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Psych 108 Final Study Guide

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by: Niki Notetaker

Psych 108 Final Study Guide Psych 108

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This is a final exam study guide based off the required readings. It includes very detailed information from each chapter that was covered during this course (including midterm material. If you hav...
Cognitive Psychology
Study Guide
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"If Niki isn't already a tutor, they should be. Haven't had any of this stuff explained to me as clearly as this was. I appreciate the help!"
Janae O'Hara DVM

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This 45 page Study Guide was uploaded by Niki Notetaker on Saturday November 28, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to Psych 108 at a university taught by Schooler in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 270 views.


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If Niki isn't already a tutor, they should be. Haven't had any of this stuff explained to me as clearly as this was. I appreciate the help!

-Janae O'Hara DVM


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Date Created: 11/28/15
PSYCH 108 FINAL STUDY GUIDE Chapter 1: • As you think about cognitive tasks, you’re engaging in another cognitive task called metacognition, you were thinking about your thought processes • Cognition, or mental activity, describes acquisition, storage, transformation and use of knowledge • Cognitive approach is a theoretical orientation that emphasizes people’s thought processes and their knowledge (Ex. Cognitive explanation of ethnic stereotypes emphasizes topics like influence of these stereotypes on the judgments we make about ppl from diff. ethnic groups • Aristotle emphasized importance of empirical evidence, or scientific evidence obtained by careful observation/experimentation • Aristotle = first cognitive psychologist but psychology as a discipline emerged in late 80s • Wilhelm Wundt should be considered founder of psych (structuralism) • Wundt said psych should study mental processes, using a technique called introspection (carefully trained observers would systematically analyze their own sensations and report them as objectively as possible, under standardized conditions); Ex: observers asked to objectively report their reactions to specific musical chord, w/o relying on previous knowledge • German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus = 1 person to scientifically study human memory; examined variety of factors that might influence performance (amount of time btwn 2 presentations of a list of items); he chose nonsense syllables (DAX) and reduced ppl’s previous experience w/ material • Mary Calkins reported a memory phenomenon called recency effect (observation that our recall is especially accurate for the final items in a series of stimuli) • She was the 1 woman to be president of the American Psych. Association • William James preferred to theorize about our everyday psychological experiences; he published Principles of Psychology à human mind = active + inquiring • According to principles of behaviorism, psych must focus on objective, observable reactions to stimuli in the environment, rather than introspection; most prominent behaviorist was U.S. psychologist John B. Watson • Watson and other behaviorists emphasized observable behavior and studied animals; they argue that researchers can’t objectively study mental representations (image, idea, thought) • Behaviorists emphasized importance of operational definition (precise definition that specifies exactly how a concept is to be measured); they value carefully controlled research th • Important development in Europe in 20 century = Gestalt psychology (we have basic tendencies to actively organize what we see; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts) • Ex: oval w/ 2 straight lines appears as a human face bc it has unity/organization; it has gestalt, or overall quality that transcends the individual elements (oval + 2 lines) • Gestalt psychologists value unity of psychological phenomena and object to Wundt’s introspective technique of analyzing experience into separate components • Opposed to behaviorists’ emphasis of breaking behavior into observable stimulus- response units and ignoring context of behavior; they believe certain components of a pattern seem to belong together • They value insight in problem solving; parts of problem initially seem unrelated, but parts begin to fit together into a solution; early research in problem solving = gestalt • Frederic Bartlett (British psychologist) has book Remembering: An Experimental and Social Study à most influential books in history of cognitive psych • He rejected carefully controlled research of Ebbinghaus and used lengthy stories • Discovered that ppl made systematic errors when trying to recall lengthy stories; proposed that human memory = active, constructive process, in which we interpret/transform info we encounter • We search for meaning, trying to integrate new info so that it’s consistent w/ our own personal experiences • Linguist Noam Chomsky emphasized structure of language = too complex to be explained in behaviorist terms; argued that humans have inborn ability to master all complicated/varied aspects of language à contradicted behaviorist approach (language acquisition can be entirely explained by same kind of learning principles that apply to lab animals) • Jean Piaget said children actively explore their world in order to understand important concepts; children’s cognitive strategies change as they mature, and adolescents use sophisticated strategies in order to conduct experiments about scientific principles • Information-processing approach argued that (a) our mental processes are similar to operations of a comp (b) info progresses through our cognitive system in a series of stages one step at a time • Atkinson-Shiffrin model proposed that memory involves a sequence of separate steps; in each step, info is transferred from one storage area to another • External stimuli from the environment first enter sensory memory (storage system that records info from each of the senses w/ reasonable accuracy) • Info is stored in sensory memory for 2 secs or less, and then most is forgotten • Model proposes that some material from sensory memory à short-term memory • Short-term memory (working memory) holds only small amount of info that you are actively using; memories here are fragile but not as fragile as in sensory memory; these memories can be lost within about 30 seconds, unless repeated • Only fraction of info in short-term memory à long-term memory • Long-term memory has unlimited capacity bc contains memories that are decades old + memories of events that occurred several minutes ago; info stored here is relatively permanent, compared to info in short-term/working memory • Cognitive psych has critics; one common complaint concerns issue of ecological validity; studies are high in ecological validity if conditions in which research is conducted are similar to natural setting where results will be applied • In contrast, an experiment involving participants memorizing list of unrelated English words, presented at 5-sec intervals on white screen w/ ½ of ppl told to create vivid mental image of each word and other ½ receiving no instructions à carefully controlled experiment • This task is low in ecological validity bc can’t be applied to way ppl learn in real world • Cognitive neuroscience combines the research techniques of cognitive psych w/ various methods for assessing the structure/function of the