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Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER 14 – PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE IN THE POST-WAR ERA (GOODWIN) Dr. Nancy Alvarado."— Presentation transcript:


2 Post-War Psychology  The most important development in psychology after WWII was modern cognitive psychology.  The change was evolutionary, not revolutionary, emerging from but not replacing behaviorism.  Goodwin also describes 4 other prominent areas of research, highlighting the work of one key person:  Physiological or neuropsychology – Donald Hebb  Social psychology – Leon Festinger  Personality psychology – Gordon Allport  Developmental psychology – Jean Piaget

3 Early Cognitivists  Pioneers studying memory, attention, perception and thinking in the 19 th century included Ebbinghaus, Wundt, Kulpe, Wertheimer & Titchener.  In the 20 th century the methods were different and models were based on the computer (as metaphor).  Some psychologists starting calling themselves “cognitive psychologists.”  Even during the behaviorist 30’s & 40’s cognitive studies were done in the USA (Stroop) and especially in Europe (Piaget & Bartlett).

4 Frederick C. Bartlett (1886-1969)  In 1932, Bartlett published “Remembering: A study in Experimental and Social Psychology” describing his dissertation studies done 15 years earlier.  He earned his doctorate at Cambridge, then became head of the Psychology Laboratory, one of the first experimental psych labs in Great Britain.  Although he also worked on animal learning and applied studies (pilot fatigue), his reputation rests on his memory research.

5 Frederick Bartlett

6 Bartlett on Memory  Bartlett criticized the usefulness of Ebbinhaus’s work.  Memorizing nonsense syllables by rote is too artificial.  Research should focus on the person not the stimuli.  People do not passively form associations but actively organize material into meaningful wholes called schemata (plural for schema).  He demonstrated this in two experiments described by Goodwin (Chapter 14).

7 Military Men on Postcards  Bartlett showed subjects a series of 6 drawings of military men (see pg 468). He then asked them to describe the drawings. He found:  Serial position effect – first and last best remembered.  No memory for whether facing left or right.  Transposition of detail from one picture to another.  Intrusions (importation) of details not actually there.  Responses were affected by leading questions.  His results were presented without detail on method.

8 The War of the Ghosts  Participants were given a 328 word Native Amer. folk tale to read twice and then reproduce 15 minutes later and also hours to months later.  Total recall declined.  What was recalled was shaped by the need to form a coherent understandable story in the context of their own cultural knowledge (schemata – concepts).  Memory was an active process of construction.  In the 1960s, the significance of this work became more appreciated – it is now widely accepted.

9 Karl Spencer Lashley (1890-1958)  Lashley studied with Yerkes and Watson, then became a professor at Harvard University.  He became a critic of S-R and associatist theories in a talk on the “serial order” problem.  Mental representation is needed to explain language.  Serial sequences of speech or movement require too fast a neural analysis to be based on simple contiguity.  Speech is more complex than simple chains of sounds, so the brain must be exercising organizational control over patterns of behavior.

10 Other Influences  The development of computer science provided a metaphor for brain functioning:  A computer takes in info from the environment, processes it internally, and produces some output.  John von Neuman presented this analogy in 1948.  Atkinson & Shiffrin presented a flowchart of memory analogous to computer processing.  Shannon & Weaver introduced “information theory” in “The Mathematical Theory of Communication” in 1949.

11 A Model of Memory Processing A Joke

12 Shannon & Weaver  Information theory was important to both computer science and psychology.  They introduced the concept of a “bit” – binary digit with the logical operators of true and false and two states, on and off.  A coin toss contains one bit of information because it decides between heads and tails.  The bit provides a way of standardizing information regardless of what form it takes (coin toss, numbers, letters, etc).

13 Noam Chomsky  The development linguistics, especially at MIT by Chomsky, further undermined behaviorism.  Skinner tried to put language into operant terms.  Chomsky wrote a highly critical review of Skinner’s book, saying language development is too fast for conditioning to be relevant.  Language came to be viewed as behavior governed by application of a hierarchical set of rules called a grammar – innate linguistic universals.  Grammar can generate an infinity of unique utterances.

14 George A. Miller  Miller recognized the relevance of information theory for psychology.  He studied the difficulty hearing spoken messages while sitting in loud airplanes at Harvard.  “The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information.”  Bits and channel capacity can describe limits on human processing, such as the limited capacity of memory.  The term “chunk” captures the idea that the information in bits can vary widely. “Recoding” reorganizes data.

15 Donald Broadbent (1926-1993)  Broadbent applied information theory to the study of attention.  Engineers did not take into account human pilots when designing airline cockpit instrumentation, causing errors.  He pioneered modern attention research with the dichotic listening task in which people hear two channels of information (one in each ear).  He proposed a selective filter to explain the cocktail party phenomenon.

16 The TOTE Model  Miller, Galanter & Pribram (a student of Lashley) developed a model of how plans operate on images to guide behavior.  Called TOTE (Test-Operate-Test-Exit) and based on the idea of feedback from cybernetics (computer science). See example pg 479 for hammering nail.  This feedback system was proposed as an alternative for the reflex arc hypothesized by behaviorists.

17 TOTE Model for Slicing Carrots

18 Ulric Neisser  Momentum for cognitive approaches continued to build in the 1960s – Neisser published “Cognitive Psychology” in 1967, naming the approach.  Neisser studied with Miller at Harvard, then Kohler at Swarthmore, then MIT and Harvard again.  Cognitive psychology is the experimental study of all cognitive processes – “those processes by which sensory input is transformed, reduce, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used.”

