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Why the Historical Context? provide a more complete understanding of and appreciation for cognitive psychology  early cognitive psychology (and its downfall)

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Presentation on theme: "Why the Historical Context? provide a more complete understanding of and appreciation for cognitive psychology  early cognitive psychology (and its downfall)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why the Historical Context? provide a more complete understanding of and appreciation for cognitive psychology  early cognitive psychology (and its downfall)  the rise of behaviorism (and its downfall)  the cognitive revolution cognition as information processing classical cognitive psychology  where is cognitive psychology headed? embodied cognition

2 Early Research in Cognition Wilhelm Wundt ( )  the “father” of modern experimental psychology  1879 established first formal laboratory in experimental psychology (Germany)  research goal was to explain immediate mental experience as it occurred discover the basic elements of thought discover the laws by which basic elements combine into more complex thought

3 Early Research in Cognition Edward Titchener ( )  student of Wundt  like Wundt, research goal was to examine immediate mental experience as it occurred  unlike Wundt, research goal was to describe the structure of immediate mental experience as it occurred structuralism “is” not “is for” of mental experience

4 Early Research in Cognition Wundt and Titchener  primary methodology → experimental introspection a technique to determine whether an individual is experiencing a specific inner sensation participants were trained to only report their immediate inner sensations of an object  e.g., an apple study only elemental (basic) cognitive processes

5 Early Research in Cognition the spectacular downfall of structuralism  experimental introspection inconsistency in method and results  Titchener became extremely dogmatic  only his findings were of merit the phenomenon of interest (inner sensations) were not publicly observable  findings could not be verified or replicated  introspection, for ~ 6 decades (even today) was a dirty word for most psychologists

6 Early Research in Cognition the spectacular downfall of structuralism  excluded other forms of psychological investigation animal studies  understand brain processes and structures underlying cognition (e.g., vision – cats, monkeys, even ferrets) abnormal behavior studies (humans)  how does brain injury affect cognition  e.g., HM

7 Early Research in Cognition the spectacular downfall of structuralism  excluded other forms of psychological investigation applied psychology studies  issues of WWII  how do people perform certain tasks  how do sonar operators learn to detect mines from rocks  how do pilots learn to navigate their planes  how to use intelligence tests to detect more capable soldiers for leadership positions

8 Early Research in Cognition the spectacular downfall of structuralism  excluded other forms of psychological investigation evolutionary theory  mental experience is functional  discover the ‘is for’ of mental experience, not the ‘is’  functions of the mind are adaptive cognitive abilities helped our ancestors survive and reproduce, just like bodily abilities/structures  more on this near the end

9 Early Research in Cognition William James ( )  ~ 80 years ahead of his time  The Principles of Psychology (1890)  was an early proponent of incorporating evolutionary thought into psychology unfortunately, he was not overly influential in the US, which became the dominant force in experimental psychology

10 The Rise of Behaviorism Pavlov Watson Skinner banished the study of mental events  mental events were unobservable

11 Behaviorist Manifesto “Psychology as the behaviorist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior. Introspection forms no essential part of its methods, nor is the scientific value of its data dependent upon the readiness with which they lend themselves to interpretation in terms of consciousness. The behaviorist, in his efforts to get a unitary scheme of animal response, recognizes no dividing line between man and brute. The behavior of man, with all of its refinement and complexity, forms only a part of the behaviorist’s total scheme of investigation.” (Watson, 1913)

12 Implications for the Study of Cognition UH-OH!!!!! this was the beginning of very dark days (actually, decades) for cognitive psychology

13 Behaviorism’s Articles of Faith 1. the sole subject matter of psychology is behavior 2. cognitive constructs, events, and processes ought to play no role in or be the object of psychological investigation or theory 3. causes of behavior are external not internal to the organism 4. humans are relatively passive receptors of external stimuli 5. humans are not active information processors 6. publicly objective and verifiable methods must be used to examine human (and animal) behavior

14 “‘Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select—a doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even into beggarman and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors.’ I am going beyond my facts and I admit it … Please note that when this experiment is made I am to be allowed to specify the way they are to be brought up and the type of world they have to live in” (Watson, 1926)