brain • Psychologists use neuroscience techniques to explore kind of cognitive processes that we use in our interactions w/ other ppl, a new discipline called social cognitive science • Ex. researchers identified variety of brain structures that are active when ppl look at a photograph of a face and judge whether person is trustworthy • Brain lesions refers to destruction of an area in the brain, most often by strokes, tumors, blows to the head, and accidents • Study of brain lesions helps understand organization of brain but results = hard to interpret; lesion not limited to just one area so researchers can’t associate cognitive deficit w/ specific brain structure • Brain-imaging techniques measure brain activity indirectly: by measuring certain properties of blood in diff brain regions while ppl perform cognitive task, we can determine which brain regions are responsible for that cognitive task • In a PET scan, researchers measure blood flow in brain by injecting participant w/ low dose of radioactive chemical just before this person works on a cognitive task • Chemical travels through bloodstream to parts of brain that are activated during tasks and special camera takes image of accumulated radioactive chemical in various regions of brain while task is performed • PET scans are used less often bc expensive and expose ppl to radioactive chemicals; method isn’t precise bc if activity of brain increases/decreases, average of activity level is recorded • fMRIs don’t use radioactive material and is based on principle that oxygen-rich blood is an index of brain activity; participant has large round-shaped magnet around their head and this magnetic field produces changes in oxygen atoms; scanning device takes photo of oxygen atoms while cognitive task is performed • fMRI method used to examine regions of brain that processes visual info; MRI is used in medical settings • fMRI preferable to a PET scan bc less invasive, w/ no injections and no radioactive material; can measure brain activity that occurs quickly in about 1 sec • More precise than PET in identifying exact time sequence of cognitive tasks; can detect subtle differences in way brain processes language (Ex. A child vs. The child) • Neither PET or fMRIS can tell us what a person is thinking • Event-related potential (ERP) technique records very brief fluctuations in brain’s electrical activity, in response to a stimulus such as an auditory tone • Electrodes placed on scalp, and each records electrical activity generated by group of neurons underneath skull; it can’t identify response of a single neuron but can identify electrical changes over very brief period in specific region of brain • Provides reasonably precise picture about changes in brain’s electrical potential while ppl perform a cognitive task • Ex. mouth movement study: your brain would respond more dramatically when you watch a mouth open than when you watch it close bc mouth opening movement signals that a person is about to say something and you need to be attentive • Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science and seeks to explore human cognitive processes by creating computer models that show “intelligent behavior” and also accomplish same tasks that humans do • Researchers have tried to explain how humans recognize a face, create a mental image, and other cognitive accomplishments • Computer metaphor states that our cognitive processes work like a comp, a complex/multipurpose machine that processes info quickly/accurately • Both humans and comps can compare symbols and can make choices according to results of comparison; computers have processing mechanism w/ limited capacity and humans have limited attention capacity • Thagard suggests that comp model resembles recipe in cooking; recipe has 2 parts: 1. Ingredients that are like structures and 2. The cooking instructions for working w/ those ingredients, which are like the processes • Researchers who favor comp approach try to design appropriate software • The comp can’t duplicate human cognitive processes; no AI system can speak or understand language as well as humans bc our background knowledge is extensive; we are more concerned with emotions while computers are concerned w/ objectives/goals of something like a game • Pure AI is an approach that designs a program to accomplish a cognitive task as efficiently as possible, even if the computer’s processes are completely diff. from the processes used by humans (Ex. high-powered computer games for chess will evaluate as many potential moves as possible in as little time as possible) • Computer simulation (computer modeling) attempts to take human limitations into account; goal is to program a comp to perform a specific cognitive task the same way that humans actually perform this task; must produce same number of errors/correct responses that a human produces • Carpenter & Just created a classic computer-simulation model for reading sentences: based on assumption that humans have limited capacity to process info and will read a difficult section of a sentence more slowly • Connectionist approach argues that cognitive processes can be understood in terms of networks that link together neuron-like units; many operations can proceed simultaneously, rather than one step at a time; human cognition is often parallel/not strictly linear • Two names used interchangeably w/ connectionism are parallel distributed processing (PDP) approach and neural-network approach • Connectionist approach useful for explaining why we can perform some cognitive tasks very quickly/accurately • Cerebral cortex is outer layer of brain that is essential for your cognitive processes; numerous connections among neurons, a pattern that resembles many elaborate networks • This network pattern suggests than an item stored in your brain can’t be localized in a specific pinpoint-sized location of your cortex; neural activity for that item is distributed throughout section of brain • “Parallel distributed processing” captures distributed characteristic of neurons in brain • Like the brain, the model includes simplified neuron-like units, numerous interconnections, and neural activity distributed throughout the system • This classical approach viewed processing as a series of separate operations (processing would be serial) • Serial processing involves the system completing one step before it can proceed to next step in flowchart • This one-step-at-a-time approach may capture the leisurely series of operations you conduct when you’re thinking about every step in the process (Ex. classical AI model good when solving long-division problem) • AI models can’t explain how you instantly perceive a visual scene • Many cognitive activities seem to use parallel processing (w/ numerous signals handled at the same time) rather than serial processing • On these tasks, processing seems to be both parallel and distributed, explaining the origin of one label for this theory, the parallel distributed processing approach • Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field that tries to answer questions about the mind; includes 3 disciplines: cognitive psychology, neuroscience, AI; also includes philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, and economics • Scientists say thinking requires us to manipulate our internal representations of the external world and they focus on these internal representations (behaviorists focused only on observable stimuli and responses from external world) Chapter 2: • During object recognition or pattern recognition, you identify a complex arrangement of sensory stimuli, and you perceive that this pattern is separate from its background • When you recognize an object, your sensory processes