Ch 4 - Cognition, Language Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Ch 4 - Cognition, Language Deck (51):


  • how brain processes and reacts to information in the world
  • large frontal lobe accounts for humans greater cognition


dual coding theory

both verbal and visual associations are used to process and store information


information processing model

  • thinking requires sensation, encoding, and storage
  • stimuli must be analyzed by the brain - not automatically responded to
  • situational modification - use one situation to help solve another problem
  • problem solving is dependent on cognitive level, context, and complexity of situation


cognitive development

  • development of ability to think adn solve problems across the lifespan
  • children first master physical tasks and the environment
  • then abstract thinking
  • Piagets Stages of Cognitive Development
    • sensorimotor
    • preoperational
    • concrete operational
    • formal operational


About Jean Piaget model

  • infants learn via instintual interaction with the environment
  • schema - organized pattern of behavior and thought
    • concepts, behaviors, sequence of events
  • adaptation - new information placed into different schemas
    • assimilation - classify new info into existing schema
    • accommodation - modify existing schema to encompass new info


Sensorimotor stage

  • birth - 2yo
  • manipulate environment to meet needs
  • primary circular reactions - repetition of body movements that occured by chance
  • secondary circular reactions - manipulation focused on something outside of the body
    • used to get response from environment
  • object permanence - understand that objects exist even when out of view
    • marks end of this stage
    • representational thought - create mental representations of external objects and events


preoperational stage

  • 2yo - 7yo
  • symbolic thinking - pretend, play make believe, imagination
  • egocentrism - inability to imagine what another person may think
  • centration - focus on only one aspect of a phenomenon
    • conservation - ability to understand more than one aspect of an object
    • children lack conservation when they think a taller cup of water always has more water than a shorter fatter cup


concrete operational stage

  • 7yo - 11yo
  • understand conservation
  • consider prospective of others
  • logical thought applied to concrete objects


formal operational stage

  • 11yo +
  • think logically about abstract ideas
  • problem solve


cultural effect on cognitive development

  • influence rate of development
  • influence areas of focus such as social learning, cultural traditions, knowledge
  • Lev Vygotsky - cognitive development is determined by internalization of culture, interpersonal and societal rules, symbols, language


Cognitive change with aging

  • fluid intelligence - problem solving skills
    • peak in early adulthood, decline with age
  • crystallized intelligence - learned skills and knowledge
    • peak in mid adulthood, decline with age
  • activities of daily living - eating, bathing, dressing, mobility
    • linked to intelletual ability
    • education, socailization, stimulation protect from decline in intelligence
  • dementia - caused by loss of intellet and then loss of function
    • maybe caused by vascular dementia - high blood pressure and microscopici closts that cause stroke
    • Alzheimers causes dementia



  • rapid fluctuation in cognitive function that is reversible and caused by medical causes
    • electrolyte/pH disturbance, malnutrition, low blood sugar, drug reaction, alcohol withdrawal, pain


Factors that effect cognitive development

  • brain disorders, genetics, chromosomal conditions, metabolic derangements, long term drug use, environment
  • parenting style
  • chemical exposure, illness, injury, trauma during birth (reduce oxygen to brain)
  • fetal alcohol syndrome
  • shaken baby syndrome


Fetal alcohol syndrome

  • skin fold at corner of eyes
  • low nasal bridge
  • short nose
  • no groove between upper lip and nose
  • small head
  • small eye openings
  • small midface
  • thin upper lip
  • slowed cognitive development


mental set

approach similar problems in the same way

can limit abstract problem solving


functional fixedness

inability to consider how to use an object in a nontraditional manner


Types of problem solving

  • trial and error - effective when limited number of solutions
  • algorithms - formula or procedure
    • mathematical or set of instructions
  • deductive reasoning - top down reasoning, draw conclusions based on information and rules given
  • inductive reasoning - bottom up reasoning, create theory via generalizations


heuristics effect on problem solving

  • rules of thumb - simplified principles used to make decisions
  • availability heuristic - how likely is something
    • how easily can similar instances be imagined
  • representativeness heuristics - categorizing items on basis of if they fit into prototypical, stereotypical, or representative images of the category
    • base rate fallacy - using prototypical or stereotypical factors while ignoring numerical info/statistics


bias and overconfidence effect on problem solving

  • disconfirmation principle - evidence from testing showed the solution doesnt work
  • confirmation bias - tendency to focus on information that fits an individuals beliefs and rejects info against them
    • overconfidence - interpret decision, knowledge and beliefs as infallible
  • belief perserverance - inability to reject particular belief despite clear evidence against it


intuition effect on problem solving

  • act on perceptions that may not be supported by evidence
  • may improve with experience
  • recognition-primed decision model - sort through info to match a pattern that has been seen in the past


emotion effect on problem solving

  • subjective experience of a person in a certain situation
  • influences problem solving


multiple intelligences

  • 7 types of intelligence
  • linguistic and logical math
    • 2 most valued in western culture. tested on IQ test
  • musical
  • visual spatial
  • bodily kinesthetic
  • interpersonal
  • intrapersonal