15 Behaviorism’s Articles of Faith the first five articles of faith = radical behaviorism  explanation of behavior in terms of observed events only stimulus and response (Pavlov/Watson), or response and reinforcement (Skinner)  nature vs nuture  no place for mental events in between

16 Behaviorism’s Articles of Faith the sixth article of faith = methodological behaviorism  a huge improvement in research design over introspection  cognitive psychologists today are methodological behaviorists behavior used to index mental events and processes it’s okay to study cognition, but must investigate it by measuring overt behavior only (e.g., RT)

17 Radical Behaviorism Skinner’s form of behaviorism was the dominant form (in the US) at the time of the cognitive revolution (1950s)  denied the importance of examining mental events  his attitude toward cognitive psychology? he hated it!  but behaviorism had some glaring problems  this coupled with developments in other disciplines led to what is called the cognitive revolution

18 Giants of the Cognitive Revolution Turing Simon Newell MillerChomsky Luria Shannon Wiener

19 Four Nails in Behaviorism’s Coffin 1: World War II  academic psychologists were “put to work on the practical problems of making war … trying to understand problems of perception, judgment, thinking, and decision making” (Lachman et al., 1979)  focus on performance pilots, radar and sonar operators and technology  assessment (personality, aptitude) for military rank (officers)

20 Four Nails in Behaviorism’s Coffin 1: World War II  psychologists came into contact with scientists from other research areas mathematicians, early “computer scientists”, neuropsychologists, medical doctors  need to build new technology “number cruncher” computers anti-aircraft technology code-breaking devices

21 Four Nails in Behaviorism’s Coffin 2: cybernetics  Norbert Wiener ( ) mathematician servomechanisms  devices keeping anti-aircraft artillery, guided missiles on course  importance of feedback, self-regulation, & self-correction (‘internal’ communication)  no time for environmental reinforcement feedback  functioning of biological organisms and machines have important parallels

22 Four Nails in Behaviorism’s Coffin 2: cybernetics  Wiener “put forth the notion that problems of control engineering and communication engineering are inseparable; moreover, they center not on the techniques of electrical engineering, but rather on the much more fundamental notion of the message—’whether this should be transmitted by electrical, mechanical, or nervous means’” (Gardner, 1985)

23 Four Nails in Behaviorism’s Coffin 3: linguistics  Noam Chomsky (1928) in 1959, reviewed Skinner’s 1957 book Verbal Behavior  Skinner attempted to explain linguistic behavior with laws of reinforcement  Chomsky decisively demonstrated that Skinner’s approach could not work  poverty of the stimulus  creativity

24 Four Nails in Behaviorism’s Coffin 3: linguistics  “the composition and production of an utterance is not simply a matter of stringing together a sequence of responses under the control of outside stimulation and intraverbal association, and that the syntactic organization of an utterance is not something directly represented in any simple way in the physical structure of the utterance itself” (Chomsky, 1959)

25 Four Nails in Behaviorism’s Coffin 3: linguistics  “a critical account of his book must show that with a literal reading (where the terms of the descriptive system have something like the technical meanings given in Skinner’s definitions) the book covers almost no aspects of linguistic behavior, and that with a metaphoric reading, it is no more scientific than the traditional approaches to this subject matter, and rarely as clear and careful.” (Chomsky, 1964a)

26 Four Nails in Behaviorism’s Coffin 4: neuropsychology  Alexander Luria ( ) study of cognitive deficits following brain injury behavior influenced by the integrity (or damage) to the brain  much similarity in cognitive deficits across cultures, more than behaviorism would allow  patterns of cognitive deficits not easily explained by simple stimulus-response or response-reinforcement theories

27 Cognition as Information Processing Marr’s (1982) “Cognitive Manifesto”  “it soon became clear that many aspects of the world around us could benefit from an information- processing point of view. Most of the phenomena that are central to us as human beings – the mysteries of life and evolution, of perception and feeling and thought – are primarily phenomena of information processing, and if we are ever to understand them fully, our thinking about them must include this perspective”