transform and organize the raw info provided by your sensory receptors; can compare the sensory stimuli w/ info in other memory storage • The distal stimulus is the actual object that is “out there” in the environment (pen on your desk) • The proximal stimulus is the info registered on your sensory receptors (image that your pen creates on your retina) • When we recognize an object, we manage to figure out the identity of the distal stimulus, even when the info available in proximal stimulus is far from perfect • Iconic memory or visual sensory memory preserves an image of a visual stimulus for a brief period after the stimulus has disappeared • Visual info that’s registered on the retina (proximal stimulus) must go through visual pathway • Primary visual cortex is the 1 place where info from your 2 eyes is combined • 30 additional areas of the cortex play a role in visual perception; these regions beyond the primary visual cortex are activated when we recognize complex objects • Gestalt psychology states that humans have basic tendencies to organize what they see; we see patterns instead of random arrangements • When 2 areas share common boundary, the figure has a distinct shape w/ defined edges; the ground is the region that’s “left over”, forming the background; figure has definite shape, and ground continues behind figure • Ambiguous figure-ground relationship: figure and ground reverse from time to time, so that figure becomes ground and then becomes figure again • We’re used to certainty of figure-ground relationship that we’re surprised when we see a situation where figure and ground exchange places • Reason for figure-ground reversals: 1. Neurons in visual cortex become adapted to one figure, so you’re more likely to see alternative version 2. Ppl try to solve visual paradox by alternating btwn 2 reasonable solutions • Illusory contours (subjective contours): we see edges even though they’re not physically present in stimulus • Your visual system compares a stimulus w/ a set of templates, or specific patterns that you have stored in your memory; then it notes which template matches the stimulus • Perception requires a more flexible system than matching a pattern against a specific template • Feature-analysis theories propose a relatively flexible approach, in which a visual stimulus is composed of a small number of characteristics/components • Each visual characteristic is called a distinctive feature; theorists argue that we store a list of distinctive features for each letter in the alphabet • Ex. distinctive features for letter R include curved component, vertical and diagonal line • The feature-analysis theories propose that the distinctive features for each of the alphabet letters remain constant, whether the letter is handwritten, printed, or typed • Research by Eleanor Gibson: ppl require a relatively long time to decide whether one letter is diff. from a 2 letter when those 2 letters share a large # of critical features • Ex. P and R share critical features so participants had hard time contrasting them, unlike the letters O and L which don’t share any critical features • The feature-analysis theories were constructed to explain the relatively simple recognition of letters, but the shapes that occur in nature are much more complex • Horses/other objects in environment contain too many lines/curved segments and recognizing these objects is far more complex than recognizing letters • Recognition-by-components theory states that a specific view of an object can be represented as an arrangement of simple 3-D shapes called geons • Just as letters of alphabet can be combined into words, geons can be combined to form meaningful objects • Ex. a cup is diff. from a pail, and the recognition-by-components theory emphasizes the specific way in which these 2 geons are combined • Arrangement of 3 geons gives ppl enough info to classify an object; Biederman’s recognition-by-components theory is essentially a feature-analysis theory that explains how we recognize 3-D objects • Computer-modeling research suggests that young children may initially represent each object as an undifferentiated complex object; older children/adults can represent an object as a collection of geons • A modified recognition-by-components theory is called viewer-centered approach (proposes that we store a small number of views of 3D objects rather than just one view) • Ex. if we see an object from an unusual angle and it doesn’t match any object stored in memory, we mentally rotate image of object until it matches one of the views stored in memory • Bottom-up processing emphasizes that stimulus characteristics are important when you recognize an object; this info is passed on to higher levels in perceptual system • Info starts w/ most basic (bottom) level of perception and works its way up to reach more sophisticated “cognitive” regions of your brain beyond primary visual cortex • The 2nd process in object recognition is top-down processing (emphasizes how a person’s concepts, expectations and memory can influence object recognition • Your expectations at the higher (top) level will work their way down/guide our early processing of visual stimulus • This is strong when a stimulus is registered for just a fraction of a second; it’s also strong when stimuli are incomplete or ambiguous • Ex. you recognize a coffee cup bc two simultaneous processes: 1. Bottom-up processing forces you to register the component features (curve of cup’s handle) 2. Context of a coffee shop encourages you to recognize the handle on the cup more quickly bc of top- down processing • An ambiguous letter can be perceived as an H or an A; you identify the word “THE” and your background knowledge of the word helped you identify 2 letter as H • Word superiority effect: we can identify a single letter more accurately/rapidly when it appears in a meaningful word than when it appears alone by itself/in a meaningless string of unrelated letters • Ex. you recognize letter p more easily in word plan than in a nonword like pnla • Top-down suggests that s is recognized in word island even though s is silent • Context of a sentence facilitates recognition of a word in a sentence • The features of a stimulus are important bc word recognition = bottom-up • The context is important bc word recognition operates partly in a top-down fashion • Bc we overuse top-down processing, we sometimes demonstrate change blindness (failure to detect a change in an object or a scene) • Overusing top-down processing can also lead us to demonstrate a 2 mistake, called inattentional blindness; when we are paying attention to some events in a scene, we may fail to notice when an unexpected but completely visible object suddenly appears • Ex. When Daniel Simons and Daniel Levin tried the stranger-and-the-door study, only ½ of bystanders reported that one stranger had been replaced by a diff. stranger • When perceiving an entire scene, our top-down processing encourages us to assume that basic meaning of the scene will remain stable • Ppl quickly identify the change of a photo if it is slightly diff than the previous photo, only if the change is important • When an object appears that is not consistent w/ their concepts, expectations and memory, ppl fail to recognize this changed object (changed blindness) or new object (inattentional blindness) • Many of the visual stimuli that ppl fail to see aren’t high in ecological validity • Studies are high in ecological validity if the conditions in which the research is conducted are similar to the natural setting where the results will be applied • Young infants track the movement of a photographed human face more than any other similar stimuli • Tanaka and Farah