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COLORADO / OTHER / PSYC / empiricism defined as what?

empiricism defined as what?

empiricism defined as what?


School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: OTHER
Course: Introductory Cognitive Psychology
Term: Fall 2018
Tags: Cognitive Psychology
Cost: 50
Name: Exam 1 Study Guide
Description: This study guide covers everything that Professor Berta suggested we study in his preliminary study guide.
Uploaded: 09/28/2018
7 Pages 4 Views 7 Unlocks

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CHAPTER ONE – An Introduction to Cognitive Psychology  

empiricism defined as what?

∙ empiricism – the theory that knowledge is obtain through the senses; innate  ideas do not exist (all ideas are derived ideas)

∙ associationism – the theory that association is connecting ideas (in time or  space) together

∙ introspection – analyzing one’s own sensations and reporting them as  objectively possible

∙ behaviorism – focuses on observable reactions to stimuli in the environment  rather than introspection  

∙ operational definition – precisely defining a concept by the way it is measured ∙ information-processing approach – (1) mental processes are similar to the  operations of a computer and (2) can be interpreted as information  progressing through the system one step at a time

∙ parallel distributed processing approach – mental operations occur  simultaneously  

∙ cognitive neuroscience – combines the research techniques of cognitive  psychology with various methods for assessing the structure and function of  the brain

What is the meaning of introspection?

∙ brain lesions – the destruction of an area in the brain most often by strokes,  tumors, blows to the head, and accidents  

∙ Computerized Tomography (CT) – X-ray images of internal organs that show  structure but not function

∙ Positron Emission Tomography (PET) – measure blood flow in the brain by  injecting the participants with a low dose of a radioactive chemical just before this person works on a cognitive task (shows function)

∙ Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – applies a magnetic field to create  detailed images of organs, shows structure but not function

∙ Functional Magnetic Resonance Imagining (fMRI) – applies a magnetic field to  create detailed images of organs and detects blood flow which shows  function

∙ Electrocephalogram (EEG) – graphical representation of activity in the brain’s  cortex We also discuss several other topics like glycolysis notes

∙ Event-Related Protentional Technique (ERP) – a type of EEF that records tiny  fluctuations in the brain’s electrical activity in response to a stimulus ∙ cognitive science – interdisciplinary field that examines questions about the  mind (includes neuroscience, economics, cognitive psychology, philosophy,  computer science, anthropology, sociology, and linguistics)

What is the meaning of behaviorism?

∙ cognitive psychology – branch of psychology that emphasizes peoples’  knowledge and their mental processes (the psychological study of thinking) ∙ ecological validity – the conditions in which research is conducted should be  similar to the natural setting to which the results will be applied  ∙ artificial intelligence – a branch of computer science; it seeks to explore  human cognitive processes by creating computer models that show  “intelligent behavior” and also accomplish the same tasks that humans do

∙ computer metaphor – our cognitive processes work like a computer, that is, a  complex, multipurpose machine that processes information quickly and  accurately  

∙ pure artificial intelligence – an approach that designs a program to  accomplish a cognitive task as efficiently as possible, even if the computer’s  processes are completely different from the processes used by humans ∙ computer stimulation – attempts to take human limitations into account  If you want to learn more check out the first specimens of the oldest human tools were part of which tradition?


- Roots of Psychology

o Philosophy

o Computers and Information Theory

o Biology

- Descartes

o first modern western philosopher  

o derived ideas are due to experience

o innate ideas are not due to experience but rather built into us - Kant

o we do not have built-in knowledge, it forms by which the mind  structures experience

o influence on modern cognitive psychology: we impose order on the  world

- Wilhelm Wundt  

o founder of psychology

o brought philosophy and physiology together

o studied immediate conscious experience


- influences on Americans to develop it

o American practicality – applied psychology (job testing, education,  advertising)

o Darwinism – evolution and natural selection (aimed to explain how  behavior aids in survival and adaptation)

 his notions were later used in Skinner’s operant conditioning and in modern creativity theories  

- opened up psychology with types of subjects, subject matter, and methods Behaviorism

- observable, objective behaviors can be studied scientifically, while  introspection cannot

- criticisms of introspection

o paying attention to thinking may change thinking

o relies on memory (can be faulty)

o may not know what is going on in own mind

o can’t use with infants, animals, and some people who have mental  problems

o different results with different researchers  

o who do the results apply to?

