Summary Class notes - Cognitive Psychology

- Cognitive Psychology
- N/A
- 2015 - 2016
- DU
- Psychology
217 Flashcards & Notes
0 Students
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Summary - Class notes - Cognitive Psychology

  • 1453244400 Lecture 1: Decision-making & reasoning 1

  • How does decision making work?
    Accumulating evidence from experiences which allow a decision to be made. 

    The decision is made once a threshold (of info/evidence) is reached
  • What is the drift-diffusion model?
    A model demonstrating the picking up of evidence to reach an info threshold which means a decision can be made.
  • Diffusion models and other evidence-accumulation models could account for many cognitive processes
  • Why do we need models such as the drift-diffusion model?
    These models explain behavioural data and neuronal responses

    i.e. likely to model neural processes in decision-making (slide 3, page 2)
  • Who studied the perceptual decision-making in monkeys?
    Shadlen & Kiani, 2003

    Method: sees random dots moving around the screen (a certain % are moving in a different direction)

    Results: monkeys take longer to react on difficult tasks - they accumulate more evidence over time when the task is difficult

    ---> when the task is more difficult, more evidence needs to be accumulated which takes longer?
  • What do diffusion models describe? What do they not do?
    They describe how decision-making could be implemented in the mind and the brain

    They do not help us determine if a decision is good or bad
  • What are normative models?
    They describe what a "good"/ rational decision is

    "a decision in the best interests of the person making it"
  • Why is the expected value theory too simplistic? What is the solution to this?
    Doesn't take into account loss aversion, risk-seeking etc.

    Solution: instead of value, use utility: the subjective value we attach to something - the subjective value can change over time depending on the circumstance.  
  • Go over subjective utility theory from 1st year
  • How do we measure utility?
    Prospect Theory (Kahnemann and Tversky, 1979)
  • What is an early model of decision-making?
    The Model of Economic Man and Woman

    The model assumed 3 things:
    1. Decision makers are fully informed regarding all possible options for their decisions and of all possible outcomes of their decision options. 
    2. They are infinitely sensitive to their subtle distinctions among decision options (i.e. people can evaluate the differences between two outcomes no matter how subtle the distinctions among options may be).
    3. They are fully rational in regard to their choice of options   

    (p. 444 Sternberg textbook) 
  • Go over framing effects from 1st year
  • 1453849200 Lecture 2: Decision-making & reasoning 2

  • People are not always rational
  • What is meant by irrational?
    Failure to pursue goals coherently
  • What may influence people's decisions?
    Habits, conformity to others or cultural or religious norms
  • According to Simon, 1957, what is rationality limited by? What do we use as a result?
    • information available
    • cognitive limitations
    • limited time

    Therefore, we use heuristics 
  • What are heuristics?
    Mental shortcuts that lighten the cognitive load of making decisions.
    (p. 445 Sterberg textbook)
  • What is meant by the heuristic, Satisficing? (Simon, 1947)
    (one of the 1st heuristics formed)

    Consider options one by one and select the first that meets a given need.

    Is this method good? Depends for what:
    Yes: select food in restaurant, buy clothes, repair bicycle (suboptimal solution ok)
    No: marriage, diagnose disease, buying house (worth spending time and effort to get close to optimal).  

    When there are limited working-memory resources available, the use of satisficing for making decisions may be increased  
    (p. 446 Sternberg textbook)
  • Satisficing - 1950s researchers were starting to realise that humans do not always make rational decisions (p. 445-446 Sternberg textbook)
  • What is meant by the heuristic, Elimination by aspects?
    Apply threshold to one aspect of the problem at a time and eliminate all alternatives not making the threshold, until 1 alternative remains. (Tversky, 1972).

    Example: choosing university:
    which is good?
    which can I afford?
    which is not too far from home?
    decent pubs near campus / college?
    … keep going until only 1 is left

    In practice: use this until few options left, then use Rational Choice Theory.
    (p. 446-447 Sternberg textbook)
  • Many heuristics exist, for example:
    • Representativeness heuristic
    • Availability heuristic
    • The fast-and-frugal heuristics (from seminar 1)
  • What is a problem with heuristics?
    They induce systematic errors, called cognitive biases
  • What is a benefit of heuristics?
    Studying these helps to understand how decision making works
  • What is meant by the conjunction fallacy? How can this fallacy be reduced?
    A formal fallacy that occurs when it is assumed that specific conditions are more probable than a single general one.

    This fallacy can be reduced by by drawing attention to set relationships, using frequencies instead of probabilities and/or thinking diagrammatically.