found that participants were significantly more accurate in recognizing a facial feature when it appeared within the whole context of a face rather than in isolation • We recognize faces on a holistic basis, in terms of their overall shape/structure; we perceive a face in terms of its gestalt/overall quality that transcends its individual elements • Ppl w/ prosopagnosia can’t recognize human faces visually, but can perceive other objects normally (coffee cup, sweater, chair) • Ppl w/ prosopagnosia report that various parts of a person’s face (nose, mouth, eyes) seem independent of one another, instead of forming a unified/complete face • Location responsible for face recognition is the temporal cortex at side of your brain; specific location is known as the inferotemporal cortex, lower portion of temporal cortex • Ppl are more accurate in identifying upright faces compared to upside down faces (face- inversion effect) • Additional research confirms that ppl are much more accurate in identifying familiar faces than unfamiliar faces • Ppl w/ schizophrenia typically don’t show intense emotions, and they may hallucinate • Disordered thinking is an important facet for students studying cognitive psych, so students who are schizo perform poorly on cognitive tasks • They also have a hard time perceiving faces/facial expressions; individuals w/ schizo can identify facial emotion accurately as ppl in a control group, when the 2 groups are matched for age, gender, and intelligence, although individuals w/ schizo take longer to make these decisions • During speech perception, your auditory system must record the sound vibrations generated by someone talking; then the system must translate these vibrations into a sequence of sounds that you perceive to be speech • A phoneme is the basic unit of spoken language, like the sounds a, k, and th • Several important characteristics of speech perception: 1. Listeners can impose boundaries btwn words, even when words are not separated by silence 2. Phoneme pronunciation varies 3. Context allows listeners to fill in some missing sounds 4. Visual cues from the speaker’s mouth help us interpret ambiguous sounds • Our speech recognition system considers several diff. hypotheses about how to divide a phrase into words rd • A 3 source of variability is called coarticulation (when you’re pronouncing a particular phoneme, your mouth remains in somewhat the same shape it was when you pronounced the previous phoneme); your mouth is also preparing to pronounce the next phoneme • Phonemic restoration: ppl can fill in a missing phoneme, using contextual meaning as a cue (happens when a loud noise masks a phoneme) • Our ability to perceive a word based on context allows us to overcome a speaker’s sloppy pronunciations • Top-down processing approach argues that we use our knowledge about language to facilitate recognition, whether we’re looking at objects/listening to speech • Researchers say that we do integrate visual cues w/ auditory cues during speech perception, even if we don’t recognize the usefulness of these visual cues • The McGurk effect refers to the influence of visual info on speech perception, when individuals must integrate both visual/auditory info • The region in the cerebral cortex that gives rise to the McGurk effect = superior temporal sulcus • The special mechanism approach (speech-is-special approach) states that humans are born w/ a specialized device that allows us to decode speech stimuli; we process speech sounds more quickly/accurately than other auditory stimuli (instrumental music) • Supporters of special mechanism approach argue that humans possess a phonetic module (speech module), a special-purpose neural mechanism that specifically processes all aspects of speech perception; can’t handle other kinds of auditory perception • Researchers asked ppl to listen to a series of ambiguous sounds, such as sound halfway btwn b and p; ppl who heard these sounds showed categorical perception; they either heard a clear-cut b or p instead of a sound between them • General mechanism approach argues that we can explain speech perception w/o proposing any special phonetic module; speech perception is therefore a learned ability but is not really “special” • Other research supporting the general mechanism viewpoint uses event-related potentials (ERPs), which demonstrates that adults show same sequence of shifts in the brain’s electrical potential, whether they’re listening to speech/music Chapter 3: • Divided-attention task: you try to pay attention to two or more simultaneous messages, responding appropriately to each message • Both your speed/accuracy suffer; these probs are likely if the tasks are challenging (Ex. if 2 ppl are talking quickly to you at the same time) • When ppl multitask, they try to accomplish 2 or more tasks at the same time; they strain the limits for attention, as well as the limits of their working/long-term memory • It’s said that you’ll typically perform faster/accurately if you work on one task at a time • Task switching is closely related to multi-tasking; if you’re writing a research paper and someone keeps interrupting, you’re more likely to work slower/make errors during the transitions • A selective-attention task requires ppl to pay attention to certain kinds of info, while ignoring other ongoing info • Dichotic listening is studied by asking ppl to wear earphones; one msg is presented to the left ear, and a diff. msg is presented to the right ear • Participants are asked to shadow the msg in one ear; they listen to that msg and repeat it after the speaker; if the listener makes mistakes in shadowing, the researcher knows that the listener is not paying appropriate attention to that specified msg • Ppl can process only one msg at a time; ppl are more likely to process the unattended msg when 1. Both msgs are presented slowly 2. The main task is not challenging 3. The meaning of the unattended msg is immediately relevant • When ppl perform a dichotic listening task, they sometimes notice when their name is inserted in the unattended msg (Ex. when you’re at a party and have a convo with ppl and hear your name mentioned in a nearby convo, you notice it) à cocktail party effect • Ppl w/ a low capacity have difficulty blocking out the irrelevant info such as their name; they’re easily distracted from the task they’re supposed to be completing • When ppl’s attention is divided, they can sometimes notice characteristics of the unattended msg (speaker’s gender, whether their own name is mentioned) • Under more challenging conditions, they may not even notice whether the unattended msg is in English or in a foreign language • Stroop effect: ppl take a long time to name the ink color when that color is used in printing an incongruent word (Ex. when YELLOW is printed in blue ink); they can quickly name that same ink color when it appears as a solid patch of color • Ppl take longer to pay attention to a color when they’re distracted by another feature of the stimulus, the meaning of the name itself • The Stroop task activates 2 pathways at the same time: one pathway is activated by the task of naming the ink color and the other pathway is activated by the task of reading the word; interference occurs when 2 competing pathways are active at the same time • Emotional Stroop task: ppl are instructed to name the ink color of words that could have strong emotional significance to them; these ppl take longer to name color of stimuli bc they have trouble ignoring their emotional reactions to the words themselves • Phobic disorder: excessive fear of an object; Ex. person w/ fear of spiders told to name ink colors w/ words hairy or crawl à ppl w/ phobias are slower on these