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UM / Psychology / PSYX 280 / What is the mental process or faculty by which knowledge is acquired?

What is the mental process or faculty by which knowledge is acquired?

What is the mental process or faculty by which knowledge is acquired?


School: University of Montana
Department: Psychology
Course: Fund of Memory and Cognition
Professor: Yoonhee jang
Term: Fall 2015
Cost: 50
Name: Memory and Cognition Study Guide Exam 1
Description: This is a study guide for exam 1. Material is from chapters 1-4
Uploaded: 02/26/2017
6 Pages 119 Views 2 Unlocks

Chap1: History, methods, & paradigms

What is the mental process or faculty by which knowledge is acquired?

Cognitive Psychology: Cognition- The mental process or faculty by which knowledge  is acquired. Behavioral study of basic human abilities- Attention, Perception, Pattern  Recognition, Memory, Knowledge Representation, Language, Reasoning/Problem solving, Decision Making.

Cognitive Science: Interdisciplinary approach to the study of cognition. Cognitive  Psychology, Biology, Speech and Hearing, Kinesiology, (Cognitive) Neuroscience,  Linguistics, Philosophy, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics.

Empiricism: (Nurture) Emphasizes experience and the role of mental associations.  Knowledge comes from an individual’s own experience.

Nativism: (Nature) Emphasizes biological, innate, hard-wired differences, and the role  of native ability.

What is the meaning of empiricism?

Schools of Psychology: Hypothesis Testing

(1) Structuralism: The basic building blocks (elementary units) of consciousness.  Introspection: report mode, quality, intensity, and duration of subjective experience.  Wundt, Titchener

(2) Functionalism: The function of mind. “Why” the mind works the way it does. Habit  is a mechanism basic to keeping our behavior within bounds: establishing good  habits and avoiding bad ones. Study real life situations. James.

(3) Behaviorism: Banish reference to unobservables. Disdain for subjective  introspection. Classical and instrumental conditioning. Pavlov, Thorndike, Watson,  Skinner. Examples: Dog/bell salvation and the bird pressing for food.

(4) Gestalt: Study phenomena in their entirety. Perception of total structure: The whole  is greater than the sum of the parts. Wertheimer, Koffka, Wolfgang. (5) Galton’s individual difference: Galton(cousin of Darwin): measurement of  intelligence. Inspired by evolution- intellectual talents could be inherited. Invented  many statistical techniques and questionnaires.

What is the meaning of nativism in psychology?

If you want to learn more check out What does chromium do to your body?

Cognitive Revolution: Reject behaviorism: scientifically study unobservables. In the  40’s and 50’s, parallel developments of: Human factors engineering: person-machine  system- limited capacity processors, Linguistics- language development cannot be  explained by behaviorism, Neuroscience- localization of function, Artificial Intelligence computer metaphor: the comparison of people’s cognitive activities to an operating  computer. If you want to learn more check out What is the size range of silt?

Research Methods:  

(1) Introspection: (Seldom used) Report bias; lack of access. If you want to learn more check out How can a society organize an economy?
We also discuss several other topics like What is the role of agencies in advertising participants?

(2) Naturalistic Observation: (Rarely Used) Good ecological validity, bad  experimental control.

(3) Controlled Observation & Interviews: (Rarely Used)

(4) Experiments: (Most commonly used) “The effect of X on Y”- Independent  Variable(IV): The factors you manipulate, Dependent Variable(DV): Measured  outcome(behavior). Between- and within-subjects designs- Between-ss:  Different groups of people receive different conditions, Within-ss: Each person is  exposed to more than one condition. Experiment: Random assignment of  participants- Control and experimental conditions. If you want to learn more check out Reappointment happens every how many years?

(5) Quasi-experiments: (Most commonly used) Non random assignment of  participants- e.g. study of gender, age, ethnicity differences. Necessarily a  between-subjects design(instead of a within-subjects design)

(6) Brain Imaging: Neuroscience method If you want to learn more check out What planets are terrestrial and jovian?

IV (independent variable): The factors you manipulate.

DV (dependent variable): Measured outcome(behavior)

Paradigms of Cognitive Psychology:

(1) Information Processing: Largely symbolic, “system”, computer science. Not  concerned with biology. Originally “box and arrow” style theories(flowcharts),  serially. More recently, computational theories.

(2) Connectionism/Neural Networks/Parallel Distribution Processing (PDP): Sub symbolic, neuroscience. Mimics biology. Parallel.

Chap2: Function of the brain

Know the brain structure and function:

(1) Occipital: Vision

(2) Parietal: Space perception, spatial manipulation, spatial attention, perception of touch. (3) Frontal: Voluntary movement, following complex rules and inhibiting responses, pre-frontal:  intention for action/executive functioning, language production(left): Broca’s area (4) Temporal: Association- complex visual from perception. Hearing. Linguistic meaning(left)-  Wernicke’s area.

