Cognition – 2/e Dr. . Daniel B. Willingham

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Feb 23, 2014 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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1

Cognition


2/e


Dr. Daniel B. Willingham

Chapter 1

Cognitive Psychologists’

Approach to Research

PowerPoint by Glenn E. Meyer, Trinity University

©2004 Prentice Hall

2

Why Make Assumptions?

It is difficult to study anything without having some
assumptions about the field.


There are two assumptions people make about studying the mind.


1. The Starting point for study


2. Beliefs about the mind’s working (vision, attention,


memory)


If you know the assumptions


it will be clearer to
you why cognitive psychologists ask the questions
they do.


If you understand
why

they ask the question


you
will better understand the answer!

©2004 Prentice Hall

3

Assumption Examples

1.
What Needs to Be Explained
:

Unconscious processes in vision were not
considered until modern times


the
assumption being that conscious processes
are most important.

2.
Beliefs that Influence Questions
:

If the lens in the eye inverts images, how
come we don’t see the world upside down?

©2004 Prentice Hall

4

How Did Philosophers and Early
Psychologists Study the Mind?


Philosophical Underpinnings



The Beginnings of Modern Psychology



The Response: Behaviorism



Behaviorism’s Success

©2004 Prentice Hall

5

Philosophical Underpinnings


Ancient Greece:



1. Focus on the study of Perception,


Memory and the Nature/Nurture Issue



2. Three Assumptions & Questions Raised:



a. World can be understood & predicted


b. Human are part of the physical world


c. Explanations of the world should rely


on events in the world and not the


supernatural or mystical.


©2004 Prentice Hall

6

Philosophical Underpinnings
-

Continued


Dark Ages and Middle Ages



1. Few Contributions to the Philosophy of

Mind



2. Causes:


a. Rome didn’t value knowledge for it’s



own sake


b. Barbarian invasions, Feudalism,



Decline of cities


c. Ascendance of Church


©2004 Prentice Hall

7

Philosophical Underpinnings
-

Continued


Renaissance through the 19
th

Century



1. Return of the assumptions of the Greeks


that the world can be understood, predicted


and that this was worthwhile.



2. Birth of Modern Science and Scientific Method




a. World can be understood & predicted


b. Human are part of the physical world


c. Explanations of the world should rely


on events in the world and not the


supernatural or mystical.


d. The importance of observations


©2004 Prentice Hall

8

Philosophical Underpinnings
-

Continued

Why didn’t Psychology Started Until 1879?



Humans viewed as nondeterministic


Humans viewed as having free will


This made studying the mind seem futile


Kant: mental processes could not be measured


Empiricists


Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley


The view that most of human knowledge is acquired over


one’s lifetime through experience

.



Nativists
-

Descartes


The view that much of human knowledge is innate


Kant
-

Experience is the teacher but how you experience


depends on native categories

On the Origin of Knowledge


©2004 Prentice Hall

9

Philosophical Underpinnings
-

Continued

Perception



Viewed as Part of the Nativist/Empiricist Debate



Berkeley


even seemingly natural processes like depth


perception need experience


Empiricists


Were Also Associationists


The view that most of human knowledge is acquired over


one’s lifetime through experience

.



Nativists
-

Descartes


The view that much of human knowledge is innate


Kant
-

Experience is the teacher but how you experience


depends on native categories

Memory


©2004 Prentice Hall

10

The Beginnings of Modern Psychology


Founding Fathers
:



Wilhem Wundt


1879


credit for first research
lab dedicated to Psychology



Earlier work by James, Fechner, Weber



However, Wundt really gave Psychology the
official look and feel of a science: textbooks,
symposia, journals, university department, etc.


©2004 Prentice Hall

11

The Beginnings of Modern Psychology
-

Continued


First Schools




Structuralism (Wundt) :

a. Metaphor was the periodic table of chemistry

b. Goal was the describe the structures

of thought


Functionalism (James) :

Emphasis on function of mental processes

as compared to structures


Both Schools used Introspection:


Wundt’s Introspectionism:The method entails observing one’s


thought processes, but it was deemed important that a more


experienced introspectionist train a novice in the method


James : Less dogmatic in his approach.

©2004 Prentice Hall

12

The Response: Behaviorism


Introspectionism was unsuccessful!



Watson


starts a new direction in psychology


Behaviorism (1913)


“Psychology

as

the

behaviorist

views

it

is

a

purely

objective

experimental

branch

of

natural

science
.

Its

theoretical

goal

is

the

prediction

and

control

of

behavior
.

Introspection

forms

no

essential

part

of

its

methods,

nor

is

the

scientific

value

of

its

data

dependent

upon

the

readiness

with

which

they

lend

themselves

to

interpretation

in

terms

of

consciousness
.




from

Psychology

as

the

Behaviorist

Views

it
.