anxiety- arousing words than on control words • Attentional bias: situation in which ppl pay extra attention to some stimuli or some features • Ex. ppl who are depressed take longer time to report color of words related to sadness/despair • Cognitive-behavioral approach: psychological problems arise from inappropriate thinking (cognitive factors) and inappropriate learning (behavioral factors) • Visual search: the observer must find a target in a visual display that has numerous distractors • Jeremy Wolfe found that ppl are much more accurate in identifying a target if it appears frequently; if target appears (on visually complex background) on 50% of trials, participants missed the target 7% of the time; when same target appeared in this same background on only 1% of trials participants missed target 30% of the time • Isolated-feature/combined feature effect: if the target differed from the irrelevant items in the display w/ respect to a simple feature such as color, observers could quickly detect the target; ppl can detect this target just as fast when it’s presented in an array of 24 items as when it’s presented in an array of only 3 items • Isolated-feature/combined-feature effect: ppl can typically locate an isolated feature more quickly than a combined feature • Feature-present/feature-absent effect: our cognitive processes handle positive info better than negative info; “positive” means that a feature is present, whereas “negative” means that a feature is missing • Ppl can locate a feature that’s present more quickly than a feature that’s absent • When ppl are searching for a feature that’s present, the target item in the display usually captures their attention automatically • This “pop-out” effect is automatic, and researchers emphasize that locating the target is strictly a bottom-up process • When you’re searching for a feature that’s absent, the search time increases dramatically as the number of irrelevant items increased • When ppl search for a feature that’s absent, they examine every item, one item at a time and they must use a kind of attention that emphasizes both bottom-up and top-down processing • Royden: ppl can quickly locate one moving target when it appears in a group of stationary distractors and take much longer to locate one stationary target when it appears in a group of moving distractors • We search more quickly for an isolated feature as opposed to a conjunction of 2 features; we search more quickly for a present feature as opposed to an absent feature • Very rapid eye movement from one spot to the next = saccadic movement; this brings the center of your retina into position over the words you want to read • The eye must be moved so that new words can be registered on the fovea • A fixation occurs during the period btwn 2 saccadic movements; during each fixation, your visual system pauses briefly in order to acquire info that’s useful for reading • Perceptual span refers to the number of letters and spaces that we perceive during a fixation; when you read English, this perceptual span includes letters lying about 4 positions to the left of the letter you’re directly looking at, as well as the letters about 15 positions to the right of that central letter • The material in the extreme right of the perceptual span is useful for noticing the white spaces btwn words, bc these spaces provide info about word length • The eye jumps past short words, words that appear frequently in a language, and words that are highly predictable in a sentence • Good readers differ from poor readers; good readers make larger jumps and are less likely to make regressions (moving their eyes backward to earlier material in the sentence) • When you’re selecting info from sensory input, your orienting attention network is activated; the orientation attention network is generally responsible for the kind of attention required for visual search, in which you must shift your attention around to various spatial locations • Unilateral spatial neglect: when a person ignores part of their visual field (Ex. a woman w/ a lesion in the left parietal region may have trouble noticing the food on the right side of her plate) • According to PET-scan research, the parietal cortex shows increased blood flow when ppl perform visual searches and when they pay attention to spatial locations • The orienting network develops during the 1 year of life • Executive attention network is responsible for the kind of attention we use when a task focuses on conflict; it inhibits your automatic responses to stimuli • Primarily involved during top-down control of attention; begins to develop at age 3 • Adults can enhance their executive attention network by learning meditation • This also helps you learn new ideas; location overlaps w/ the areas of your brain that are related to general intelligence • Bottleneck theories proposed a similar narrow passageway in human info processing; this bottleneck limits the quantity of info to which we can pay attention; when one msg is currently flowing through a bottleneck, the other msgs must be left behind • Neuroscience research says info is not lost at just one phase of the attention process, info is lost throughout many phases of attention • According to Treisman’s feature-integration theory, we sometimes look at a scene using distributed attention and we process all parts of the scene at the same time; on other occasions, we use focused attention and we process each item in the scene one at a time • Distributed attention and focused attention form a continuum, rather than 2 diff categories; you use attention that’s between those two • Distributed attention allows you to register features automatically; you use parallel processing across the field, and you register all the features simultaneously; you’re not even aware that you’re using it bc it’s a low-level kind of processing • Focused attention requires slower serial processing and you identify one object at a time; identifies which features belong together (Ex. square shape may go w/ a blue color) • If you process isolated features in distributed attention, then you should be able to rapidly locate a target among its neighboring, irrelevant items; that target should “pop out” of the display automatically, no matter how many items are in the display • Treisman and Gelade have found that ppl need more time to find the target when there are a large number of distractors in a focused-attention task • When we are overwhelmed w/ too many simultaneous visual tasks, we sometimes form an illusionary conjunction (inappropriate combo of features, combining one object’s shape w/ a nearby object’s color); Ex. a blue N and a green T can produce this where the viewer perceives either a blue T or a green N • Your visual system sometimes has a binding problem bc it doesn’t represent the important features of an object as a unified whole • When we can’t use focused attention, we sometimes form illusory conjunctions that are consistent w/ our expectations; focused attention allows the binding process to operate • Consciousness means the awareness that ppl have about the outside world and about their perceptions, images, thoughts, memories and feelings • We are frequently not aware or conscious of the tasks we are performing w/ the automatic, distributed form of attention • Consciousness is associated w/ the kind of controlled, focused attention that isn’t automatic • Mindless reading: your eyes move forward, but you don’t process the meaning of the material; your eyes were moving erratically rather than in saccadic movements • You didn’t have conscious awareness of your higher mental processes, until you became conscious that you didn’t remember any info from the text • Mind