(5) Wernicke’s and Broca’s areas: Wernicke’s: The left temporal lobe, posterior to the primary  auditory complex) Language comprehension/semantic processing. Broca’s: Lower portion  of the left frontal lobe, speech production.

(6) Thalamus: Sensory switchboard.

(7) Hippocampus: Memory’s manager.

(8) Amygdala: Primal emotions.  

(9) Hypothalamus: Internal regulator- sleep, eating, temperature control, drinking, etc. (10) Brainstem and Cerebellum:  

Midbrain: Relay center; also involved in arousal.

Pons: “Crossover” of information between the left side of the body and the right side of  the brain and vice versa; involved in balance, sleep, arousal.

Medulla: Regulates life support (respiration, blood pressure, etc)

Cerebellum: Coordinates muscle activity.

Localization of Function:  

Gall: Faculty psycholgy, phrenology: Different mental abilities are independent functions  carried out in different parts of the brain. Psychological strengths/weaknesses are  correlated to the relative size of different brain areas.

Aphasia: A disturbance of the comprehension and formulation of language caused by  dysfunction in specific brain regions. Broca and Wenicke’s area.

Plasticity of the brain: Brain regions can adapt to take over functions of damaged  regions, depending on the injury and the function involved.

Lateralization of function:  

- Two cerebral hemispheres play different roles. Left hemisphere is dominant for  langage. Right hemisphere leads to better integration of visual/auditory/spatial  information.

- Left Brain: Logical sequential, rational, analytical, objective, looks at parts. - Right Brain: Random, intuitive, holistic synthesizing, subjective, looks at wholes.

Neuroscience Techniques:

(1) CT or CAT: Computerized Axial Tomogrophy. A highly focused beam of x rays is passed  through the body from many different angles. Neuroanatomical information(static)- cross  sectional views of anatomy. Good for studying brain damage.

(2) MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Requires no exposure to radiation and often permits  clearer pictures. Neuroanatomical information(static)- cross sectional views of anatomy.  Good for studying brain damage.

(3) PET: Positron Emission Topography. Involves injecting a radioactively labeled compound,  and measures the blood flow to different regions of the brain. How blood flows during  various cognitive activities- different areas of activation for different cognitive functions.

(4) fMRI: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Relies on the fact that blood has magnetic  properties. How blood flows during various cognitive activities- different areas of activation  for different cognitive functions

(5) EEG: Electroencephalography. Used to detect different states of consciousness. Awake,  alert, drowsy, asleep, or in a coma. Electrical activity during cognitive activities. (6) MEG: Magnetoencephalography. Measures changes in magnetic fields generated by  electrical activities. Electrical activity during cognitive activities.

(7) ERP: Event-related potential. Measures an area of the brain’s response to a specific event.  Electrical activity during cognitive activities.

(8) TMS: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Measures activity of specific brain circuits.  Electrical activity during cognitive activities.

Chap3: Perception


Distal Stimulus: A real object out in the world.

Proximal Stimulus: The registration of an object on our senses.

Percept: The interpretation of the proximal stimulus.

Gestalt principles (Law of Prägnanz):  

Gestalt Psychology: study phenomena in their entirety. Perception of total structure:  the whole is greater than the sum of the part. Wertheimer, Koffka, Wolfgang. Proximity, Similarity, Good continuation, bad continuation, closure, common fate.

Occlusion(subjective contours): broken contours indicate an object in front. Perceptual immediacy of the larger figure over the smaller components.

Bottom-up (data-driven): Lower levels(e.g. simple features) are not affected by upper  levels(e.g. complex features and objects. Different ways to pattern match. (1) Template Matching: Match to an exact detailed copy of stored stimuli(e.g. check sorters).  

Need to store a lot of templates. How/when templates are created. Different patterns, but  recognize them as the same thing.

(2) Featural Analysis: Look for defining features, components, rather than the whole.  Biederman’s Geon Theory(geometrical ions)

(3) Prototype Matching: An idealized representation of some class of objects or events- match  to idealized version of object, an exact match not required: more flexible than template  matching. Posner and Keele(1968): people form prototypes very quickly- classification task  only with distortions, unseen prototypes as good as old stimuli.

Top-down (theory-driven): Lower levels are influences by upper levels(e.g. expectation can  cause you to perceive things differently.) The influence of expectations and knowledge. Global  context speeds perception.

(1) Word Superiority Effect: Context of the word speeds perception of the letters. Easier to  recognize a letter in the context of a word(e.g. WORK) than in the context of a nonword(e.g.  OWRK) or when the letter is presented alone (e.g. K)

(2) Connectionism(Neural Networks, PDP=parallel-distributed processing): Sub-symbolic,  neuroscience. Mimics biology. Parallel.  

(1) McClellan and Rumelhart Connectionist Model(PDP): Perception of a word activated  the nodes corresponding to all the letters within the word, thereby facilitating their  perception. Without the word context, the node for the individual letter is less active, so  perception of the letter takes longer(or more difficult).

