Cognitive psychology study notes

Topics: Psychology, Cognition, Brain Pages: 7 (2022 words) Published: October 3, 2013
Textbook Study Notes
Cognitive Psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the scientific study of the mind The Mind creates and controls mental functions such as perception, attention, memory, emotions, language, thinking and reasoning. It is a system that creates representations of the world so that we can act within it to achieve our goals.

Donder’s Pioneering Experiment
He was interested in determining how long it takes a person to make a decision. He determined this by measuring reaction time. 1) He asked his participants to press a button when there’s a light – this is called a simple reaction time task 2) Made task more difficult by presenting two lights, one on left and one on right. Participant presses one button for the right light and a different button for the left light – this is called a choice reaction time task In simple reaction time task:

Stimulus (light) >>> mental response (perceiving the light) >>> behavioural response (pushing button) In choice reaction time task:
Stimulus >>> Mental response (Perceiving the light AND deciding which button to push) >>> behavioural response (pushing button) Donders believed that choice reaction time would be longer than simple reaction time because of the additional time it takes to make the decision. Concluded that it took one tenth of a second to decide which button to push. Importance: was one of the first cognitive psychology experiments. Illustrates that mental responses cannot be measured directly but must be inferred from behaviour

Ebbinghaus’s Memory Experiment
An Associationist: believed that mental abilities and cognition are a result of associations Interested in determining the nature of memory and forgetting – how info that is learned is lost over time Tested himself – presented nonsense syllables like DAX, LUH, ZIF to himself one at a time using a memory drum – used nonsense syllables so his memory wouldn’t be influenced by the meaning of the words 1) First time: he looked at each syllable one at a time and tried to learn them in order 2) Second time: tried to begin remembering the first syllable on the list, look at it in the memory drum to see if he was right, then remember the second syllable, repeat, and so on. He repeated the procedure, going through the list until he was able to go through it without any errors. He wrote down the number of trials it took him 3) After learning a list, he waited from immediately to 31 days, and then repeated the list and wrote down how many trials it took him to remember all the syllables without any errors. He used the savings method to analyze his results: Savings = (Initial repetitions) – (relearning repetitions/initial repetitions) x100 Findings: savings were greater for shorter intervals than long. Savings curve shows that memory drops rapidly for the first two days after the initial learning and then levels off. Importance: this curve demonstrated that memory could be quantified Wilhelm Wundt

1879 – founded first lab of scientific Psychology
Structuralism: our overall experience is determined by combining basic elements of experience called Sensations. Wanted to create a “periodic table of the mind” which would include all the basic sensations involved in creating experience. Used Analytic Introspection: a technique in which trained participants described their experiences and thought processes in response to stimuli. Pointed out the relevance of replication in order to increase reliability of findings

John Watson
Founded Behaviourism
His problems with introspection:
1) Difference results from person to person
2) The results were difficult to verify because they were interpreted in terms of invisible inner mental processes Behaviourism: observable behaviour, NOT consciousness, is the main focus Little albert experiment: 9 month old boy subjected to loud noise every time a rat came close to him, after a few pairings of the noise with the rat,...
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