- contribution to psychology: rigor in research Don't forget about the age old question of stero vital

Modern Cognitive Psychology

- factors that lead to the rise of modern psychology We also discuss several other topics like psychology 101 lecture notes

o disenchantment with behaviorism

o Chomsky’s attack on Skinner’s verbal behaviorism

o growing popularity for Piaget’s cognitive development theory o computer and information theory

- Alan Turing’s theoretical work led to using the computer as a model of the  human mind

o information processing approach

o parallel distributed processing approach  

Cognitive Neuroscience

- brain imaging (CT, PET, MRI, fMRI)

o fMRI is used more than PET because it does not require radioactive  injections and can measure activity over shorter durations (temporal  resolution) and smaller areas (spatial resolution)

- monitoring brain activity (EEG and ERP)

o ERP signals are averaged to reduce background noise  

CHATPER TWO – Perceptual Processes I

∙ perception – use of previous knowledge to gather and interpret the stimuli  registered by our senses  

∙ object/pattern recognition – identification of a complex arrangement of  sensory stimuli

∙ distal stimulus – the actual object (in object/pattern recognition) ∙ proximal stimulus – information registered is in our sensory receptors (in  object/pattern recognition)

∙ bling spot – area where the optic nerve exits the eye

∙ contrast effects – enhancement of perceived differences between objects  next to one another

∙ saccades – ballistic eye movement

∙ gestalt psychology – the approach that emphasizes that the “whole is  more/different than the sum of its parts” If you want to learn more check out aldononose

∙ figure-ground – we organize two areas sharing a common boundary into  figure and ground

∙ vase-faces effect – ambiguous figure-ground relationship  

∙ illusory contours – figures in which we see edges even though they are not  physically present  

∙ distinctive feature – a characteristic or component of a stimulus ∙ feature detector – a neuron that responds selectively to a specific stimulus  ∙ geons – 3D shapes

∙ bottom-up processing – cognitive processing that emphasize the information  obtained from physical stimuli (data-driven processing)

∙ top-down processing – cognitive processing that emphasizes the influence of  concepts, expectation, and memory

∙ word superiority effect – a single letter can be identified more accurately and  rapidly when it appears in a word than when it appears along or in a word  string of unrelated letters

∙ proofreader’s illusion – proofreader overlooking spelling errors because of the  difficulty suppressing higher level processing (know what should be there,  and so sees it)

∙ ambiguous figures – the same pattern on the retina changes with longer  viewing  We also discuss several other topics like fluid volume excess labs

∙ overlap – objects behind other objects are perceived as being further away (a  monocular cue)

∙ linear perspective – parallel lines appear to converge in the distance (a  monocular cue)

∙ aerial perspective – nearby objects are brighter and shaper than distant  objects (a monocular cue)

∙ relative size – objects appear smaller the further away they are (a monocular  cue)

∙ shadows – we are set to see shadows from overhead light (a monocular cue) ∙ differential inversion effect – greater difficulty in recognizing unusual features in an inverted image of human faces

∙ preferential looking method – if an infant consistently looks longer at one  stimulus or feature than another, then the infant is discriminating between  the two

∙ physiognomy – pseudoscience of judging personality from the features of the  face

∙ agnosia – impairment of the ability to recognize or identify familiar objects,  entities, or people

∙ prosopagnosia – impaired ability to recognize once familiar faces (usually can  identify a face as a face, cannot identify the person)


- we are not blind in our blind spots because the visual system fills it in - visual neurons react as if illusory contours are really there

- saccades occur every 1 to 3 seconds  

o function: put together scenes from movements  

o blur during saccades is suppressed during reading  

- blinking

o during reading, we blink when we move to the next line or turn the  page

o we don’t notice that we blink because the brain actively suppresses  visual processing

Theories of Recognition

- template-matching (“cookie-cutter”) theory states that we compare a  stimulus with templates

o template is a specific pattern stored in memory  

o stimulus is the cookie, template is the cookie cutter

o problem: we need an astronomical number of templates; this theory is  least likely to be correct

