Introduction to Cognitive Psychology Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Introduction to Cognitive Psychology Deck (27):

In the 1800s, ideas about the mind were dominated by the belief that it is not possible to study the mind. What was the rationale behind this idea?

One reason given was that it is not possible for the mind to study itself, or that properties of the mind could not be measured.


The Dutch physiologist Franciscus Donders conducted experiments in 1868 that today would be seen as experiments of cognitive psychology. Which experiments?

He made a comparison between a simple reaction time task and a choice reaction task, and inferred that the time it took to make the choice would be the difference between the two.


Franciscus Donders' reaction time experiments points to one of cognitive psychology's greatest weaknesses, which?

That a lot of mental responses can't (yet) be measured directly, but must be inferred from observing behaviour.


Hermann Ebbinghaus was interested in determining the nature of memory and forgetting. How did he go about measuring these concepts?

He presented nonsense syllables to himself, one at a time, in a ordered list. He would try to guess the next syllable, and score himself based on the percent of correctly recalled syllables. In his experiments, he would vary the delay interval.


What was the name of the device Ebbinghaus created to produce his nonsense syllables?

Memory drum.


Wilhelm Wundt founded the first laboratory of scientific psychology in (year)....



Wilhelm Wundt founded the first laboratory of scientific psychology in 1879. Where?

In Leipzig, Germany.


Wilhelm Wundt's approach, which dominated psychology in the late 1800s and early 1900s was called...



Give a short explanation of structuralism.

According to structuralism, our overall experience is determined by combining basic elements of experience the structuralists called sensations.


Why was John Watson so dissatisfied with the method of introspection?

1. It produced extremely variable results from person to person.
2. These results were difficult to verify because they were interpreted in terms of invisible inner mental processes.


What is the most famous study that Watson did?

Watson's most famous experiment was the "little Albert experiment" in which Watson and Rosalie Rayner (1920) subjected Albert, a 9-month-old-boy, to a loud noise every time a rat (which Albert had originally liked) came close to the child. After a few pairings of the noise with the rat, Albert had reacted to the rat by crawling away as rapidly as possible.


In the midst of behaviourism's dominance of American psychology, B. F. Skinner, a young graduate student at Harvard, provided another tool for behaviourism, which insured this approach would dominate psychology for decades to come. What tool, and how did that tool work?

Skinner introduced operant conditioning, which focused on how behaviour is strengthened by the presentation of positive reinforcers, such as food or social approval (or withdrawal of negative reinforcers).


Edward Chance Tolman called himself a behaviorist, but is now seen as an early cognitive psychologist. Why?

Because the used behaviour to infer mental processes.


Mention one of Tolman's experiments.

In one of his experiments, Tolman (1938) placed a rat in a maze with a cross-shape. Initially the rat explored the maze, running up and won each of the alleys. After this initial period of exploration, the rat was placed at one point and food at another. The rat quickly learned to turn right at the intersection to obtain the food. When placed at another alley, it would turn left (or straight ahead) to obtain the food. Holman used this behaviour to infer the existence of a mental map.


Quickly outline the behaviorist's thoughts on language learning.

B. F. Skinner publicised a book in 1957 called "Verbal Behavior". In this book, Skinner argued that children learn language through operant conditioning. According to this idea, children imitate speech that they hear and repeat correct speech because it is rewarded.


A linguist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote a scathing review of Skinner's "Verbal Behavior". Whom?

Noam Chomsky.


What was Noam Chomskys main arguments against Skinner's idea of operant conditioning as the main function of language learning?

1. Children say sentences they have never been rewarded for saying. Aka, they create new sentences.
2. Children overgeneralise grammar rules. They may conjugate a verb according to a rule, even though they've never heard anyone use this conjugation (because it is false).


Roughly outline Chomsky's idea of language development.

Chomsky saw language development as being determined not by imitation or reinforcement, but by an inborn biological program that holds across cultures.


Why does Chomsky's idea of language development pose a problem for behaviourism?

Because it led psychologists to reconsider the idea that complex behaviours (like language) can be explained by operant conditioning. Instead, they began to realise that to understand complex cognitive behaviours, it is necessary not only to measure observable behaviour, but also to consider what this behaviour tells us about how the mind works.


How was psychology changed by the emergence of the digital computer?

They lead to a new way to look at the mind: as a computer that we don't know how works. But they probably work similarly if they perform similar tasks?


Mention a particularly early experiment in cognitive psychology.

The British psychologist Colin Cherry (1953) conducted an experiment where he would present to messages simultaneously, one to each ear of the participant. They were told to attend to only one ear, and did so with ease.


Explain why Colin Cherry's experiment (1953) on selective attention was so important for the early field of cognitive psychology.

Because the results of this experiment led another British psychologist, Donald Broadbent (1958), to propose the first flow diagram of the mind. Broadbent's flow diagram provided a way to analyse the operation of the mind in terms of a sequence of processing stages, and proposed a model that could be tested by further experiments.


What is a critique of flow diagrams for explaining the processing going on in the mind?

By testing these models you can achieve as accurate a metaphor as possible, but it is still not ontologically what happens in the brain. It's just a model, although an accurate one.


The first occurrence of the term artificial intelligence was where?

John McCarthy, a young professor of mathematics at Dartmouth organised a conference titled: "Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence".


McCarthy defined the artificial intelligence approach as...

"making a machine behave in ways that would be called intelligent if a human were so behaving".


What is meant by "memory consolidation"?

Learning as in making memories that are in fragile states become strengthened into a strong memory that is more resistant.


Mention a study on memory consolidation.

Steffan Gais et al (2006) had high school students learn a list of words and varied the time between the learning and sleeping between groups. The group that went to sleep within 3 hours remembered a lot more. Aka. Memory consolidation was stronger.