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BROWN U / CLPS / CLP 0200 / What is hardware in human cognition?

What is hardware in human cognition?

What is hardware in human cognition?


School: Brown University
Department: CLPS
Course: Human Cognition
Professor: Joseph austerweil
Term: Spring 2016
Tags: cognition, Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, and short term memory
Cost: 50
Name: CLPS 200 Human Cognition Midterm Study Guide
Description: This study guide covers the information that might appear on the midterm exam.
Uploaded: 02/28/2020
9 Pages 16 Views 8 Unlocks

CLPS 200: Human Cognition 

What is hardware in human cognition?

Midterm Study Guide 


● Definition: all of the mental processes involved between receiving perceptual input and responding

○ Mental processes: Thinking, knowledge, remembering

● Hardware vs. Software Approach

○ Hardware: the brain

■ Neurons & their connections

○ Software: the mind (functionality)

■ Higher-level analysis

● Storage vs. Operations/Algorithms

○ Storage: the systems we have to maintain information

■ the “format” in which the information is in the storage system

■ the amount of time information is retained in our storage system

What is software in human cognition?

■ under what circumstances information is retained in our storage system

○ Operations/Algorithms: step-by-step process that describes what happens to information ■ changes between input & output

Visual Information Processing 


● Visual information goes to occipital lobe then to the posterior parietal lobe (“where” system) and inferotemporal cortex (“what” system) We also discuss several other topics like Aortic valve sounds refer to what?

● Step-by-step process: Visual input hits cornea → our lens inverts the image → hits receptors in the back of the cornea → sends information to the brain

○ Visual information from left visual field → right hemisphere

○ Visual information from right visual field → left hemisphere

What is storage in human cognition?

Don't forget about the age old question of A sole proprietorship means what?

● Iconic Storage (Sensory Memory)

○ Visual short-term memory

○ 200-500ms

Gestalt Psychology 

● We have a tendency to group certain things together based on their properties ● Law of proximity: objects near each other tend to be grouped together

● Principle of similarity: items that are similar to one another are grouped together ● Law of continuity: human eye will follow the smoothest path of lines

● Principle of closure: we fill in missing information between gaps/lines in order to create familiar shapes/images Don't forget about the age old question of What is a hematocrit?

● Law of Pragnänz: we parse things in the most simple & organized ways

“Span of Apprehension” (Sperling, 1960) 

● We cannot recall all letters that are briefly presented to us

○ Wanted to figure out if this is due to time

● Briefly presented subjects with 12 letters organized in 3 rows and used different pitched tones to indicate which row they had to report back

● Results: subjects were able to report nearly 100% of the letters in the cued row

● Suggests: all information is available/retained for some period of time, but the longer we wait to report them, the less that is retained (more decay)

○ “Iconic Store”

Iconic Storage (Sensory Memory) 

● Spatial & structural coding of visual information

● Precategorical → no coding for the meaning of stimuli

● Parallel entry into storage

○ Everything is initially processed but not thoroughly

● Forgetting due to decay

○ Lasts about ~500 ms

● Can be erased by subsequent visual input We also discuss several other topics like What is the definition of stenosis?

○ The next thing occupies the resources of Iconic Storage resulting in

replacement/forgetting of the previous information

Identifying Letters/Words 

● Step-by-step process in identifying single letter

○ Occipital lobe: identifies basic features (lines)

○ Inferotemporal cortex: organizes basic features into whole things

○ Wernicke’s Area: label is attached

● Identifying strings of letters

○ Word superiority effect: easiest to report letters when they form a word rather than when a letter is presented on its own or within a string of letters that do not form a word ○ Why? → we identify them as meaningful wholes rather than 4 separate letters ■ Top-down processing: prior knowledge/experience helps form expectations of what you will see → words have meanings so we encode it easier We also discuss several other topics like Who explores the louisiana purchase lands?
Don't forget about the age old question of What is a veneer?