    (p. 454-455 Sternberg textbook)
  • What is the availability heuristic?
     To judge frequency of an event based on how easy it is to recall similar instances - "if you can think of it, it must be important.”

    ---> Can lead to systematic errors when judging probability

    (p. 450 Sternberg textbook)
  • What is base-rate fallacy?
    A person judges that an outcome will occur without considering prior knowledge of the probability that it will occur. 

    ---> can measure this with Bayes theorem (see slide 13, lecture notes)
  • What is meant by Hot hands or gambler’s fallacy?
    Mistaken belief that the probability of a random event is influenced by previous random events.
    - Gilovich, Tversky & Vallone (1985) disproved the "hot hands” theory 

     - Gambler’s fallacy: “I’ve lost 5 times now, I’m due to win next time!” No: losing does not affect future likelihood of winning (independent events).
    i.e. the past doesn't influence your likelihood of winning

    ---> We do not have a statistically correct concept of random.
    ---> We are built to see patterns in data of all types.

    (p. 454 Sternberg textbook)
  • What is the sunk-cost fallacy?
    Past costs influence decisions
    ---> Sunk costs influence current decisions even though we should disregard the lost money (fallacy due to loss aversion and framing effects).

    Definition: the decision to continue to invest in something simply because one has invested in it before and one hopes to recover one's investment.

    Example: you buy a ticket to go see a movie. Half-way through the movie, you think “I really don’t like this movie”. Instead of leaving, you watch the movie until the end, because you have paid for the ticket ---> you have a bad time just because you paid!    

    (p. 455 Sternberg textbook)
  • What is the Confirmation bias?
    The tendency to try to prove/confirm but not disprove a hypothesis
    i.e. the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories.

    “Find the rule behind the following sequence of numbers: [2 4 6] by continuing the sequence” (Wason, 1960)

    People usually only seek confirmation of the most straightforward rule (“numbers increasing by 2”)

    But 2 4 6 also simply follows the rule “increasing numbers” – nobody thinks of that, or tries to falsify the “increase by 2” rule!
  • What is Wason selection task?
    One of the most famous tests of conditional reasoning, particularly of modus ponens and modus tollens. Developed by Peter C Wason (1966).

    ---> Each card has a number on one side, and a patch of color on the other. Which card(s) must be turned over to test the idea that if a card shows an even number on one face, then its opposite face is red? 
    =  The correct response is to turn over only the 8 and brown cards.
    Only about 10% of people get this right!

    (more info slide 17-18 lecture notes)
  • What is modus ponens?
    If the antecedent is present, the conclusion can be deduced.

    General form:
    If p, then q. p. Therefore, q.

    If you are a mother (p), you have a child (q).
    You are a mother (p).
    Therefore, you have a child (therefore, q).
  • What is wrong with modus ponens?
    Classic error: denying the antecedent does not make the conclusion valid.

    General form:
    If p, then q. Not p. Therefore, not q. (THIS IS AN ERROR!)

    If you are a mother (p), you have a child (q).
    You are not a mother (not p).
    Therefore, you do not have a child (therefore, not q). ERROR!

    Here it’s easy to see why: you could be a father.
  • What is modus tollens?
    If the conclusion is false, then the hypothesis must be false also.

    General form:
    If p, then q. Not q. Therefore, not p.

    If you are a mother, you have a child.
    You do not have a child.
    Therefore, you are not a mother.

    There’s no way you can be a mother without having a child.
  • What is wrong with modus tollens?
    Classic error: affirming the consequent does not make the conclusion valid.

    General form:
    If p, then q. q. Therefore, p. ERROR!

    If you are a mother, you have a child.
    You have a child.
    Therefore, you are a mother. ERROR!

    Same possibility as before: You could be a father.
  • What is the dual-process theory of making rational decisions?
    System 1: fast and intuitive
    System 2: slow and deliberative (e.g. looking for a house to buy)
  • What is meant by fallacy?
    Erroneous reasoning
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Summary - Class notes - Cognitive Psychology

  • 1412805600 Lecture 1: History & Methods

  • What is introspection?
    Thinking about how you react to a stimuli and the variables which could change that i.e how you can change your behaviour
  • Cognitive psychology is depending on the idea that humans are information processors 
  • What were the 1950s (traditional) assumptions to information processing?
    1. Information processed in stages
    2. This processing transforms the information in some way 
    3. Information processing in humans resembles information processing in computers 
    4. Only one process can be active at any one time: serial
    5. Processing is only influenced by stimulus properties: bottom-up

