You are on page 1of 37

Introduction to Cognitive Psychology

What is Cognitive Psychology?
• Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes

What is Cognitive Psychology?
• Cognitive Psychology versus Behaviorism
– Behavioral Psych: how S maps onto R – Cognitive Psych: what happens in the mind – Both can use formulas to map S onto R – The difference is level of complexity
S Environment R Mind

What is Cognitive Psychology? • Cognitive Psychology versus Neurobiology – Neurobiology: how does the brain do it? – Cognitive Psych: how does the mind do it? – Both can use neurons to describe mind – The difference is behavior (the big picture) .

it switches between open apps. and when a user hits Alt-Tab.What is Cognitive Psychology? • Metaphor: mind = Windows – Behaviorists: • “What happens when I press Alt-Tab? Cool! It switched to my last open application!!” But how does that work? – Neurobiologists: • “Check this out. and I know that Windows uses STM… Let’s propose a model of Windows where it stores which apps are open in STM. the harddrive and the RAM are both connected to the motherboard!” But what does that mean? – Cognitive Psychologists: • “Pressing Alt-Tab switches me between applications.” .

.What is Cognitive Psychology? • Cognitive Psychology versus Artificial Intelligence (AI) – – – – – AI: what’s the best way to do this? Cognitive Psych: how do humans do this? Both try to model some form of mind The difference is fidelity Brain is optimal: If AI truly wants to find optimality they should study Cognitive Psychology.

Why study Cognitive Psychology • • • • • • • • Understanding the mind Education Medicine Therapy Artificial Intelligence Tool/Interface Design Gaming/Entertainment Etc. .

What is involved in Cognition • The book lists: – Perception. language may be part of memory and decision-making. Reasoning. attention may be part of perception.g. & Decision-making • This is not a comprehensive list of mental processes • These processes are not independent of one another – E. Attention. . Language. Memory. Problem-Solving. etc.

Complexity of Cognition .

She is aware of her friend.1 (p. even though he is much closer. who is waving in the distance.Complexity of Cognition Sarah is walking toward her friend. but has little awareness of the stranger who is passing on her right. .Figure 1. 3) .

.What we are aware of… The complexities of cognition are usually hidden from our consciousness.

The Magic of Cognition • In our lives we are likely to NEVER encounter the same retinal input twice! EVER! – We will learn about categorization and invariant representation .

The Magic of Cognition • The Stroop effect – We have automatic reading routines – It is hard to stop well-practiced routines from executing – This is the difference between experts and novices QuickTime™ an d a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are need ed to see this picture. .

but it could be (c) a gray rectangle and a six-sided figure that are lined up appropriately.Complexity of Perception.5 (p 8) . .Hemholtz’s unconcious inference The display in (a) looks like (b) a gray rectangle in front of a light triangle. Expectations Figure 1.

. straight lines (like doorways) start looking like curves on the retina.the lines look like optic streaks (streaks of neural activation in the retina) When moving forward. Expectations QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompre ssor are neede d to see this picture.Complexity of Perception. The Herring illusion The diagonal lines give the impression of moving forward .

Do you process all of the information that falls on your retina? • It may be that we have a perfect representation of the world • It may be that we make gross estimations based on prior experience • DEMO .g.The Magic of Cognition • These types of phenomena give us a hint as to how cognition works – E.

On Intelligence .Jeff Hawkins. . you have no idea what the end result will look like. imagine a jigsaw puzzle with several thousand pieces. as if each had an image on both sides but only one of them is the right one. Sorry. worse. All the pieces are poorly shaped so you can’t be certain if two pieces fit together or not. Many of the pieces can be interpreted multiple ways. but they are wrong. as if the puzzlemaker was saying. but you don’t know which ones or how many. Many of them will not be used in the ultimate solution.” Unfortunately. “I know you’ve been working with these old puzzle pieces for a few years. but they turned out to be wrong. you may have some ideas. Every month new pieces arrive in the mail. Some of these new pieces replace older ones.Complexity of Cognition The “understand-the-brain” jigsaw puzzle is particularly daunting… To get a sense of the difficulty. Use these new ones instead until future notice.