©2004 Prentice Hall

13

The Response Continued:

Four Principles of Behaviorism

1.
Psychologists should focus only on that which is
available.

2.
Psychologists should explain behavior, not
thought or consciousness.

3.
Theories should be as simple as possible.

4.
The overarching goal of psychology is to break
down behavior into irreducible constructs


the
building blocks of behavior. Watson’s candidate
was the conditioned reflex.


©2004 Prentice Hall

14

Behaviorism’s Successes


Offered the idea of the
reflex

as a basic unit of
behavior


Pavlov’s Study of Classical Conditioning:


Unconditioned Stimulus, Unconditioned Response,
Conditioned Stimulus, Conditioned Response


the Classic
Dog Salivation Paradigm


Operant Conditioning:


Learning whereby the animal (or person) makes a
response that has consequences (e.g., reward or
punishment). These consequences change the probability
that the response will be made again.


©2004 Prentice Hall

15

How Do Cognitive Psychologists
Study the Mind?


What Behaviorism Couldn’t Do


Failures of Behaviorism to Account for
Human Behavior


The Computer Metaphor and Information
Processing


The Behaviorist Response


Abstract Constructs in Other Fields


So What, Finally, Is the Cognitive
Perspective?


©2004 Prentice Hall

16

What Behaviorism Couldn’t Do.


Lacked utility in WWII human factor applications



Couldn’t deal with ethological principles (Lorenz):



a. Fixed action patterns



Complex behaviors in which an animal engages despite very limited
opportunities for practice or reward. Usually taken as evidence for
innate or inborn learning.




b. Critical periods



A window of opportunity during which a particular type of learning
will be easy for the organism. If the critical period is missed, however,
the learning will be difficult or even impossible.




©2004 Prentice Hall

17

Failures of Behaviorism to Account for
Human Behavior


Problem with human behaviors such as Language :



Chomsky’s Criticisms of Skinner’s
Verbal Behavior




a. Whitehead’s problem of the ‘Scorpion on the Table’


b. Generative nature of language



Didn’t Explain Memory Phenomena such as Bousfield
(1953) demonstration of retrieval strategies.



Example
-

Try to recall ten minutes from now:



Lion, onion, Bill, firefighter, carrot, zebra, John, clerk,
Tim, nurse, cow.



©2004 Prentice Hall

18

The Computer Metaphor and
Information Processing


Importance of Metaphor in Psychological Theories



Descartes


Nervous System to Hydraulics



19
th

Century


Brain to a Telephone Switch Board



Hebb (1949)


Neural function to solenoids and capacitors



1950’s


Computer Metaphor for the Mind

1. Artificial Intelligence and computer usage of symbols


applied to psychology models


2. Computer use of
representation

of symbols and
processes

to


manipulate them give insight into study of the mind


3. Hardware/software division in computers applied to brain/


mind


©2004 Prentice Hall

19

The Computer Metaphor
-

Continued


The Information Processing Model:



Three Assumptions of Information Processing:

1.
Humans are processors of information like
computers and information processing supports
thought and behavior

2.
Representation and processes that operate on
these representation underlie information
processing

3.
Information processing occurs within largely
isolate modules which are organized into stages of
processing

An approach to studying the human mind. It assumes that humans are
processors of information, and that representations and processing
operating on them underlie cognition. Assumes also that information is
processed in stages.

©2004 Prentice Hall

20

The Behaviorist Response


Information Processing Models relay on
abstract constructs

( theoretical sets of processes and representations that you
think are useful in explaining some data
).

For example


short term memory


Behaviorists have three objections to abstract constructs

1.
Constructs can be circular

2.
They divert attention from behavior


which is the true subject matter of
psychology, not thought

3.
They are impossible to verify as they are
not observable

©2004 Prentice Hall

21

Abstract Constructs in Other Fields


Abstract Concepts are used freely and with
rigor in other fields


Artificial Intelligence



Newell and Simon (1956) program to prove
formal logic theorems


Neuroscience


Tying brain structure to behavioral problems


Ex.


Patient H.M. and the abstract concept

of Short Term Memory

©2004 Prentice Hall

22

So What, Finally, Is the Cognitive
Perspective?


Behaviorism could account for all human
abilities, especially language and memory


Abstract constructs could help in
understanding


Neuroscience and A.I. successfully use
abstract constructs


The interactions of representations and
processes can be compared to a computer


©2004 Prentice Hall

23

Cognitive Perspective
-

Continued


Chief Assumptions

1.
There are representations and
processes that operate on them

2.
We can discover them

©2004 Prentice Hall