July28_09 - 07/28/09 Cognition Psych 1 Principles of...

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1 Psych 1 Principles of Psychology Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas 07/28/09 (a.k.a. thinking): All of the mental activities associated with processing, understanding, remembering and communicating information. We process huge amounts of information, therefore, we organize the way we think about things. To facilitate this, we categorize people, objects or events together when they have important qualities in common, I.e we form concepts . Concepts : mental groupings of similar objects which enable us to convey lots of information efficiently Cognition The concept of food : a category that can be defined as stuff that we eat, stuff that tastes good in our mouths, that alleviates hunger, etc… Cognition Prototypes : a familiar or typical example of a type of item. We compare whatever we’re trying to understand to the prototype and decide whether it has enough in common with the prototype to be included in that category. The concept of skyscraper : a category of things that look kind of like this picture, our prototype of a skyscraper Cognition Conceptual networks : thinking of one thing makes us think of other related things, I.e our knowledge is organized into conceptual networks. It’s difficult to think about something “by itself.” We think in terms of a hierarchy of categories and subcategories. The upper levels of the hierarchy are the more common, broadly shared characteristics. The lower levels are the more distinctive or special characteristics. This simplifies the process of classifying. The theory of Spreading Activation provides an explanation for conceptual Priming : if knowledge is all represented as heirarchical conceptual networks, thinking of one concept facilitates the availability of related conceptual information into the thought process. Cognition Cognition How do we avoid experiencing an ongoing thought train driven by continuous spreading activation from one topic to another? Attention : The ‘spotlight’ of cognition that enables us to focus on some things and to filter out others. Correlates with increased brain sensitivity to certain classes of stimuli. Preattentive processes occur automatically and focus attention towards unusual, unexpected or contrasting information. Attentive processes are effortful and require dedicated serial spotlighting/searching.
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2 Cognition What happens when our Preattentive processes conflicts with an Attentive processes ? The Stroop Effect : interference between reading the word (preattentive) and naming the color (attentive). Reading words is faster (more dominant) than naming colors? naming colors requires more attention than reading words? Cognition What are the limits of attention (perception) with respect to spatial and temporal information? Change blindness
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July28_09 - 07/28/09 Cognition Psych 1 Principles of...

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