Methodology .

How CogPsych is studied • Donders reaction time experiment .

For the choice reaction time test the participant pushes the J key if the left light goes on. For the simple time reaction text. . 6) A modern version of Donders’ (1868) reaction time experiment. and the K key if the right light goes on.Figure 1.3 (p. The purpose of the Donders experiment was to determine the time it took to decide which key to press for the choice reaction time test. and (b) the choice reaction-time task. (a) the simple reaction-time task. the participant pushes the J key when the light goes on.

(a) simple reaction-time task. the time between presentation of the light and the participant’s response. .4 (p. The dashed line indicates that Donders measured reaction time. (b) choice reaction-time task. 7) Sequence of events between presentation of the stimulus and the behavioral response. in Donders’ experiment.Figure 1.

How CogPsych is studied • Behavioral and physiological .

Figure 1. A. B. & C show relationships that can be measured. taking into account the physiological response. 15) Updated sequence of events between stimulus and response.9 (p.g. Think back to the “mind=Windows” metaphor. The mental response must be inferred from these relationships. Correction: Stimulus Physical/Mental Response Response E. .

was followed one day later by a memory experiment.Figure 1. . The first part. learning. 16) Design of Davachi et al. (2003) experiment.10 (p. Note that the participants’ brain activity was measured during the learning task using a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging. There were two parts to this experiment.

This graph indicates the relationship between how the participants related to the stimulus (place or read) during learning and their performance in the memory test.9.11 (p. 17) Results for the behavioral part of the Davachi et al. (2003) experiment.Figure 1. This corresponds to Relationship A in Figure 1. .

18) The results of the physiological part of the Davachi et al.12 (p. Right: The relationship between the physiological response and the behavioral response (whether the person recognized or forgot the word) (Relationship C). Left: The relationship between how the participants reacted to the stimulus during learning (place or read) and the physiological response (Relationship B).Figure 1. . experiment.

Information Processing Approach • Mind as a processor of information – Input -> Mental Processes -> Output • To understand it. build it I Task O Mind .

Think Critically .

.Think Critically • Beware cognitive myths – We only use 10% of our brain – Group brainstorming – Left vs right hemisphere • Left is an accountant. right is a hippie – Phrenology QuickTime™ a nd a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are need ed to see this picture.

g. (p.” . 4) “the Stroop effect shows that some stimuli can affect our behavior by forcing themselves on our consciousness. even if we are actively trying to ignore them.Think Critically • Beware vacuous Statements – E.

Perfors. Chomsky’s Poverty of Stimulus argument (p. & Regier (2006) have shown that with the right approach it is possible to retrieve grammar rules from the data available to children . 10) has been rebuked recently.g.Think Critically • Beware old theories – E. Tenenbaum.

Think Critically • Correlation does not imply causation – 100% of people who eat pickles die – Therefore. eating pickles is bad for you .

Think Critically • “Davachi … [states that] memory is better if the perirhinal cortex is activated when the word is being learned” (p. It could be activated during the “place” task for any number of reasons » Maybe Ss found it amusing to place words. and the perirhinal cortex is actually the amusement center. maybe being amused correlates with better memory . 18) • Does this mean that Perirhinal cortex is involved in memory? – Everything is involved in memory • Is it involved in associative learning? – Not necessarily.

Think Critically • Cognition is far from being solved – Ask questions – Use your intuition – Do thought experiments – Use multiple sources of information – Think for yourselves • How would you design the mind? .

On the brighter side… • This is a young field. but we understand a lot about cognition already • At this point we are already able to predict – Learning curves for procedural and declarative memories – How forgetting works (interference and decay) – How some memories can prime other memories – How cognitive mechanisms interact – And much much more .

Questions .

Next Lecture • Cognitive Architectures – Designing the mind • No homework .