Cognitive psychology study notes

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CHAPTER 1 – INTRO TO COG PSYCH
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

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