- feature-analysis theory states that a visual stimulus is composed of a number of distinctive features

o supported by David Hubel and Tortsen Wiesel’s feature detector  research

o problems: a list of features along does not describe an object and  important features of complex objects can be difficult to specify - recognition-by-components theory developed by Biederman states that  objects are presented by arrangements of simple 3D shapes (24 geons) o it is similar to language because 24 geons exist and can be put  together to produce a huge number of objects

o advantages: it is a simple theory, and can recognize objects from many viewpoints or even if they are partially covered  

o problem: can take longer from some viewpoints and it might not be  able to explain how we easily recognize many objects in a complex  scene

 viewer-centered approach – we store a small number of 3D  


Cognitive Processing

- feature-analysis theory and recognition-by-components theory have trouble  explaining top-down processing  

- information already stored through top-down processing influences  perception (reading, word superiority effect, proofreader’s illusion, and  ambiguous figures)

Monocular Cues  

- require only one eye for depth perception

- with the exception of parallel distributed processing, both bottom-up and top down processing are used in object recognition

Face Perception

- the earliest age at which face preference has been found was 53 minutes old - 5 to 7 week-old infants focus on eyes (especially eyes focused straight  ahead)

- one study found that babies between 4 to 6 months can recognize familiar  faces, differentiate expressions, and even prefer looking at mother’s face or  attractive faces (thus they aren’t just attracted to top-heavy pictures)

- adults find babies’ short bodies and limbs, bulging craniums, eyes relatively  bigger, and nose relatively smaller attractive


- Francis Galton casted doubt on the validity of physiognomy by use of  composite photography which combines images of faces to produce a face  that is their “average”

o the more faces averaged, the better looking the face is rated - generally, the most averaged face is attractive  

- we prefer mirror image pictures of ourselves but direct pictures of others  - the inferotemporal hemisphere is involved with agnosia/prosopagnosia  


∙ attention – a concentration of mental activity  

∙ divided attention – attending to two or more simultaneous messages and  responding to them as needed  

∙ selective attention – focuses on certain forms of information while ignoring  other sources of information  

∙ cocktail party effect – when paying attention to one conversation, person  often notices if his or her name is mentioned in a nearby conversation  ∙ Stroop effect – delay in naming the color of the ink of a word if the word name is the name of the color that doesn’t match the ink’s color  

∙ emotional Stroop effect – people with phobias name the color of ink of words  related to their fear slow than for non-phobic words and slow than people not  suffering from that phobia  

∙ isolated-feature / combined-feature effect – if a target differs from distractors  on one simple feature, it is easy to detect among distractors as it is among  only few distractors; if a target has a combination of two properties, and  some of the distractors have one of the properties and other distractors the  other property, the task becomes more difficult with more distractors  

∙ feature-present / feature-absent effect – a search is faster when looking for a  feature that is present than for one that is absent  

∙ automatic processing – used on easy tasks and on tasks that use highly  familiar items  

∙ parallel processing – can handle two or more items at the same time ∙ controlled processing – used with difficult tasks or tasks using unfamiliar  items  

∙ serial processing – can handle only one item at a time  

∙ illusory conjunction – an inappropriate combination of all features  Attention

- the main function of attention is efficiency  

- with practice, we can improve some divided attention tasks (as demonstrated with college students simultaneously reading stories and taking dictation) - selective attention was tested with the dichotic listening task o results: showed we unconsciously shadow a message from one ear to  the other, and the unshadowed message influences interpretation of  the shadowed message  

Stroop Effect

- the stroop effect occurs with obscene words

- older adults do worse than younger adults on the Stroop task  - people with schizophrenia do worse than people without schizophrenia  - can do better on the stroop task with practice  

- the stroop effect may be explained by the parallel distributed processing  theory or that we can better at reading than naming colors  

Visual Search  

- searching for a target among distractors (isolated-feature effect and feature present effect)

Theories of Attention

- bottleneck theories propose a narrow passageway limits the quantity of  information to which people can pay attention

- early filter theory suggests that some information is blocked from high-level  processing  

o problem: cannot explain how we notice name in unshadowed ear - later filter theory suggests that all information is processed at a high level o problem: cannot explain why we don’t consciously know about  information in unshadowed ear  

Automatic Processing  

- parallel processing is used with easy or well-learned tasks

- controlled processing requires conscious attention and uses serial processing  - feature-integration theory (Triesman) states that there are distributed  attention (less affected by fatigue and alcohol) and focused attention (used  for complex tasks)

o explains the isolated-feature/combined feature effect and feature present / feature-absent effect

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