    Note: 4 & 5 are probably wrong - oversimplifications 
  • What is top-down processing?
    Information processing influenced by existing knowledge 
  • What is bottom-up processing?
    Information processing that is directly influenced by environmental stimuli i.e. not existing knowledge
  • What is wrong with the traditional approach to information processing?
    The traditional approach is oversimplified in assuming that all processes were serial - in numerous situations, some/all processes occur at the same time - parallel processing
  • What are 4 different approaches to studying cognitive psychology?
    1. experimental cognitive psychology
    - lab experiments with healthy participants
    2. cognitive neuropsychology
    - experiments with brain-injured participants. Studies whether different processes disassociated from each other  
    3. cognitive neuroscience
    - brain imaging and stimulation experiments on humans designed to study human thought e.g. EEG
    4. computational cognitive science 
    - computational models that mimc human cognition 
  • Studying the brain:
    - we can work out when and where specific cognitive processes occur 
    - we can determine the order in which different parts of the brain come in a process
    - we can determine wether two tasks involve the same parts of the brain 
  • What are the 5 limitations of experimental cognitive psychology? 
    - ecological validity: the lab is not the real world 
    - indirect: cannot directly measure some processes 
    - difficult to relate to brain function
    - ignores individual differences
    - stimuli presented to the participant is based on the experimenter's pre-determined plan & not the participant's behaviour 
  • What is a typical example of experimental cognitive psychology?
    Posner (1980) - investigated different systems for orienting attention e.g. how you pay attention to something without moving your eyes
  • Why is cognitive neuropsychology important in understanding cognitive processes?
    It investigates people with deficits in cognition which allows them to understand cognition when it is working properly. 
  • What is a typical example of cognitive neuropsychology? 
    Patient HM (Scoville & Milner, 1957)
    - HM had neurosurgery to cure his epilepsy; however, the surgery caused his to have severe anterograde amnesia i.e. he couldn't form new memories.
    - However, his short term memory was still in tact = he could learn new skills 
    = LTM, STM and procedural memory must be different systems 
  • What are the 4 assumptions for cognitive neuropsychology?
    1. Functional modularity (Coltheart, 2001)
    - specific cognitive systems exists for specific tasks 
    - these modules have domain specificity = they only respond to one particular class of stimuli 
    - Fodor (1983) argued against this - he proposed that humans have various input modules involved in this process, and so the central system isn't modular - However, evolutionary psychologists have argued that most processes are modular 

    2. Anatomical modularity 
    - each cognitive function has a corresponding brain area. This can be seen when there is brain damage limited to a single module
    - However, there is less support for this with complex tasks e.g. Duncan & Owen (2000) found that the same areas in the frontal lobes were activated when very different complex tasks were being performed

    3. Uniformity of architecture (Coltheart)
    - modules are similar across everyone
    - this means we can use findings from individual patients to draw conclusions about other people's functional architecture 

    4. Subtractivity 
    - brain damage can only impair existing modules : it cannot create new ones
  • What is a method in studying cognitive neuropsychology? 
    - Dissociations e.g. intact performance on task A, impaired performance on task B
    - Double dissociations e.g. a second patient with an impaired performance on task A and an intact performance on task B
  • What are the 5 limitations with cognitive neuropsychology?
    1. We rarely know how good a person was at a task before the injury 
    2. Functional reorganisation of cognition i.e. patients may have adopted compensatory strategies 
    3. modular approach may be oversimplified 
    4. damage is rarely focal i.e. damage affects lots of brain areas and lots of cognitive systems 
    5. methodology = in the dissociation, one task could be more difficult than the than the other task
  • What is meant by modular?
    Each module is separate. They have separate cognitive processes 
  • What are the benefits of cognitive neuroscience?
    1. It addresses many of the limitations of cognitive neuropsychology 

    2. It can address new questions e.g. Where are cognitive functions localised? When do different processes happen? How do different brain areas interact during recognition?
  • What are 2 limitations of cognitive neuroscience? 
    1. often need to combine several techniques to compensate for limitations e.g. fMRI and TMS

    2. neuroscientific techniques often simply confirm existing theories rather than generating new ones
  • What is a benefit of computational cognitive science?
    It can create more highly specified theories of cognition e.g. demonstrate assumptions of vague terms & can be used to predict behaviour
  • With computational cognitive science, you can build a model and see how accurately it can predict behaviour
  • What are the two systems in computational cognitive science?
    Production systems - information is in a single node 
    Connectionist Networks - information is distributed across the cognitive systems
  • What is the production systems?
    IF...THEN rules

    1. Numerous IF...THEN rules held in long-term memory
    2. A working memory to hold information
    3. Operates by matching content of working memory to IF parts of rules, and then executing THEN parts
  • What is the connectionist network?
    1. Nodes or units are linked together 
    2. Nodes excite or inhibit each other 
    3. Each node produces an output if the input exceeds a threshold 
     = a pattern of activation 
  • What are 4 limitations of computational cognitive science?
    1. models rarely make testable predictions i.e. don't spur new research
    2. it is difficult to compare the two models as cognitive processes are so complicated
    3. analogy with human brain is unconvincing i.e the brain has many neuron types, and no evidence of massive interconnection 
    4. don't take account of factors such as motivation or emotion
  • What is an example task of connectionism?
    Task: identity if a letter is a vowel or a constant. 