wandering occurs when your thoughts shift from the external environment in favor of internal processing • When ppl engage in thought suppression, they try to eliminate the thoughts, ideas, and images that are related to an undesirable stimulus • If you ever tried to avoid thinking about food when on a diet, you know that it’s difficult to chase these undesired thoughts out of consciousness • Ironic effects of mental control describes how our efforts can backfire when we attempt to control the contents of our consciousness; Ex. suppose a client has severe depression, and the therapist encourages this person to stop thinking about depressing things. This advice may produce an even greater number of depressing thoughts • Ppl can perform a cognitive task quite accurately, w/ no conscious awareness that their performance is accurate; blindsight refers to an unusual kind of vision w/o awareness • It’s a condition in which a person w/ a damaged visual cortex claims not to see an object, but he or she can accurately report some characteristics of that object (location) • Ppl w/ blindsight think “I cannot see” • A person w/ blindsight can identify some characteristics of the visual stimulus even w/ a damaged primary visual cortex, based on info registered in those other cortical areas Chapter 4: • Miller used the term chunk to describe basic unit in short-term memory; a chunk is a memory unit that consists of several components that are strongly associated w/ one another • The short-term memory holds approx. 7 chunks; we remember a sequence of 7 letters/numbers • You can organize several adjacent numbers/letters so that they can form a single chunk • Brown/Peterson & Peterson technique presented some items that students were instructed to remember; students performed a distracting task and were asked to recall the original items • The early research using this technique showed that our memory is fragile for material stored for just a few seconds • Serial-position effect: U-shaped relationship btwn a word’s position in a list and its probability of recall • The curve shows a strong recency effect, w/ better recall for items at the end of the list • Researchers say the relatively accurate memory for the final words in a list means these items were still in short-term memory in time of recall • One way of measuring size of short-term memory = count number of accurately recalled items at end of list • Primacy effect: enhanced recall for items at the beginning of a list; these early items are easy to remember bc 1. They don’t need to compete w/ any earlier items and 2. Ppl rehearse these early items more frequently (long-term memory) • Ppl have better recall for items at beginning/end of list; they have less accurate recall for middle items • One factor that influences short-term memory is semantics (meaning of words/sentences) • Proactive interference (PI): ppl have trouble learning new material bc previously learned material interferes w/ their new learning th • Ex. if you learned 3 items (XCJ, HBR, TSV), you’ll have trouble remembering a 4 item (KRN) bc the 3 previous items keep interfering • If 4 item are simple geometric shapes, memory will improve à release from proactive interference • Experiments demonstrate release from PI when category from items goes from letters to numbers • Wickens said that release from PI could be obtained when researchers shifted the semantic category of items • The degree of semantic similarity is related to amount of interference • Atkinson and Shiffrin proposed control processes, which are intentional strategies (rehearsal) that ppl use to improve their memory • Alan Baddely and Graham Hitch agreed that short-term memory’s major function is to hold several interrelated bits of info in our mind, all at the same time, so that a person can work w/ this info and then use it appropriately • Working memory doesn’t store info, it actively works w/ that info; Ex. if you’re trying to comprehend the sentence that you’re reading right now, you need to keep the beginning words in mind until you know how the sentence is going to end • Working-memory approach by Baddeley states that our immediate memory is a multipart system that temporarily holds/manipulates info while we perform cognitive tasks • Baddeley states working memory is not a passive storehouse w/ a number of shelves to hold partially processed info until it moves on to another location (long-term memory); we manipulate info instead; this “workbench” holds both new/old material you retrieved from storage (long-term memory) • Baddeley and Hitch found that working memory is not unitary; they presented a string of random numbers to ppl which varied from zero-eight items • Wouldn’t you think you’d take much longer and make many more errors on the reasoning task if you had to keep rehearsing 8 numerals instead of one?; Ppl performed quickly/accurately on both of these 2 simultaneous tasks • Baddeley and Hitch found that these ppl required less than a sec longer on reasoning task when instructed to rehearse all 8 numbers in contrast to a task that required no rehearsal • Baddeley proposed four components for working memory: phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad, central executive and an integrative component called “episodic buffer” • Phonological loop can process a limited number of sounds for a short period of time; processes language and other sounds that you hear, including sounds you make • It’s also active during subvocalization, when you silently pronounce the words that you’re reading • Ppl’s memory errors can be traced to acoustic confusions (ppl are likely to confuse similar-sounding stimuli) • When words sounded diff. from one another, ppl recalled more items than when the words sounded similar (Conrad and Hull’s study results) • A study by Dylan Jones suggests that ppl confuse acoustically similar sounds w/ one another when they’re rehearsing the items, not when these items are simply stored in the phonological loop • We use the phonological loop on simple counting tasks; You hear your “inner voice” saying numbers silently when counting numbers, but when you say the word “the” subvocally when counting, we can’t perform a simple counting task bc our phonological loop is preoccupied w/ saying “the” • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a neuroscience technique that uses a magnetic field to briefly stimulate a specific location on cortex; the stimulation interferes briefly w/ info processing but doesn’t harm the brain • The left parietal lobe is activated when you store auditory info and the left frontal lobe is activated when you rehearse verbal material • The researchers included a sham procedure, which resembled each TMS procedure w/o stimulation • After either TMS stimulation/sham procedure, the participants saw a sentence w/ a sketch; the sentence either matched or didn’t match the sketch • The left frontal/parietal lobe isn’t responsible for processing short, simple sentences • The left parietal lobe is responsible for processing long but simple sentences (TMS stimulation in left parietal lobe reduced ppl’s ability to store all words in a long sentence) • The left frontal lobe can’t effectively rehearse grammatically complex syntax and left parietal lobe can’t store long sentences following TMS; both left frontal/parietal lobe are responsible for rehearsing and storing complex, lengthy sentences • Visuospatial sketchpad processes both visual/spatial info; allows you to look at a complex scene/gather visual info about objects/landmarks and lets you navigate from one location to another • This stores visual info you encode from verbal description (Ex. when a friend tells a story, you visualize the scene) • When