28 Cognition’s Articles of Faith 1. cognitive processes and representations exist 2. many, many phenomena involve them 3. including a cognitive “point of view” is essential to getting a full understanding of these phenomena 4. they can be studied scientifically 5. cognitive phenomena can be viewed as information processing tasks or problems 6. cognitive constructs are useful (if properly operationalized) in theorizing and experimentation

29 Cognition as Information Processing: Early Guiding Ideas computing information likely involves logical operations (rules/algorithms) on a formal language (internal symbols) – Frege internal symbols isomorphic with the world - Wittgenstein computers are machines that compute information –Turing human nervous systems are machines that compute information – McCulloch & Pitts computers can store programs and it is the operation of the programs that is of interest – von Neumann human nervous systems can store programs and it is the operation of the programs that is of interest – Wiener, Shannon, Chomsky

30 The Classical View of Cognition structure separate from process  structure set of individual symbols, symbol expressions  process set of processes that operate or manipulate the symbols in some way (creating, modifying, reproducing)  symbols and the processes that operate on them are the subject matter of cognitive psychology

31 Cognition as Information Processing Alan Turing ( )  mathematician, computer scientist computation  the act of computing or calculating; a method or system of computing or calculating Turing Machine  a conceptual device  computers, human brains (perhaps with help)  carry out any possible calculation, in principle

32 Cognition as Information Processing Turing Machine

33 The Classical View of Cognition functionalism  cognitive states defined in terms of functional, causal roles, not in terms of the material structure in which they are instantiated FodorPylyshyn Putnam

34 The Classical View of Cognition functionalism  to study cognition, cognitive psychologists study the mind, not the brain  effectively ignores the brain  mental states (functional kind of thing) are multiply realizable i.e., they are implementable in all manner of physically different devices  human brains, computers, Martian ‘brains’

35 The Classical View of Cognition two major problems for the classical approach  based on current digital computer technology, not on the brain (not biologically plausible) computer metaphor for cognition  disembodied – does not take the body into account

36 Embodied Cognition LakoffJohnsonClarkBarsalou

37 Embodied Cognition how the body interacts with the world influences the types of cognitive capacities we as humans have  evolutionary perspective: function of perceptual and motor systems how they aid with survival  cognitive capacities are heavily dependent on knowledge gained through how our bodies can function in the world

38 Evidence for Embodied Cognition 1: Lakoff and Johnson – metaphor  we use knowledge we gain through sensorimotor interaction with the world to help us understand abstract concepts  examples from their book “Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought” (1999) p. 50

39 Evidence for Embodied Cognition 2: basic level categories  take furniture-chair-rocking chair furniture – superordinate category chair – basic level category rocking chair – subordinate category  basic level objects are recognized faster and learned before and more easily than the other two types of categories  why?

40 Evidence for Embodied Cognition 2: basic level categories  it is the highest level at which a single mental image can represent the entire category imagine a chair, a bed, a piece of furniture  it is the highest level at which category members have similarly perceived overall shapes again, (prototypical) chairs, beds, have a similar shape what is the shape of a prototypical piece of furniture?

41 Evidence for Embodied Cognition 2: basic level categories  it is the highest level at which a person uses similar motor actions for interacting with category members generalized motor actions for chairs and beds but not for generalized pieces of furniture  it is the level at which most of our knowledge is organized what do you know about chairs and beds vs furniture

42 Evidence for Embodied Cognition I conduct research on visual word recognition  what types of information is used to store and retrieve memories for words effects of imageability  words that are easily imagined (e.g., PEACH, BIKE) are recognized more rapidly than words that are difficult to imagine (e.g., BRIBE, LOAN)

43 Evidence for Embodied Cognition conducted a study this semester looking at the effects of ease of body/object interaction words that refer to objects with which our bodies can easily interact (e.g., COUCH, ROPE) are recognized more rapidly than words that refer to objects with which our bodies cannot easily interact (e.g., CLOUD, MIST)  importantly, imageability of the words of the two ease of body/object interaction word lists are matched

44 The Future of Cognitive Psychology to fully understand and appreciate human cognition, more research and theory development is needed in the following areas:  embodied cognition  evolutionary psychology  neuroscience and neuropsychology try to rid cognitive psychology of the still prevalent idea of functionalism (a la Fodor, Pylyshyn, Putnam)


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