PSYC 213 TEXTBOOK NOTES Chapter 1 Cognitive Psychology and Information Processing - Study of human cognition has advanced in 3 stages o (1) 1950s/60s – progress by traditional psychophysics (sci. investigation of the relationship between sensation + stimulus) and experimental psychology o (2) 1970s – computational analysis, arrival of cognitive science o (3) 1980s – evidence from neuropsychology and animal neurophysiology, increase in brain imaging techniques - Foundation to cognitive psychology = idea that world contains information to be processed o Bit = ‘binary digit’, most basic unit of information o Every event that occurs in a situation with two equally likely outcomes provides 1 ‘bit’ of information i.e. coin toss - Many people consider – attending, comprehending, remembering, manipulating #s – ‘thinking’ o To psychologists they are aspects of info processing – the subject matter of Cog Psyc Information Theory - Concept of info processing = idea that information reduces uncertainty in the mind of the receiver - The amount of information provided by a given message is proportional to the probability that that particular message will occur - Idea underlying info processing theory = info provided by a particular message is not solely determined by its content, but rather a whole array of possible messages of which this particular message is just one o Aka – the amount of info a message conveys is an increasing function of the number of possible messages from which that message could have been selected o Aka – information theory = the theory that the info provided by a particular event is inversely related to the probability of its occurrence The less likely it is, the more info it conveys Early Tests of Information Theory - Hick (1952) – o Measured time it took for participants to react to occurrence of one of a set of possible signals o 10 lights, had to press keys o FOUND: Time taken to respond decreased as the number of stimuli increased
The more info a signal provides, the longer it takes for subject to process and produce response - Hyman (1953) – o (1) Asked to make verbal response to varying number of lights o FOUND: Increasing number of equally probable alternatives from 1-8 increased response time o (2) Made occurrence of some signals more frequent o FOUND: Response time to frequent signals reduced, and infrequent increased o (3) Introduced sequential dependences i.e. certain lights followed others, but overall probability was kept the same o FOUND: Faster responses as a signal’s probability increased and slower as it decreased o Overall findings: Reaction response time is not determined solely by the stimulus, but by the complex of situations of which that particular signal was just one It takes longer to react to improbable stimulus (conveys more info) than to a probable stimulus (conveys less info) Limitations on Information-Processing - Hick and Hyman show that it takes time to translate visual signal to key push / verbal -
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