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Cognition Psyc33000 Professor N. Rader The Basics Who’s Who in the class – Professor Rader Teaching Assistant Ted Alhanti attendance, class photos and.

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Presentation on theme: "Cognition Psyc33000 Professor N. Rader The Basics Who’s Who in the class – Professor Rader Teaching Assistant Ted Alhanti attendance, class photos and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cognition Psyc33000 Professor N. Rader The Basics Who’s Who in the class – Professor Rader Teaching Assistant Ted Alhanti attendance, class photos and info sheet Notebook – Why a notebook and how its organized Paying for the Notebook -- $5 in envelope with your name Syllabus – Highlights Calendar – Its organization and how to use it

2 What is Cognitive Psychology ? How to study the mind? Some history Wundt & Mental Chronometry Introspection Gestalt Psychology Behaviorism How did this shift come about????? Paradigmatic Shift Leading to Modern Day Cognitive Psychology

3 Wundt and Mental Chronometry In attempting to resolve disputes amongst astronomers who had written down different times on their star maps for positioning stars, Wundt suggested that the differences were caused by differences in the speed of mental processes. He believed it would be possible to explain differences in behavior by measuring how long it took people to respond to stimuli. Hence was born the reaction time experiment. Important in Wundt’s lab were a number of devices used to measure reaction time. Wilhelm Wundt ( )

4 William James ( ) Introspection as an Approach to Studying the Mind “Introspective Observation is what we have to rely on first and foremost and always. The word introspection need hardly be defined—it means, of course, the looking into our own minds and reporting what we there discover.” E.B. Titchener ( Titchener’s brain in the Wilder Brain Collection at Cornell Edward Titchener, the main structuralist, gave psychology its first definition as a science as the study of mental experience, of consciousness to be studied by trained introspection. Titchener founded the 1 st psych lab in the U.S. at Cornell University. William James was a proponent of functionalism, which refers to a general psychological philosophy that considers mental life and behavior in terms of active adaptation to the person's environment. Functionalism was a philosophy opposing the prevailing structuralism of psychology of the late 19th century. In order to make psychology scientific we must not only describe, we must also explain mind. We must answer the question “why.”

5 Gestalt Psychology “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” The Gestalt Psychologists observed that what people saw in simple drawings was not just descriptive of what was on the page. Instead, there were “emergent properties” such as seeing certain lines or textures as belonging together to form a whole. They attempted to explain these emergent properties by identifying “laws of organization”. The overarching law was know as the “Law of Pragnanz”, which stated that observers would see whatever was the “best” organization. Other laws included the Law of Similarity, the Law of Proximity, the Law of Good Continuation, & the Law of Closure. They believed that what was seen was mirrored in the pattern of neural activity in the brain; this idea is known as “isomorphism”.

6 As a precursor to Cognitive Psychology, the Gestalt Psychology approach was important in that it demonstrated that internal processes were important in explaining behavior. Unfortunately, they were unable to describe these internal processes other than with the faulty idea of isomorphism

7 Enter Behaviorism John B. Watson Watson established the approach known as behaviorism after doing research on animal behavior. Watson put the emphasis on external behavior of people and their reactions on given situations, rather than the internal, mental state of those people. In his opinion, the analysis of behaviors and reactions was the only objective method to get insight in the human actions. Watson’s Little Albert experiment (1920) provided empirical evidence of classical conditioning in humans and demonstrated stimulus generalization. Based on his view that children had an innate fear to loud noises, he used classical conditioning to create in Little Albert a fear of anything white and furry. Tabula rasa = Mind blank at birth and contents added through experience

8 Before Training UCS (noise) UCR (fear) CS (white rat) No relevant response Training CS (white rat) + UCS (noise) After training (i.e., conditioning) CS (white rat) CR (fear) Classical Conditioning

9 “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.” From Watson’s article of 1913, "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It“ — sometimes called "The Behaviorist Manifesto" Consciousness is an “epiphenomenon”, meaning it accompanies behavior but has no significance in itself for understanding behavior.