● The higher the approximation to English, the better people are reporting the letters from a brief presentation

○ We have spelling redundancies in English that allow us to predict & speed up our ability to decode

Object Recognition 

● Recognition-by-Components Model: We approach object identification in a bottom-up manner in which we first identify the basic features and shapes (‘geons’) that make up the object, then we achieve object representation by putting the features together

○ Step-by-step: identifications of lines/curves → simple shapes (‘geons’) → combining geons → activate object representation → attachment of the label

○ It is the relative arrangement of the components that allow us to recognize objects ● Biederman’s Experiment for the RBC Model

○ Model Assumption: different arrangements of the same components make different objects; the difference in the way in which these components are organized lead us to interpret the object differently

○ Hypothesized: only 2-3 geons are sufficient for identification of objects

○ Briefly presented subjects with 3D drawings of objects → varied the # of geons presented

○ Results: identification is pretty accurate even without all of the geons present ■ The more geons missing → the longer it takes to identify an object

● Bottom-up processing: We take basic building blocks & organize them into wholes

● Top-down processing: we bring outside knowledge which leads us to expect certain properties to appear in certain settings

Auditory Information Processing 

Characteristics of Sound 

● Amplitude: intensity/loudness (height of the wave)

● Period: amount of time to complete 1 vibratory cycle (from peak to peak)

● Frequency: # of wave cycles completed in one second

● Vibration

○ Damped vibration: amplitude (loudness) decreases over time

○ Forced vibration: amplitude is constant

■ Speech is a forced vibration

Production of Speech 

● Places of articulation: where we choose to stop/constrict airflow when producing speech ○ Palatal → tongue hits the palate ([j])

○ Dental → tongue hits the back of your teeth

○ Bilabial → the two lips are the articulators ([p], [b], [m])

○ Labio-dental → lower lip and upper teeth ([f], [v])

○ These are only some examples, there are more

● Features of speech

○ Format patterns

○ Presence or absence of voicing (vibration)

○ Perception is categorical → we instantly categorize it as one or the other

● Phonemes → most basic speech unit; shortest meaningful segment of speech

Precategorical Acoustic Store (PAS) 

● Brief sensory memory for auditory stimuli

○ Echoic store: Lasts about 4 seconds (longer than iconic store)

● Attentional mechanisms decire what you transfer into a more permanent form ○ At the cost of not transferring other information


Bottleneck Problem & DLT 

● Bottleneck Problem: we cannot transfer all information out of temporary storage to more permanent storage due to limited capacity

○ We have to choose what we pay attention to (consciously or unconsciously) ○ This comes at a cost → other information is lost

● Dichotic listening tasks: participants listen to a different message through each ear and repeat only what they hear in one ear while ignoring the input from the other ear. Then they are asked to repeat what was said in the unattended channel

○ Semantic properties of the unattended message do not get through (i.e., meaning) ○ Physical properties of the message do get through (i.e., male/female; speech/music)

Filter Theory: Early vs Late Selection 

● Sometimes we do not notice things that are right in front of us...why?

○ Limits on perception → we literally do not see/hear the stimuli

○ Limits on memory → we do see the stimuli but immediately forget it

● Early selection hypothesis: we immediately direct all our attentional resources to the attended input and never perceive/analyze the unattended input

○ We select where to direct our attention to before the unattended input reaches a level of consciousness

○ E.g.: Broadbent’s Filter Theory

■ Our attentional system filters out large segments of input, we attach meaning later in the process

● Late selection hypothesis: we relatively analyze all inputs but select what to pay attention to before analysis is complete

○ All inputs briefly make it into consciousness but selection occurs so that only the attended input is consciously remembered

○ All sensory channels are processed but only one goes to awareness

○ E.g.: Treisman’s Attenuation Theory (“leaky filter”)

■ Items in the unattended channel have different thresholds of recognition based on its relevance/important to an individual

■ Lower thresholds of recognition (e.g. your name) → more likely this input will be processed

● Cocktail Party Phenomenon → some semantic information is perceived and processed ○ Means all sensory channels are processed but only one goes into awareness → evidence of late selection hypothesis

○ E.g., hearing someone say your name across a noisy room even if you weren’t paying attention to anything else they were saying

Other Attentional Phenomenon 

● Inattentional blindness: inability to process things we are not directly paying attention to, even if the stimulus is right in front of us

● Change blindness: inability to detect changes in scenes directly in front of us ○ We think we remember/notice more in our environments than we truly do

● Posner’s Cued Attention Experimental Paradigm

○ Hypothesized: knowledge of the location of a signal can affect the efficiency of processing signals that appear in that location

○ Subjects told to respond as soon as they saw the signal

■ Neutral cues

■ Specified location cues

○ Results: expectancies change efficiency of performance; inhibits our ability to allocate our attention to the broader periphery field; there is a cost associated with expectancies because we allocate our attentional resources to a specific location that might not be the correct one