19 Evolution of Cognitive Psychology  New journals appeared in the 70’s & 80’s.  Neisser urged greater ecological validity – research with relevance to every day activities.  In response, Loftus studied eyewitness testimony, Bahrick studied long-term recall of school material.  Cognitive science was created – an interdisciplinary field including cognitive psych, linguistics, computer science, cultural anthropology & epistemology.

20 Artificial Intelligence (AI)  AI is an applied field attempting to enable machines to act with some degree of intelligence.  Herb Simon and Alan Newell collaborated on a General Problem Solver (GPS) aimed at solving a broad range of problems.  An algorithm is a set of rules for obtaining a solution. A heuristic is a more creative strategy, not guaranteed to work but more efficient than an algorithm.  The GPS used means-end analysis as a heuristic, with feedback about goal status.

21 The Turing Test  The more dominant approach in AI is now to create a program that solves a problem in the most efficient way, not necessarily the way people do.  This has led to the question of testing whether computers can be intelligent or learn to think, posed by Alan Turing in 1950 as an “imitation game.”  Strong AI proposes computers can think as people do. Weak AI proposes that computers can yield important insights about human thinking.  Searle described the Chinese Room problem.

22 Evaluating Cognitive Psychology  Skinner was a vocal critic, objecting to hypothetical mental mechanisms like STM that become frozen into “explanatory fictions.”  Attributing memory failure to limited STM explains nothing.  The computer metaphor ignores emotion, motivation and intentionality.  It also ignores neurological reality (although this is less true today as models are tested against neuroscience).

23 The Brain and Behavior  How does the firing of neurons in the brain actually result in psychological experience?  Psychologists concentrated on finding relationships between physical and mental events.  Lashley’s conclusions that the brain operated as an integrated system dampened brain research.  Equipotentiality – all areas of the brain work together.  Behaviorist emphasis on behavior, not the person, eliminated the need for physiological explanations.

24 Donald O. Hebb (1904-1985)  Interest in studying the functioning of the brain was rekindled by Hebb, a student of Lashley’s.  As a student, Hebb was skeptical of Pavlov’s model of the cortex.  He worked with Wilder Penfield on surgical treatment of epilepsy – results contradicted Lashley’s idea of equipotentiality.  Early childhood experiences are important to intelligence but adult injury does not reverse it later.

25 Hebb’s Theory  Hebb proposed that cortical organization occurs through “cell assemblies” and “phase sequences.”  Cell assembly is the basic unit, a set of associated neurons that work together because activated together.  Phase sequences incorporate several cell assemblies. They account for why stimuli do not simply produce responses but are mediated by the brain.  Repeated stimulation produces structural changes at the synaptic level – Hebb’s rule.  Interest was renewed in the study of brain-behavior.

26 Leon Festinger (1919-1989)  Festinger studied at the Univ. of Iowa under Kurt Lewin. During WWII he was a statistician then rejoined Lewin at MIT.  After Lewin died, he moved to the U. of Michigan, U. of Minnesota, then Stanford University in1955, then the New School for Social Research in NY in 1968.  He is remembered for developing the theory of cognitive dissonance.  People are motivated to be consistent in their thoughts, feelings and actions and feel discomfort otherwise.

27 Leon Festinger People are motivated to seek consistency between their beliefs, feelings and actions, to reduce cognitive dissonance.

28 Festinger’s Contributions  Festinger created an experimental tradition in social psychology of using elaborately staged and deceptive research settings, to get “true” reactions.  Festinger & Carlsmith administered a boring task, then asked subjects to tell the next person it was interesting.  Participants were paid either $1 or $20 for the lie.  Those paid $20 later thought the expt was still boring but those paid $1 changed their opinions because $1 was insufficient justification for being dishonest.  Festinger used ANOVA to analyze his data.

29 Personality Psychology  Most of psychology is nomothetic – attempting to find principles that affect humans in general.  An alternative approach is idiographic – focusing on a detailed analysis of how individuals differ.  This distinction is attributed to Gordon Allport, but Hugo Munsterberg also used the terms which go back to German philosopher Windelband.  Personality psychology focuses on individuals in order to find general principles about how they differ.

30 Gordon Allport (1897-1967)  Gordon Allport published “Personality: A Psychological Interpretation” in 1937, creating personality psychology as a subfield.  His brother Floyd did the same for Social Psychology.  His study was taboo at Harvard where Titchener’s approach was dominant.  He taught at Harvard in a new dept of Social Ethics, then Dartmouth, then Harvard for the remainder of his career.

31 Gordon Allport The influence of Allport’s work on psychology is close to Skinner’s.

32 Allport’s Conception of Personality  The basic unit of personality was the trait – a particular pattern of thinking, feeling and behaving characteristic of a person, different than others.  Cardinal traits were attributes dominant in a person.  Central traits provide a reasonable accurate summary description of an individual (letter of recommendation).  Secondary traits, less manifested, known only to friends.  Allport advocated use of the case study as method.  Allport rejected psychoanalysis and Freud’s emphasis on sex, and he rejected projective tests.

33 Jean Piaget (1896-1980)  While working on standardizing a reasoning test developed by Cyril Burt, Piaget had more interest in the thinking processes of kids than their answers.  Especially revealing were wrong answers.  Piaget began interviewing children about how they solved problems, concluding that kids think differently than adults, not just know less.  This led to his stage theory of cognitive development.

34 Jean Piaget

35 Piaget’s Genetic Epistemology  He referred to his approach as genetic epistemology – genetic refers to developmental processes not heredity (as G.S. Hall used the term).  He asked, “how do schemata develop in the individual”  He believed children were active formulators, not passive recipients of their experiences.  Knowledge structures are formed as wholes that cannot be reduced to their elements (like Gestalt psychologists)  He established a research institute at the University of Geneva in the 1950s and remained there.


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