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Cognitive Psychology notes fall 2011

Cognitive Psychology notes fall 2011 - Cognitive Psychology...

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Cognitive Psychology Introduction Major Assumptions 1. Mental processes exist a. Vs. behaviorist perspective 2. Mental processes can be studied scientifically a. Vs. subjectivity of introspective method 3. People are active information processors a. Vs. passive recipients of knowledge and experience Nature vs. nurture o Not a dichotomy; nature AND nurture o What is a function of being human and/or a product of our specific genes? And how does our environment shape our genetic predispositions? o Environment does make a difference What are contributions? Rationalism vs. empiricism o Does the mind shape the world or does the world shape the mind? Both are probably happening, just a matter of finding out which does what. Structures vs. processes o Which should we study? Neural bases and static structure or development of processes and how they change Domain generality vs. domain specificity (modularity) o Different color perception based on word in your language for that color is that domain general processes (is this something that has impact across all domains) or is it domain specificity and is specific only to language. o General: influencing wide variety of functions o Specific: influencing only specific functions Nature of mental representation o When you picture something in your brain is the neural process abstract or tangible? I.e. picture a tree is there actually a representation of a tree in our mind? Nature of processing: serial vs. parallel Validity of causal inferences vs. ecological validity o Internal validity: how well controlled is your study? Ruling out all sources of miscellaneous noise so you know that this particular variable caused the changes Can only make these inferences if miscellaneous variables are controlled i.e. alcohol effects: need to control time of day, previous exposure, gender, diff. in lighting, etc. But more controlled it is the less applicable it is to the real world More securely we can say a caused b the less securely we can say it applies to real world Applied vs. basic research
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o Applied: researching things that can be applied to real world and help solve problems in school and whatnot (i.e. best way to memorize things) o Basic: researching things that are interesting and not necessarily life-changing o Question: Should we only research things that can be applied to changing the world or should it be basic and follow what we think is interesting? Biological vs. behavioral methods o Focus on biological happenings in brain or the behavior? Conscious vs. unconscious o How much do we have access to what is driving our beliefs and perception of world and how much is below our level of consciousness and is unknown?
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