  • intelligence quotient
  • Alfred Binet
    • Stanford-Binet IQ test
  • IQ = (mental age / chronological age) * 100
  • g factor - general intelligence factor
    • performance on cognitive tasks are correlated to a factor that is measured by an IQ test
  • Intellect is hereditary
  • effected by education



level of awareness of the world and ones existence within the world

  • states - alertness, sleep, dreaming, altered state
    • altered - sickness, dementia, delirium, coma



  • awake and able to think
  • EEG shows brain in waking state
  • high cortisol levels
  • reticular formation - in brainstem
    • communicate with cortex to keep it awake
    • disruption results in a coma



  • studying using an EEG - avergae electrical pattern
  • 90 minute cycles
  • beta waves - high frequency, alert and tending to mental task, concentration. Neurons randomly firing
  • alpha waves - awake and relaxing with eyes closed, slower than beta, synchronized
  • stage 1 - theta waves - slow frequency and irregular, high voltage
  • stage 2 - theta waves with sleep spindles (rapid waves) and K complexes (spikes)
  • stage 3 and 4 - slow wave sleep  (SWS)
    • delta waves - low frequency high voltage
    • hard to wake someone up
    • cognitive recovery, declarative memory consolidation, increase growth hormone release
  • Stage 1 - 4 are nonrapid eye movement (NREM)
  • REM sleep - between cycles of NREM
    • paradoxical sleep - EEG, HR, breathing mimics wakefulness but person is asleep
    • procedural memory consolidation


sleep cycles

  • 50 min in children, more time in SWS
  • 90 min in adults
  • complete progression through sleep stages
  • SWS dominates in early night
  • REM dominates later
  • disrupted sleep - memory loss, decrease cognitive ability, mood, motor skills


Circadian Rhythms

  • daily internal cycle or sleep/wake
  • 24hrs
  • melatonin - produced by pineal gland that is controlled by hypothalamus
  • decrease light - retina send message to hypothalamus and more melatonin secreted by pineal gland
  • cortisol - from adrenal cortex, slowly increase in morning due to increased light
    • corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) from hypothalamus
    • CRF causes adrenocorticotropic hormine (ACTH) from anterior pituitary gland that stimulates cortisol release
    • causes wakefulness



  • 75% in REM
  • activation-synthesis theory - caused by widespread, random neural activation
    • cortex tries to put together random thoughts - bizarre dreams
  • problem solving dream theory - untethered by rules, new solutions
  • cognitive process dream theory - sleeping counter part of consciousness
  • neurocognitive models - unify bio and psych by correlating cognitive with measured physiological changes



  • difficult to sleep or avoid sleep
  • insomnia - difficulty falling asleep
    • related to anxiety, depression, medication
  • narcolepsy - lack of control over onset of sleep
    • cataplexy - loss of muscle control and sudden REM sleep, emotional trigger possible
    • sleep paralysis - unable to move while being awake
    • hypnagogic/hypnopompic hallucinations - while going to sleep or awakening
  • sleep apnea - inability to breathe while sleeping
    • obstructive
    • central - brain fails to send signals to diaphragm



  • night terrors - intense anxiety during SWS, child hard to wake
  • sleepwalking/somnambulism - during SWS
    • often no recollection and return to bed
  • sleep deprivation - irritability, mood disturbance, decrease performance, slow reaction time
    • REM rebound - earlier onset and greater REM



  • appear to be in control, but in a highly suggestible state
  • hypnotic induction - relax subject and increase subjects concentration



  • quieting of the mind
  • buddhism, hinduism, Taoism, Judaism
  • decreased heart rate and blood pressure
  • EEG similar to stage 1 of sleep



reduce nervous system activity

relaxation and reduced anxiety


Barbiturates and benzodiazepines


Alcohol as a depressant

  • increase activity of GABA receptor, Cl- channel that causes hyperpolarization
    • brain inhibition, diminished arousal
  • increase dopamine - mild euphoria
  • alcohol myopia - inability to recognize consequences of actions, short sighted view of the world
  • widely abused
  • alcoholism - runs in families, higher in low SES
    • children of alcoholism parents are more likley to suffer from major depressive disorder
    • cirrhosis, pancreatic damage, ulcers, GI cancer, brain disorders
    • Werniche-Korsakoff Syndrome - deficiency of thiamine
      • severe memory impairment, change mental status, loss of motor skills