■ Faster reactions times when stimulus appears in expected location

■ Slower reaction times when stimulus appears in unexpected location

● “Glue”: attention is the synthesis of separate features of a single stimulus/object ○ Mere spotlight on individual features does not integrate them together

● Visual search procedure: searching for a unique item in a display of distractors ○ If the target differs from the distractors on only one feature → easier detection ■ Parallel search: fast & independent on the # of distractors; happens when we don’t have to “glue” together multiple features of the target

○ If the target differs from the distractors on many features → harder detection

■ Serial search: slow & dependent on the # of distractors; we need to consider each individual feature to see if it matches the criteria

○ This is because when there are more differences, we have to pay attention to the conjunction of features

● “Object files”: temporary object representation created by combinations of the separable features of an object

Controlled vs. Automatic Processing 

● Controlled processing: identification occurs through a serial comparison of input to the characteristics of the target stimuli

○ Shifting attention from one individual item to another → more attentional resources needed in order to succeed

● Automatic processing: identification occurs through simultaneous comparison of possible stimuli ○ No need for conscious shifting of attention between individual items

○ The more experience we have with an event, the fewer attentional resources we need to allocate on the event to succeed

● Usually we engage in controlled processing, but with practice we can reduce attentional resources needed and become more automatic at the task.


Short-Term (Working) Memory 

● 3 Key Characteristics of STM

○ Encoding → is primarily acoustic & visual

○ Limited capacity → new information replaces old information

○ Limited duration → we are likely to forget the information without rehearsal ■ ~ 15-30 seconds

● “Magic Number”: how many items can we retain in immediate memory after a single presentation? → 7+/-2 (could be individual items or chunks)

○ “Chunking”: parsing items into chunks rather than remembering them individually will increase the amount of information we can retain (e.g. “562” instead of “5,6,2”) ○ Span of apprehension → # of stimuli we can simultaneously attend to (process at once) ○ Span of immediate memory → the # of items a person has the ability to remember ● Working memory is also involved in other cognitive tasks besides simple rehearsal & temporary storage

○ Cognitive Load Theory: Subjects do worse on reasoning & comprehension tasks when they have a large memory load → suggests WM is also involved in these tasks ○ WM correlates with every major assessment of intelligence in use today (such as measures of IQ)

■ If you can increase WM you can increase intelligence

Recency & Primacy Effects 

● Recency effect: recall is better for items at the end of a list

○ This is because these items are still in working memory

○ No new items are entering STM, so these items are not replaced

● Primacy effect: recall is better for items at the beginning of a list

○ This is because there was more rehearsal & items transferred into LTM

○ As more items are presented, each receives less & less attention/rehearsal

Rehearsal Buffer (Modal Model) (Atkinson & Shiffrin) 

● Sensory memory: brief store of sensory information kept in its original form ● Short-term memory: information kept in consciousness while you process it by rehearsing it ○ Items in short-term store can be “refreshed” through rehearsal and eventually transfer to LTM

○ The more times you rehearse an item, the more likely it will transfer to LTM ○ There is a limited capacity of STS (7+/-2), so when new items come in they replace information that was currently in STS

○ If an item does not receive any rehearsal, it will decay from short term store and be forgotten (never transfer to LTM)

● Long-term memory: storing information in more semantically related ways (more permanent storage)

Working Memory Model (Baddeley) 

● Separate WM systems for the 2 kinds of information

○ auditory/verbal & visual/spatial

● We maintain information in WM through phonological loop & visual image refreshing ● Central executive: allocates resources and controls the flow of information from/to the “slave” systems (these systems are short-term storage systems)

○ Phonological loop → rehearsal strategy for verbal information

○ Visual image refreshing → refreshing visuo-spatial data (i.e. visual image) in our mind ○ Episodic buffer → integration of information from WM & LTM

● There are different kinds of LTM

○ Visual semantics

○ Episodic LTM

○ Language

● Two kinds of rehearsals can transfer information from STM to LTM

○ Maintenance/rehearsal → simply repeating the input over & over again

○ Elaborative→ Involves meaningful connections to be made between items being rehearsed & items in LTM (easier for later retrieval)

Encoding & Retrieval 

● The deeper the processing, the more likely you will encode information (e.g. “pleasant” vs “does it have a letter e?”

