Cognitive Psychology Exam 1 Study Guide
1. Be able to define cognitive psychology
a. A variety of mental activities (mental acquisition, storage, transformation, and use of knowledge) and a particular
theoretical approach that emphasizes thought processes and their knowledge.
2. Be able to explain how Cognitive Psychology came about. a. Ancient times thought of cognitive psychology more as
b. The first known scientific based studies of psychology were concerned with cognition.
c. Behaviorism restricted psychology to only observable behavior, which hindered cognitive psychology.
d. Behaviorism lost it’s hold on psychology due to these three people.
i. Tolman- Said that spatial behavior was due to “cognitive maps” rather than a learned sequence of behavior.
ii. Chomsky- said that language learning was not just a matter of reinforcement and punishment. This contradicted
Skinner’s “Verbal Behavior”.
iii. Breland- Came up with the “Misbehaviors of Organisms”. Said that behavior reflects evolution (instincts) instead of We also discuss several other topics like The temperature increases by 1◦f. how much does it increase in degree celsius?
We also discuss several other topics like When do you use mean, median, and mode?
learning and reinforcement.
e. Cognitive Revolution began.
i. Neisser created the first psychology textbook in 1967.
ii. 1980s- present
1. Cognitive approach dominates psychology
2. Development of connectionist models and cognitive
3. Know what short-term memory, and long-term memory is. a. Short-term: also called working memory. Holds only the small amount of information that you are actively using. These
We also discuss several other topics like What is used for lactate production or shuttles electrons?
memories can be lost within about 30 seconds and are fragile. b. Long-term memory: Has an enormous capacity because it contains memories from decades ago to 10 minutes ago.
Information stored in long-term memory is relatively permanent compare in information in working/short-term memory.
4. Know what PET and fMRI scans are.
a. PET: measures the blood flow in the brain by injecting radioactive chemicals into the body.
b. fMRI: Believed that oxygen rich blood is the bases for brain activity. A magnetic field that takes pictures of oxygen atoms while the participate performs a cognitive task.
5. Know what Cognitive Science is.
a. An interdisciplinary field that tries to answer questions about the mind. Focuses on three parts
i. Cognitive psychology
iii. Artificial intelligence.
6. Understand the parts of the Information-Processing Approach a. Generally uses a serial computer analogy, which means that when we process information, we must process it one thing at a time. If you want to learn more check out What does ap style cover?
i. We have a limited capacity for information
ii. There is a passive reception of information
b. Serial vs. Parallel Processing
i. Serial Processing is when we process one thing at a time ii. Parallel Processing is when we process more than one thing at a time. We also discuss several other topics like What is a disorder of connective tissue that creates hyper elasticity in connective tissue?
c. Intentional/Fully Conscious vs. Automatic Processes
i. Intentional- takes your full concentration. Don't forget about the age old question of How well am i measuring what i want to measure?
ii. Automatic- you don’t need to extend a lot of focus. It pops out.
d. Data-Driven vs. Conceptually Driven Processes.
i. Bottom-up: determined by sensory processes. This is
conceptually driven and it is when you imagine or make up something.
ii. Top-down: Understanding or perception is guided by stored knowledge (memory) or other internal events.
1. You see what is expected to be there.
7. Know what perception is.
a. Previous knowledge to gather and interpret the stimuli registered by the senses.
i. Combine information registered by the eyes
ii. Register your previous knowledge about what you are looking at.
iii. Your previous knowledge fills in gaps about what it would assume to be present based on past experience.
8. Know what a visual stimulus is vs. a distal stimulus.
a. Proximal: information registered on your sensory receptors in the eye.
b. Distal: the actual object that you are looking at in the environment.
9. Know what visual sensory memory is.
a. This is located in the occipital lobe of the brain and it is the portion of your cerebral cortex that is concerned with the basic processing of visual stimuli.
10. Know what Tacit and Explicit Knowledge are.
b. We know more than we can say
i. When you tell someone how to turn left on a bike you tell him or her to stay pedaling and just turn the handlebars, but you actually know that you have to lean your weight so you don’t fall off. That is the information that you know that you are not aware off.
11. What are the different types of reaction times?
a. Reaction Time=Response Time
i. Commonly assumed to be a f (difficulty or number of
ii. A consistent difference in RT reflects a difference in
b. Simple RT vs. Choice RT
i. Simple RT: one must respond to one stimuli with one
1. Light turns on … press button as fast as you can.
ii. Choice RT: one must respond differently to two or more different things
1. Red light… press left button
2. Green light… press right button
iii. Donders predicted that choice RT would take longer than Simple RT b/c choice RT requires a decision.
1. He was correct
c. Subtractive Method: The time required for a particular process can be estimated by adding that process to a task and measuring the increase in RT
d. Priming Effect is like getting warmed up mentally about a subject so the later knowledge will come easier/be faster.