10 Behaviorism becomes the dominant approach to Psychology Its heyday is the 1950’s and 60’s Stimulus ? Response Focus on observable behavior based on S-R associations created through environmental contingencies (rewards or punishments). B.F. Skinner Nomotheism = assumption of animal to human commonality allowing generalization of principles of behavior

11 Instrumental (Operant) Conditioning Stimulus - response in presence of reward increase in response frequency Stimulus - response in presence of punishment decrease in response frequency

12 Guess who said… 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—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. Watson I think cognitive psychology is a hoax and a fraud, and that goes for brain science too. Skinner Skinner confuses science with terminology. He apparently believes that if he replaces commonplace `mentalistic' expressions with terminology drawn from the laboratory study of behavior, but deprived of its precise content, then he has achieved a scientific analysis of behavior. It would be hard to think of a more striking failure to comprehend even the rudiments of scientific thinking. Chomsky

13 Cracks in the Behaviorism Armor E. C. Tolman Jean Piaget In one of Tolman’s experiments rats learned to run the route A to G to obtain food. Then the learned path is blocked. Generalization predicts that pathways 9 & 10 would be preferred, but it was 5 & 6. This led Tolman to conclude that rats make use of a “cognitive map”. Piaget explained children’s thinking using descriptions of the contents of the mind and processes such as accommodation and assimilation. His observations, predictions, and explanations ran counter to those of behaviorism.

14 The Paradigm Shift Arrives!! Ulrich Neisser present Noam Chomsky present 1967, Cognitive Psychology Argued persuasively that the mind could be studied experimentally and understood through models making use of computer metaphors 1976, Cognition and Reality Continued pursuing the computer metaphor but encouraged cognitive psychologists to address behavior outside the laboratory. 1959, Review of Skinner’s book Verbal Behavior 1969, Aspects of a Theory of Syntax Presented arguments against Skinner’s claim that language could be explained in terms of conditioning: People understand sentences that have never heard before and produce sentences they have never said before. Children use expressions like “We goed to the store” even though they have never heard the word “goed” nor been rewarded for using it. Showed how language could be best understood in terms of basic elements and syntactic rules for combining those elements.

15 If not introspection, then what? Transcendental method (Kant, ) = Begin with observable facts and work backward Using “Inference to best explanation”, cognitive psychologists ask, “How could these observations have come about?” Cognitive psychologists rely on the fact that mental processes, themselves invisible, have visible consequence.

16 A Major Goal of Cognitive Psychology Good cognitive psychology accomplishes this! To provide precise accounts of the internal processes that are involved in the performance of cognitive tasks

17 The Computer Metaphor What is a model? It is also important to recognize differences between a description at the level of behavior and an explanation using a cognitive model. As we proceed, we will contrast these two analyzes. The explanation using a cognitive model will always refer to an underlying process associated with a structure in the model. In cognitive psychology, the structures and processes of a model are assumed to be inherent to the human mind. However, there are individual differences in how well particular processes function; these differences may come about through genes, brain injury, or practice. A computer, like a mind, has input, processing, and output. We should be able to produce a description of the mind that includes these aspects. A model is a hypothetical account of the structures and processes involved in processing certain stimuli (e.g., faces) such that an outcome (e.g., face recognition) is achieved. It is important to realize that the processes are very often unconscious.

18 Examples of Cognitive Models

19 How do we build models? Four main ways…. 1.Design research that allows inferences about internal processes based on measurable responses or verbal protocols. Often the measurable response is reaction time, errors, or physiological responses such as GSR Example: Study by Shepard & Metzler, 1971 Reaction Time Study Same or Different? Inference: People use an internal mental rotation process to respond

20 2. Examine patterns of brain activity looking for patterns that reflect hypothesized cognitive processes. Uses structural neuroimaging techniques such at fMRI or PET scans. A Second Approach to Building Cognitive Models e.g., semantic vs. episodic memory

21 A Third Approach to Building Cognitive Models 3. Use case studies with appropriate cognitive testing e.g., Dr. S and AB Both suffer from developmental prosopagnosia meaning they have problems recognizing faces Look for dissociations and double dissociation Examples of double dissociations digit span vs. spatial span Williams Syndrome vs. prosopagnosia Have you ever seen these faces before? Do you know what their occupations are? Do you know their names?

22 4. Create computer programs of underlying processes that produce behavior similar to human behavior A Fourth Approach to Building Cognitive Models This approach is used by cognitive scientists in the area of artificial intelligence

23 Important Concepts in Understanding Models Neurological specificity Coding Channel capacity Information buffer Information store Parallel vs. serial processing Modularity


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