reinforces our own motivations. • Strongest when: • Comes from strong situational factors. • It is very important to the person. • We are sure we are correct. • Research: • (Ross et al) Students to walk around campus with a sign saying ‘Eat at Joe’s’. • Agree: 62% said other people would agree to carry the sign. • Disagree: 67% said that they would not carry the sign. • Cloud-9 Effect: • Romantic relationships between people often start off with a glow of excitement. • Wears off as the loving couple eventually discover that they are not, after all, that similar (and in fact often are amazingly incompatible!).

  14. Need for Cognitive Consistency Cognitive Dissonance: • State of tension that occurs when a person simultaneously holds two cognitions that are psychologically inconsistent. • When a person’s belief is incongruent with his or her behavior. • Reducing Dissonance: 1. Reject the belief 2. Change behavior 3. Deny the evidence 4. Rationalize (Smoking) Postdecision Dissonance: • Tension that occurs when you believe you may have made a bad decision. • “Buyers remorse” • How do you relieve this dissonance? Justification of effort: • Tendency of individuals to increase their liking for something that they have worked hard for or suffered to attain. • Common form of dissonance reduction.