● Thinking about the relationships between the item and other information in LTM will help to retain the new information & transfer it to LTM

○ Retrieval will be better/quicker if you form meaningful connections when learning the new information

● State Dependent Learning: Retrieval is better/more accurate when you are in the same mental or physical environment as you were in when you were encoding/learning the information ○ Suggests that we learn about the context in which information is presented/learned ● Recall vs recognition

○ Recall: remembering information without any prompting (not a lot of context given) ■ E.g. free recall tasks → write down all the words you remember

○ Recognition: being presented with information & determining if you’ve seen it before ■ E.g. recognition tasks → was this word on the study list?

● Intentional vs incidental processing

○ Intentional: you know you will be tested on the information

○ Incidental: making connections between the learned material and old information will allow for better retrieval even though you were unaware that you would have to recall the information later on

● Interference: the more similar items are, the more difficult it will be to recall them individually ○ The amount of time you have to process incoming information

● Amnesia

○ Retrograde Amnesia: loss of memory for events before the accident

○ Anterograde amnesia: loss of memory for events after the accident

■ Inability to acquire new semantic & episodic information and encode it into LTM ■ E.g. Patient HM → cannot explicitly remember some events but evidence that his implicit memory is still working

○ Is failure of LTM due to problems with encoding or retrieval?

■ Implicit & procedural memory seem to be intact → means that some information is getting through to LTM but is not consciously remembered/retrieved

Parallel vs Serial Exhaustive Comparison 

● Memory Scanning Task

○ Present subjects with a set of items to remember. After a brief delay they are presented with a test digit & they must decide whether the digit was part of the memory set or not. ○ What affects the speed at which subjects decide whether or not the test digit was in the memory set?

■ Stimulus quality → the less visually clear, longer it takes to identify

■ Memory set size → more items in WM, longer comparison times

■ Response type → faster at processing positives (“yes”) than negatives (“no”) ■ Frequency of response type → giving subjects an expectation that one key will be more prevalent than the other affects the speed at which the press the button ● Parallel Comparison Process

○ Test stimulus is compared to each item from the memory set simultaneously ○ This means that set size does not matter & shouldn’t affect response time

■ RT should be the same for all set sizes on both positive & negative trials because there is only one comparison being done

○ We expect positive to be faster than negative, on average

● Serial Exhaustive Process

○ Test stimulus is compared to each item from the memory set individually

○ Every set item is examined even if a match is found before comparing all items on the list → means response time will increase as set size increases

○ We expect positive & negative response times to be the same

● Serial Self-Terminating Process

○ Test stimulus is compared to each item from the memory set individually but stops once a match is found

○ On average, the # of comparisons that will be made on positive trials will be (S+1)/2 (where S= set size)

○ RT will increase as set size increases

○ We expect positive response times to be faster than negative response times ● Sternberg’s Data → supports serial exhaustive process!!

○ RT increases as set size increases

○ Positive and negative response time slopes are identical

Implicit Memory 

● Implicit memory: memory without awareness; can influence our behavior without our consciousness

○ Explicit memory: memory with awareness; conscious recollection of past events ○ E.g., stem completion task

● Mere Exposure Effect: exposure to stimuli makes it seem more preferable to subjects even if they don’t explicitly recall seeing them in the past

○ E.g.: “How to Become Famous Overnight” Study (Jacoby, 1989)

■ Subjects were more likely to rate names as more “famous” if they had previously seen them on the memory set list

● Theories of Implicit Memory

○ Theory 1: separate memory systems (Schacter, Tulving)

■ Implicit memory is based on perceptual representations (like iconic memory) ■ Explicit memory is based on episodic system (analyzes meaning)

○ Theory 2: a single system (Roediger)

■ Implicit & explicit memory tasks impose different processing requirements but form a part of a single system

■ Implicit → perceptually driven

■ Explicit → conceptually driven

○ Theory 3: automatic vs declarative (Jacoby)

■ Implicit memory → automatic processes (procedural)

■ Explicit memory → declarative processes (conscious awareness)


● Definition: previous exposure to certain information makes is more accessible for later use ● Repetition priming: the same exact stimulus appears the second time around ● Lexical priming: changing the perceptual appearance of the same stimulus

○ E.g., seeing “dog” in small blue font & then seeing it again in large green font ● Associative priming: being asked to generate an associative to the stimulus will make later identification quicker

○ E.g., shown the word “doctor” & you generate “nurse”, you will be quicker at identifying “nurse” when it appears

● Semantic priming: makes perception & classification of related items much easier/quicker without necessarily explicitly generating an associate

○ E.g., seeing “doctor” implicitly activates representation of “nurse” so when you see “nurse” you are quicker at identifying it

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