    Proposed cognitive process:
    • Input layers - excited by the incoming information (recognising the letter/ identifying what the letter is) 
    • Intermediate layers - more layers to allow the representation of more complex concepts
    • Output layers - information that can be used to guide behaviour (associating concepts about that letter = the letter A is a vowel)  
  • What is connectionism?
    - An alternative paradigm to Information processing

    Similar to the connectionist network model as:
    - concepts are represented as a pattern of activation, not just a single node
    - units linked through inhibitory/ excitatory connections  
    - unit activated when excited above a threshold (passes activation along its connections)

    - units compete for activation - the unit with the highest activation 'wins'
    - connections are weighted - this controls the size of excitation passed down the connection
    - learning is achieved by changing these weightings

    UNLIKE the IF...THEN approach, the pattern is spread out
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What is the summary of this lecture?
• Embodied cognition is a (relatively) new and active trend in psychology.
• It is based on the idea that the human mind is determined by the human body, and that mind and body interact during cognition.
• An important concept to explain how it might work is simulation.
• Simulation is the activation of our own motor plans or emotions when seeing actions and emotions in others.
• A potential neural substrate for simulation is the mirror neuron system (but existence and function in humans still under study).
• Signs of simulation in behaviour can be found in several experimental examples. 
  • Can be used to explain biases in decision making  
What did Zajonc et al (1987) find in terms unconscious mimicry?
People who live with each other for a long period of time (25+ years) grow physically similar in their facial features.
- Increase in resemblance associated with greater reported marital happiness

---> Thought to be due to repeated use of the same muscles
What results did Chartrand & Bargh (1999) find from their 3 experiments?
Experiment 1: motor behavior of participants unintentionally matched that of
strangers with whom they worked on a task.

Experiment 2: confederates mimic the posture and movements of participants:
mimicry increases liking between interaction partners.

Experiment 3 showed that empathic individuals have a greater chameleon

---> evidence for the simulation and recreation of motor behaviour
What is the chameleon effect? Who studied this?
Chameleon effect: nonconscious mimicry of the postures, mannerisms, facial
expressions, and other behaviors of one's interaction partners, such that one's
behavior passively and unintentionally changes to match that of others in one's
current social environment.
---> Perception of another's behavior automatically increases the likelihood of engaging in that behavior oneself

Chartrand & Bargh (1999)
Who studied how simulation relates to empathy for pain?
Singer et al (2004)
- fMRI study

Brain activity was assessed while volunteers experienced a painful stimulus. This activity was compared to when their loved one (who was in the room) was receiving a similar pain 

---> bilateral anterior insula, rostral anterior cingulate cortex, brainstem, and cerebellum were activated when subjects received pain and also by a signal that a loved one experienced pain

Conc: only the part of the pain network associated with affective qualities, but not its sensory qualities mediates empathy    
i.e. only emotional aspect of pain was present when observing someone in pain (as oppose to literally feeling the pain)
Who studied how simulation relates to disgust?
Wicker et al (2003)
- fMRI study

Participants observed video clips showing the facial expression of disgust  
---> observing disgust and feeling disgust activated the same sites in the anterior insula     
What is theory-theory?
Once you observe someone else, you build up a hypothesis about what they will do next
---> quite an abstract concept
How does simulation theory relate to empathy?
• Proposed mechanism: our “mirror neurons” respond when we see another person do an action or express an emotion, which activates our mental processes related to the action or emotion, and this helps us to understand and empathise with the person

• The theory states that we use our own emotions to predict what others will do, by projecting our own mental states onto others.

• This theory uses more biological evidence than other theories of mind, such as the theory-theory
Who studied mirror neurons in humans?
Mukamel et al, 2010  

Neurons responding to a hand or face action during both execution and observation were found in supplementary motor area (SMA) and hippocampus and surroundings (H, EC, PHG).
What kind of neurons have been linked to simulation?
Mirror neurons (Rizzolatti et al., 1996)

---> These neurons are active when a monkey performs an action and when he observes it (Discovered by Rizzolatti et al, 1996)

---> They could represent the neural substrate of simulation