too many items enter your visuospatial sketchpad, you can’t represent them accurately enough to recover them successfully • Baddeley discovered ppl have trouble performing two visuospatial tasks simultaneously • Ex. Bradimonte told ppl to repeat “la-la-la” while looking at complex visual stimulus. When phonological loop was occupied w/ this repetition task, ppl usually didn’t provide names for stimuli and were more likely to use visuospatial coding • Students in psych/social sciences use phonological loop, while students in engineering/art/architecture use visual coding/visuospatial sketchpad • Ex. visuospatial sketchpad allows you to retain brief image of an object even when you close your eyes, even if the object is out of reach • Visual/spatial tasks typically activate several regions in right hemisphere of cortex instead of left hemisphere • Working-memory tasks w/ a strong visual component activate occipital region (responsible for visual perception) • Central executive integrates info from the phonological loop, the visuospatial sketchpad, the episodic buffer, and long-term memory • Plays a role in focusing attention and switching btwn tasks and is responsible for suppressing irrelevant info; helps you decide what to do/what not to do in everyday life • It plans and coordinates but doesn’t store info, unlike phonological loop/visuospatial sketchpad which have specialized storage systems • Central executive compared to executive supervisor which decides which topics deserve attention and which should be ignored; helps you use effective strategies when tackling problems and helps you stop using ineffective strategies • It can’t make numerous decisions simultaneously and cannot multitask • Daydreaming requires active participation of your central executive • The random-number generation task requires the research participants to supply one digit every sec, creating a random sequence; approx. every 2 min, the researcher interrupted the task and asked participants to write down any thoughts • Results: ppl able to generate random sequence of numbers but when reported daydreaming, their number sequences were far from random; daydreaming occupied large portion of resources of central executive that they couldn’t create a random sequence of numbers • Both sides of the frontal region of cortex play a role in central-executive activities • Episodic buffer serves as a temporary storehouse that can hold/combine info from your phonological loop, your visuospatial sketchpad, and long-term memory • This actively manipulates info so that you can interpret an earlier experience, solve new probs, and plan future activities • Ex. if the other day you said something rude to a friend, you may analyze the event and think about their facial expression and their verbal response; you’ll need to access info from long-term memory to remember friend’s customary behavior • It allows you to bind together previously unconnected concepts (Ex. you may recall a time when someone said something rude to you and relate it to your friend’s reaction) • Scores on working-memory tasks are correlated w/ overall intelligence/grades in school; scores on tests of phonological loop are correlated w/ reading ability; scores on central executive tasks are correlated w/ verbal fluency, reading comp and reasoning ability • Ppl w/ ADHD have more difficulty than others on central-executive tasks • Ppl w/ depression have trouble concentrating and tend to have a ruminative style (they worry about all the things that are wrong in their life); they have trouble w/ a variety of tasks involving the phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad, and the central executive Chapter 5: • Fergus Craik and Robert Lockhart introduced a levels-of-processing approach (depth- of-processing approach) which argues that deep, meaningful processing of info leads to more accurate recall than shallow, sensory kinds of processing • You’ll be less likely to recall a word when you consider its physical appearance/its sound • When you analyze for meaning, you may think of other associations, images, and past experiences related to the stimulus; you’re likely to remember a stimulus you analyzed on a deep level • Distinctiveness means that a stimulus is diff. from other memory traces; when you provide a distinctive encoding for a person’s name, irrelevant names = less likely to interfere • Elaboration requires rich processing in terms of meaning/interconnected concepts • Deep processing also enhances our memory for faces (Ex. ppl recognize more photos of faces they had previously judged whether the person looked honest, rather than judging a more superficial characteristic like the width of the person’s nose) • Self-reference effect states you’ll remember more info if you try to relate that info to yourself; tend to encourage deep processing • When we think about a word in connection w/ ourselves, we develop a particularly memorable coding for that word; we’re less likely to recall a word that doesn’t apply to ourselves • Meta-analysis is a statistical method for synthesizing numerous studies on a single topic; computes a statistical index that tells us whether a particular variable has a statistically significant effect, when combining all the studies • Factors responsible for the self-reference effect: 1. “self” produces a rich set of cues that can be linked w/ new info you’re trying to learn 2. instructions encourage ppl to consider how their personal traits are connected w/ one another 3. You’re likely to use rich/complex rehearsal when you associate material w/ yourself • Encoding-specificity principle states that recall is better if the context during retrieval is similar to the context during encoding; when 2 contacts don’t match, you’re more likely to forget the items • Ppl are relatively accurate if they had heard the story and answered questions in the same language; they’re less accurate if they heard the story in one language and answered the questions in a diff. language • On a recall task, the participants must reproduce the items they learned earlier; on a recognition task, then participants must judge whether they saw a particular item at an earlier time • Encoding specificity is strong in real-life long-delay situations; real-life examples describe a situation in which we recall an earlier experience and that experience occurred many years earlier • Lab research focuses on recognition rather than recall; encoding specificity is weak in lab, short-delay situations • Encoding specificity effect is most likely to occur in memory tasks that 1. Assess your recall 2. Use real-life situations and 3. Examine events that happened long ago • Physical context is not as important as mental context; the encoding-specificity principle may depend on how similar two environments feel, rather than on how similar they look • Ppl recall more material if the retrieval conditions match the encoding conditions; encoding specificity can override level of processing • Shallow processing can be more effective than deep processing when the retrieval task emphasizes superficial info • Ppl perform better on a rhyming test (Ex. Was there a word on the list that rhymed w/ toy?) if they had originally performed the shallow-encoding task (rhyming) rather than the deep-encoding task (meaning) • Emotion is a reaction to a specific stimulus and mood is a long-lasting experience • How emotion and mood can affect memory: 1. We remember pleasant stimuli more accurately than other stimuli 2. We recall material more accurately if our mood matches the emotional nature of the material, aka mood congruence • Pollyanna Principle states that pleasant items are processed more efficiently and more accurately