Barbiturates and Benzodiazapines

  • barb - used to reduce anxiety and improve sleep
  • replaced by benzodiazepines - less prone to OD
  • increase GABA activity and cause relaxation
  • highly addictive
  • can OD when used with alcohol



  • increase arousal
  • increase frequency of action potentials
  • amphetamines - increase release dopamine, norepi, serotonin and decrease reuptake
    • reduce appetite, decrease sleep, increase HR and BP
    • euphoria, hypervigilance, anxiety, paranoia
    • suffer from withdrawal
  • cocaine - coca plant, decrease reuptae of dopamine, norepi, serotonin
    • simliar to amphetamines
    • anesthetic and vasocontrict
      • can lead to heart attack and stroke
    • crack - smoked, highly addictive
  • ectasy (MDMA) - hallucinogen plus amphetamine
    • increase HR, BP, blurry vision, nausea, hyperthermia, euphoria
    • sense of well being and connectedness



  • opium derivatives, poppy plant
  • bind to opiod receptors in PNS and CNS
  • opiates - naturally occuring forms
    • morphine, codeine
  • opioids - semisynthetic derivatives - oxycodone, hydrocodone, heroin
    • decreased reaction to pain, sense of euphoria
    • OD via respiratory depression
    • heroin - metabolized to morphine
  • methadone - long acting opiod with lower risk of OD



  • Lysergic acid diethylamide
  • distort reality adn fantasy
  • increase HR and BP, sweating, dilate pupils, increase body temp



  • THC - tetrahydrocannabinol
  • acts on cannabinoid, glycine, and opioid receptors
  • inhibits GABA activity increase dopamine
  • increase HR, decrease BP, increase eat, impair short term memory, dry mouth, fatigue, eye redness


Drug addiction

  • dopaminergic pathway
  • mesolimbic reward pathway - nucleaus accumbens (NAc), central tegmental area (VTA), connected by the medial forebrain bundle (MFB)
  • activated by substances that produce psychological dependence (love, gambling)


selective attention

  • focusing on one part of sensorium (sensory environment) while ignoring other stimuli
  • cocktail party phenomenon - engaged in conversation and paying attention, yet perceive your name stated across the room
  • focus on one stimuli, but process other stimuli in the background


divided attention

  • multi tasking
  • controlled (effortful) processing - require undivided attention
  • automatic processing - familiar or routine tasks


Components of language

  • phonology - actual sound of language
    • 40 speech sounds called phonemes
    • categorical perception - ability to distinguish between different pronunciations and different meanings
      • example of constancy
  • morphology - structure of words
    • morphemes - parts of words
  • semantics - association of meaning to the world
  • syntax - how words form sentences
  • pragmatics - dependence of language on context and pre-existing knowledge
    • prosody - rhythm, cadence, inflection of voice


Language development

  • 9mon - 12 mon - babbling
  • 12mon - 18 mon - one word per month
    • important for parent ot identify meaning. follow gestures, inflection, context
  • 18 - 20 mon - explosion of language, combine words. Context less important
  • 2 - 3yo - longer sentences, more vocab, more grammar errors
    • errors of growth - apply grammar rule incorrectly
  • mastered by age 5


Nativist Theory of Language

  • biological
  • Noam Chomsky
  • innate capacity for language
  • transformational grammar - syntactic transformations, change word order
  • language acquisition device (LAD) - theoretical pathway in brain allows infants to process and absorb language rules
  • critical period - between 2yo and puberty, exposure to language is required. If no exposure then later attempt will not be successful
  • sensitive period - environmental input has mac effect on development
    • more reasonable then critical period


learning theory of language

  • Behaviorist
  • BF Skinner
  • via operant conditioning
    • reinforcement - sounds reinforced and used repeatedly by parents are used by infant
    • cannot explain explosion of vocab at 18-20months


social interactionist theory

  • interplay between bio and social processes
  • driven by childs desire to communicate and behave in social manner
  • bio develops and children exposed to language ... then interacts with others and it is reinforced


Influence of language on cognition

  • psycholinguistics - language and thinking relationship
  • Whorfian hypothesis (linguistic relativity hyposthesis) - our perception is determined by content of language
  • language effects how we think
  • more vocabulary and language framework - more processinga and enhanced communication


Brain area for language

  • dominant hemisphere (typically left)
  • Brocas area - inferior frontal gyrus of frontal lobe - motor function of speech, connected to motor cortex
  • Wernickes area - superior temporal gyrus of temporal lobe - language comprehension
  • 2 areas connected by arcuate fasciculus
  • aphasia - deficit of language production
    • Broca's (expressive) aphasia - effect spoken language, word on tip of tongue
    • Wernickes (receptive) aphasia - lose of speech comprehension, speak random words and sounds
    • conduction aphasia - damaged arcuate fasciculus, unable to repeat something that has been said