12. Understand what the template-matching model is and the problems with it.
a. Template Matching Models- claims a stimulus must be with a set of specific patterns in memory
i. The numbers on the bottom of a check are all the same and a computer will read them through template matching. For us, we see numbers round the world at different sizes and differently shaped. We do not just have one template.
b. Problems with Template Matching:
i. Size matching: you would need a template for every single size that a letter, shape or figure could possibly be in.
ii. Orientation matching: alignment; where in figures are would make it difficult for the computer to read them.
iii. Configuration matching: every font would need a new
template and everyone’s handwriting would need a ne
iv. Memory load: it would take hours for your brain to sort through all the templates that you would have and you
would hope that you have a template to match up with it.
v. Incomplete figures: could not be identified.
13. What is the feature analysis Theory and the problems associated with it?
a. Steps of the feature analysis theory.
i. Register sensory input
ii. Detect features: no size matching problems
iii. Compare detected features to store information. (memory) iv. Decide on best match
b. Evidence for Feature Detection
i. Letters have distinctive features (page 40 in book). We can find features that make things different.
ii. Confusion errors (C vs. G vs. H). There are way more likely to confuse things that look similarly with their features.
Dissimilar features are not confused.
iii. Feature detectors in visual cortex
1. There are individual cells in the brain that are feature
detectors in the visual cortex.
iv. Results of some visual search tasks
v. Predicts the results
1. A strictly bottom-up theory, but top-down processing is important 2. Global effects (Gestalt)
i. Complexity Effects: When we make features more complex and it gets to identify letters or other things.
∙ Word Superiority Effect: letters are identified more quickly and accurately when they appear as part of a whole
14. Define Ambiguous figure-ground relationship.
a. This is when the figure and the ground reverse from time to time so that the figure comes the ground and then becomes the figure again.
i. An example we saw in class showed picture of a vase/two faces looking at each other. The vase was white and the
faces where blue. You could see one or the other at one
time and the one you didn’t see turned into the
15. Define Attention
a. Attention: The concentration of mental activity that allows you to take in a limited portion of the vast stream of information available from both your sensory world and your memory.
16. Explain what selective attention and divided attention is. a. Divided Attention: When you try to pay attention to two or more things simultaneously and responding to two both messages. b. Selective Attention: Says that you can not divide your attention and do two things at once. You are actually witching your attention back and forth quickly.
17. Know the benefits of Attention
18. Understand Goal-Directed Selection and Stimulus-Driven Capture a. Goal-Directed Selection: We intentionally focus attention on specific objects or spatial regions. You are trying to maintain attention in class, which is a goal of yours to listen and take notes.
i. This is voluntary and requires effort.
b. Stimulus-Driven Capture:
i. This is your involuntary and rapid response. It has an abrupt onset and no offsets. Distinctiveness and rapid
appearance are characteristics of things that will grab your attention without effort in a picture. Rapid Disappearance does not grab your attention.
19. Understand the “Cocktail Party Effect”
a. We can not attend to multiple conversations at once
b. We can focus on one story and understand it completely even when a bunch of loud noise is around you.
i. If another group says your name, then you can usually hear that in addition to the conversation you are focusing on. c. This lead to Dichotic Listening Techniques.
20. What are the Dichotic Listening Techniques?
a. You can shadow (repeat back everything to the tester) one message, but cannot follow 2 messages at the same time that were presented into the same ear.
i. It is really hard to separate two stories that are told by the same voice at the same loudness.
b. If you have two messages playing and you are asked to only pay attention to one, then you will be unable to recall anything about the rejected message.
i. People did notice a sex change, but did not notice a
language change and repeated phrase/word.
21. Know what the two stages of Neisser’s model of attention. a. Pre-attentive: rapid and parallel
b. Attentive: controlled and serial
22. Know the two types of attention process discovered by Triesman. a. Simultaneous: this relates to feature detection, which explains that when a certain feature has a contrasting shape, color, size, etc. from all the other objects, then the target feature will “pop out” and be spotted immediately without any focused attention. This was tested in Triesman’s feature search experiment. b. Focused-Attention: This requires serial scanning of an environment to find the target feature. This occurs when the target has a similar shape, size, or color to the other objects around it and it is harder to find. This was tested in Triesman’s conjunctive search experiment.
23. Understand what change blindness is.
a. Neisser and Becklin came up with the idea to show simultaneous superimposed videos of an environment that changed a small feature. When the video was played, the participants only saw
one of the videos and totally missed the other video. If you were paying attention to the second video, it would have been obvious. i. (Example: the bear that walks through the people throwing a ball and no one sees it the bear.)
24. What is the cognitive unconscious and the types of it? a. When some cognition occurs without conscious awareness. i. Blind sight: We all have a blind spot in our visual cortex, but our brain fills it in for us based on what it believes would be there based on what the rest of the environment looks like in the eye.
ii. Subliminal Perception: Behavior and physiological responses that can be influenced by stimuli below threshold of