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PSYC 1001: Week 8

by: Hayley Seal

PSYC 1001: Week 8 PSYC 1001

Hayley Seal
GPA 4.0

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About this Document

These notes cover classes from March 1-3.
General Psychology
Ramezan Dowlati
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hayley Seal on Thursday March 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 1001 at George Washington University taught by Ramezan Dowlati in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see General Psychology in Psychlogy at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 03/03/16
PSYC 1001 Dr. Ramezan Dowlati Class Notes for March 1-3 Thinking (March 1)  Part of cognitive psychology  Behavior is just the surface; cognition is underneath  Concepts are the building blocks of thinking o They are the mental representations of objects o 2 ways to form concepts:  Definitions learned in school setting, books, etc.  Examples (natural way of learning concepts): the mind finds the common features of examples to make a concept o A prototype is the best example of a concept  You know a wide variety of trees but when asked to draw one, the one you draw is the prototype  By definition, a penguin is a bird but people typically draw a bird more similar to a sparrow  Prototypes are not actual examples (not a specific bird or tree) but represent all examples that you know of o Concepts and categories make cognition easier  Problem solving o Algorithm: an exhaustive, inclusive, comprehensive approach that includes all possible solutions and guarantees finding the right one  It is time consuming and for complex problems (such as the economy) it is not always possible  Google uses an algorithmic approach to pull up all possible responses to a search  Isn’t always practical because of limited time and money o Heuristics: using knowledge and experience to make an educated guess  Used more often, simpler and faster  Does not guarantee a solution – mistakes and errors are possible – but it is generally more practical than algorithms  Before advanced medical testing was widely available and convenient, doctors used heuristics to treat people; today we try to use algorithms when possible  In fact many professions are involving less and less heuristics as algorithmic approaches become possible o Insight = a “wow” moment where the answer appears to spontaneously occur  Psychologists believe that there actually is some cognition behind it, though  Obstacles to problem solving o Confirmation bias o Fixation  Classic example of fixation: the matchstick problem (because of fixation on a 2-D solution, we do not see the 3-D solution)  Limits heuristic ability  “Functional fixedness” = always approaching a problem and trying to solve it the same way it has always been done by everyone else o Availability heuristic o Overconfidence o Belief perseverance o Framing  Political candidates use framing to manipulate how people interpret facts (ex. talking about the number of jobs created versus % unemployment)  Intuition comes from unconscious thought or unconscious processing of a problem; it does involve cognition  Creativity o Can be tested: how many ways can you think of to use a brick? o Measures of creativity: originality, fluency (ability to find another answer if the first one doesn’t work), flexibility  Fluency is a measure of the young mind o Involves divergent thinking  Convergent thinking occurs when people converge on one single correct solution  Divergent thinking is finding different solutions when there is not necessarily one correct answer  Are animals capable of problem solving? o Yes; monkeys and chimpanzees are capable of instrumental learning even though they cannot pass it on to later generations like humans can o Crows make hooks to access food o Their capabilities are different from humans, but they do have them Language (March 3)  One of the greatest manifestations of human cognition  Can be spoken, written, signed; used for communication  Building blocks of language o Syntax = grammar structure o Semantics = meaning o Phonemes = smallest unit of sound (about 30 in the English language)  Some are specific to languages; may exist in one but not in another  Total # of phonemes in the world is 40-50  Newborn babies can produce all phonemes at birth, but some are “turned off” by reinforcement (limitations are imposed by the language you speak) o Morphemes = units of meaning  Un-in-depend-ent-ly = 5 morphemes (addition or subtraction of one changes the meaning)  When do we learn language? o Babies can pick up accents first, how words and language sound, frequency of speech sounds o Certain phonemes are easier to produce than others (“m” and “d”) o Receptive language (understanding) comes before productive language (producing)  Is language innate or 100% learned? o Behaviorists would say learned; you are born a blank slate o Noam Chomsky and the naturalist perspective: we are born with “deep” grammar structure  All languages have both deep and surface grammar structure  Based on “universal language”: all languages use a subject and predicate to convey meaning  The use of a subject and predicate is deep grammar --> innate  The order in which the subject and predicate (and any other additional parts) are used is the shallow grammar --> learned o Critical period for learning language – children are born multilingual and can learn multiple languages easier than adults can  Brain activity when learning and speaking words o Wernicke’s area: comprehension of auditory language o Broca’s area: production of language o The left hemisphere of the brain is used for language  Other species have communication, but do they have language? o They can convey meanings and respond using signs and sounds  Washoe = chimpanzee taught sign language o However they do not have syntax or grammar as far as we know  The connection between language and thinking: o Whorf believed that language determines how you think: radical idea  Deterministic hypothesis: you think in the language you speak and that determines or limits how you think  Explains why concepts that have formed in some parts of the world have not formed in other parts of the world  Ex. Arabic language has limited words for fish but 40 words for camel, while Japanese has 100+ words for fish and only 1 for camel o General understanding: words influence, but do not determine, thinking


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