Direct Perception(Gibson): The perceiver actually needs to do very little work in interpreting  the world. Light hitting the retina contains highly organized information that requires little or no  interpretation. Information exists not merely in the environment, but in the animal-environment  ecosystem. Ex: When we see a shape of dots moving we can see that it is a person walking.  When we change different aspects of it we can say if its a male, female, fat, skinny, etc.

Visual Agnosias: Impairments in the ability to interpret visual information following brain  damage(although seeing). Not a memory problem or a language problem, but a problem in  perception. Person with visual agnosia may still be able to recognize objects by touch or smell. (1) Apperceptive Agnosia: Cannot match or copy objects. Difficulty with incomplete lines or  unusual views.

(2) Associative Agnosia: Inability to identify stationary objects. Distracted by small details. (3) Prosopagnosia: Face recognition deficits, despite preserved recognition for other visual  objects. (Can’t recognize familiar faces or even own face)

(4) Simultanagnosia: Spatial disorder of visual attention. “When I see one object, I do not see  the other and it takes me time to find where it is.”

Chap4: Attention

Selective Attention:

- Dichotic Listening task: Attending inputs(….a cow runs after…), Ignored inputs(…lots  of people gather…), Speech outputs(…a cow runs after…).  

- Listen to two different messages, simultaneously in opposite ears, and shadow (repeat aloud) one of them.  

- Remember from either message(unattended and attended)

- failed to recall the content of the unattended message.  

- failed to notice the language of unattended message  

changed(English to German)

- failed to recognize when words were repeated(intermixed) as  

many as 35 times.

- What can be reported from the unattended channel?

- speech vs noise; gender of talker

- “something odd” (e.g., backward speech): Wood and Cowan

- Cond. B&C: about 50% of the participants noticed the switch

- More shadowing errors when backward speech noticed.

- attention captured by the backward speech to poorer  


- The attentional shift to the unattended message was  


Theories of attention assume/propose: Most theories say- only a limited amount of  material(limited capacity) can be attended to. We usually focus our attention on one event  rather than on many. With practive, people can attend to more than one thing at a time-It also  depends on how much information is contained in each.

3 Main Theories of Attention:

(1) Broadbent’s filter theory (early selection): There is an information bottleneck and only a  small amount of material can be attended to it. Early processing (early selection), before  meaning has been determined- Information is filtered based on physical properties(e.g. pitch,  loudness, etc.), the meaning from an unattended message is simply NOT processed. (2) Treisman’s attenuation theory: Information is NOT filtered, rather its attenuated-the  volume is “turned down”, not off. Auditory information is processed-physical properties(pitch,  etc.), linguistic content(separate into syllables and words), semantic information/ meaning(important messages are processed more readily, these words have permanently  “lowered thresholds” and are understood even when attenuated, thresholds can be temporarily  lowered(primed) by the context of recent events.)

(3) Deutsch & Deutsch’s and Norman’s late-selection theory: Similar to the filter theory,  there is a bottleneck, only the bottleneck occurs later in procession. Everything is at least  partially processed for meaning and then it is determined which information to respond to. Only  attended material is elaborated and remembered.

Inattentional Blindness exp/results: We do not perceive a stimulus that might be right in front  of us, unless we are paying attention to it. Ex: The invisible gorilla(46% of participants failed to  notice the umbrella woman or gorilla.)

Change Blindness: The inability to notice large changes to scenes. Objects must be directly  attended in order to notice if they changed. Ex: The door study.

Hemineglect (brain structures and patients’ data): The posterior section of the parietal lobes.  Usually right parietal lobe damaged.

Automatic Processes: Occurs without intention. Occurs without awareness(although you may  be aware of the results). Doesn't interfere with other mental activity. A single number “pops out”  against a background of letters, no matter how many letters are in the array.

Stroop Effect: Slow to name the color of a word when the word spells a different color.  Reading is a highly practiced automatic process that interferes with color naming(which we have  less practice with). With lots of practice at color naming, the Stroop effect becomes  smaller(color naming becomes automatic too)

Treisman & Gelade’s visual search exp: When a single feature distinguishes targets from  distractors, the target is said to “pop out” RT is independent of display size(# of distractors).  Attention is required to processes conjunctive stimuli RT increases linearly with display size,  the “slope” of target absent(negative) trials is twice the slope of target present(positive) trials.

Know Treisman’s feature integration theory: The procession of features is said to be “pre attentive” and is “automatic”, with all objects processed simultaneously. The combining of  features(feature conjunctions) requires attention to “bind” together the separate features attention as a gluing together process. Without attention, features may be incorrectly combined  to form illusory conjunctions-this occurs when attention is limited by e.g. without attention,  glancing at a red Honda civic and a blue cadillac=blue Honda civic.

Divided Attention from dual-task performance: Extensive training at writing words dictated  while reading stories. After 6 weeks comparing dual-task to just reading(same reading speeds,  same comprehension of stories), understood the meaning of the dictated words while reading.

Driving Simulation exp (with cell phones): Compared conversation vs listening.  Conversation impaired driving.

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