than less pleasant items (even if the delay is long) • Neutral items are recalled least accurately of all à intensity of item’s emotional tone is important • Ppl recall positive/negative stimuli equally when delay was short; their recall for neutral stimuli was lower • When central stimulus is boring, ppl explore background more accurately than in other conditions; when stimuli are negative, ppl don’t remember background accurately • Ppl recall pleasant events more accurately than unpleasant events • Ex. college students watched either a violent/nonviolent film clip; the results showed better recall for commercials that had appeared in the nonviolent film; anger/violence reduce memory accuracy • Over time, unpleasant memories fade more than pleasant memories; ratings don’t change for events originally considered to be neutral; events originally considered to be pleasant became slightly less pleasant; events originally considered to be unpleasant became much less unpleasant (closer to neutral) • Ppl tend to rate unpleasant past events more positively w/ the passage of time à positivity effect • Studies show that students who didn’t have depressive tendencies showed usual positivity effect and students w/ depressive tendencies showed same amount of fading for unpleasant/pleasant events • Mood congruence means that you recall material more accurately if it’s congruent w/ your current mood; Ex. if you’re in a good mood, you should remember pleasant material better than unpleasant material and vice versa • Explicit memory task: researcher directly asks you to remember some info and you realize that your memory is being tested and the test requires you to intentionally retrieve some info that you previously learned • Most common explicit memory test = recall and recognition task • Implicit memory task: you see the material (series of words/pictures) and later during test phase, you’re told to complete a cognitive task that doesn’t directly ask you for either recall/recognition • Researchers avoid using words “remember” or “recall” during implicit memory task • It shows effects of previous experience that creep out automatically (during normal behavior) when you’re not making any conscious effort to remember the past • A 2 measure of implicit memory = repetition priming task: recent exposure to a word increases likelihood that you’ll think of this particular word when you’re given a cue that could evoke many diff. words • A dissociation occurs when a variable has large effects on Test A, but little or no effects on Test B; it also occurs when a variable has one kind of effect if measured by Test A and the opposite effect if measured by Test B • Ppl recall more words on an explicit memory test if they had originally used semantic encoding, rather than encoding physical appearance • On an implicit memory test, semantic and perceptual encoding may produce similar memory scores, or ppl may even score lower if they had used semantic encoding • The broad category called anxiety disorders includes psychological problems such 1. Generalized anxiety disorder, in which a person experiences at least 6 months of intense, long-lasting anxiety/worry 2. Post-traumatic stress disorder, in which a person keeps re-experiencing an extremely traumatic event and 3. Social phobia, in which a person becomes extremely anxious in social situations • During recognition-memory tasks, high-anxious/low-anxious ppl performed similarly (same results for implicit memory tasks) • During recall tasks, high-anxious ppl were more likely than low-anxious ppl to recall the negative, anxiety-arousing words • Amnesia: ppl who have severe deficits in their episodic memory; retrograde amnesia: loss of memory for events that occurred prior to brain damage (deficit severe for events that occurred during years just before damage) • Anterograde amnesia = loss of ability to form memories for events that occurred after brain damage • Ppl w/ anterograde amnesia recall nothing on tests of explicit memory like recall/recognition; also have trouble imagining events in the future • The dissociation was evident bc the memory-status variable (amnesic versus control) had a major effect when measured by implicit memory tests; this same variable had no effect when measured by implicit memory tests • Ppl w/ expertise demonstrate impressive memory abilities as well as consistently exceptional performance on representative tasks in a particular area • Ppl who are experts in one area may not display outstanding general memory skills; memory experts don’t receive exceptional scores on tests of intelligence • You’re more accurate in identifying members of your own ethnic group than members of another ethnic group à own-ethnicity bias (other-ethnicity effect or cross-ethnicity effect) • This is related to expertise bc ppl have more opportunities to interact w/ individuals from their own ethnic group, rather than other ethnic groups • Ppl can become more accurate in identifying ppl from other ethnic groups if they make a genuine effort to learn facial distinctions that are relevant for other ethnic groups • A schema consists of your general knowledge or expectation, which is distilled from your past experiences w/ someone or something; Ex. you develop a schema for the events that occur during the first day of a class bc of your personal memories • Schemas are used to guide our recall; during recall, we show a consistency bias (we tend to exaggerate the consistency btwn our past feelings and beliefs and our current viewpoint) • The consistency bias says we tell our life stories so that they are consistent w/ our current schemas about ourselves • The process of trying to identify the origin of a particular memory is called source monitoring; Ex. participants told to identify whether each item on a list had been their own idea or someone else’s idea à they made source-monitoring mistakes and claimed that an idea generated by another person had been their own idea • Reality monitoring: you try to identify whether an event really occurred, or whether you actually imagined this event; Ex. you might think you told a friend that an upcoming event had been canceled but in reality, you had debated whether to call her and you never actually did it • Flashbulb memory refers to your memory for the circumstances in which you first learned about a very surprising and emotionally arousing event; Ex. JFK was shot in ’63 yet many older adults believe that they have accurate recall for the trivial details of that news report • Ppl tend to describe details like their location when they heard the news and the person who gave them the news • Ppl’s flashbulb memories are more accurate than memories of less surprising events • Both flashbulb memories and “ordinary memories” grow less accurate w/ passage of time • Eyewitness testimony: ppl may believe that they really witnessed something, when it had actually been suggested to them in a diff. situation • In post-event misinformation effect: ppl first view an event, then they are given misleading info about the event and later mistakenly recall the misleading info rather than the event they actually saw • Retroactive interference: ppl have trouble recalling old material bc some recently learned, new material keeps interfering w/ old memories • The constructivist approach to memory emphasizes that we construct knowledge by integrating what we know; therefore our understanding of an event/topic is coherent and makes sense • Eyewitnesses make more errors if they saw a crime committed during a stressful circumstance (Ex. when someone was carrying a weapon) • They make more errors when there’s a long delay btwn origi


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