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CogPsych Chap 1-4


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cognitive psychology
the study of how people perceive, learn, remember, and think about information
someone who believes that the route to knowledge is through logical analysis
someone who believes that we acquire knowledge via experience and observaction
seeks to understand the structure of the mind and perceptions by analyzing those perceptions into their constituent components
looking inward at pieces of information passing through consciousness
seeks to understand what people do and why they do it
people who believe that knowledge is validated by its usefulness
theoretical outlook that psychology should focus only on the relation between observable behavior and environmental events or stimuli
gestalt psychology
states that we best understand psychological phenomena when we view them as organized structured wholes
artificial intelligence
the attempt by humans to construct systems that show intelligence and, particularly, the intelligent processing of information
organized body of general explanatory principles regarding a phenomenon, usually based on observations
tentative proposals regarding expected empirical consequences of the theory, such as the outcomes of research
statistical significance
indicates the likelihood that a given set of results would be obtained if only chance factors were in operation
independent variables
aspects of an investigation that are individually manipulated, or carefully regulated, by the experimenter, while other aspects of the investigation are held constant
dependent variables
outcome responses, the values of which depend on how one or more independent variables influcence or affect the participants in the experiment
ecological validity
the degree to which particular findings in one environmental context may be considered relevant outside of that context
cognitive science
cross-disciplinary field that uses ideas and methods from cognitive psychology, psychobiology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, linguistics, and anthropology
examines how events or ideas can become associated with one another in the mind to result in a form of learning
the belief that much of human behavior can be understood in terms of how people think
the organ in our bodies that most directly controls our thoughts, emotions, and motivations
localization of function
refers to the specific areas of the brain that control specific skills or behaviors
nervous system
the basis for our ability to perceive, adapt to, and interact with the world around us
transmit electrical signals from one location to another in the nervous system
contains the nucleus of the cell and is responsible for the life of the neuron and connects the dendrites to the axon
branchlike structures that receive information from other neurons, and the soma integrates the information
long, thin tube that extends from the soma and responds to the information, when appropriate, by transmitting an electrochemical signal, which travels to the terminus, where the signal can be transmitted to other neurons
white fatty substance that surrounds some of the axons of the nervous system, which accounts for some of the whiteness of the white matter of the brain
nodes of ranvier
small gaps in the myelin coating along the axon, which serve to increase conduction speed even more
terminal buttons
small knobs found at the ends of the branches of an axon that do not directly touch the dendrites of the next neuron
serves as a juncture between the terminal buttons of one or more neurons and the dendrites of one or more other neurons
serve as chemical messengers for transmission of information across the synaptic gap to the receiving dendrites of the next neuron
Electroencephalograms - recordings of the electrical frequences and intensities of the living brain, typically recorded over relatively long periods
event-related potential - record of a small change in the brain's electrical activity in response to a stimulating event
magnetic resonance imaging - a technique for revealing high resolution images of the structure of the living breain by computering and analyzing magnetic changes in the energy of the orbits of nuclear particles in the molecules of the body
positron emission tomography - measure increases in oxygen consumption in active brain areas during particular kinds of information processing
functional magnetic resonance imaging - neuroimaging technique that uses magnetic fields to construct a detailed representation in three dimensions of level of activity in various parts of the brain at a given moment in time
transcranial magnetic stimulation - temporarily disrupts the normal activity of the brain in a limited area
magnetoencephalography - measures activity of the brain from outside the head by picking up magnetic fields emitted by changes in brain activity
limbic system
important to emotion, motivation, memory, and learning
imporant role in emotion, especially in anger and agression
involved in anger and fear
essential role in memory formation
korsakoff's syndrome
produces loss of memory function
relays incoming sensory information through groups of neurons that project to the appropriate region in the coretex
regulates behavior related to species survival: fighting, feeding, fleeing, and mating
reticular activating system - a network of neurons essential to the regulation of consciousness
connects the forebrain to the spinal cord
medulla oblongata
controls heart activity and largely controls breathing, swallowing, and digestion
serves as a kind of relay station because it contains neural fibers that pass signals from one part of the brain to another
controls bodily cordination, balance, and muscle tone, a well as some aspects of memory involving procedure-related movements
from one side to another
on the same side
corpus callosum
dense aggregate of neural fibers connection two cerebral hemispheres
cerebral hemispheres
the two halves of the brain
Split-brain patients
people who have undergone operations severing the corupus callosum
frontal lobe
toward the front of the brain - associated with motor processing and higher thought processes, such as abstract reasoning, problem solving, planing and judgment
parietal lobe
upper back portion of the brain - associated with somatosensory processing.
temporal lobe
directly under your temples - associated with auditor processing and comprehending language
occipital lobe
associated with visual proessing
primary motor cortex
specializes in the planning, control, and execution of movement, particularly of movement involving any kind of delayed response
primary somatosensory cortex
receives information from the senses about pressure, texture, temperature, and pain
the set of processes by which we recognize, organize, and make sense of the sensations we receive from environmental stimuli
a network of neurons extending over most of the back surface of the interior of the eye
ganglion cells
neuronal tissue closest to the front, outward-facing surface of the eye
optic nerve
axons of the ganglion cells
amacrine cells and horizontal cells
make single lateral connections among adjacent ares of the retina in the middle layer of cells
bipolar cells
make dual connections forward and outward to the ganglion cells, as well as backward and inward to the third layer f retinal cells
which transduce light energy into electrochemical energy
chemical substances that react to light
perceptual constancy
occurs when our perception of an object remains the same even when our proximal sensation of the distal object changes
the distance from a surface, usually using your own body as the reference surface when speaking in terms of depth perception
monocular depth cues
can be represented in just two dimensions and observed with just one eye
viewer-centered representation
the individual stores the way the object looks to him or her
object-centered representation
the individual stores a represenation of the object, independent of its appearance to the viewer
gestalt approach to form perception
based on the notion that the whole differs from the sum of its individual parts
law of pragnanz
we tend to perceive any given visual array in a way that most simply organizes the disparate elements into a stable and coherent form
what stands out from versus what recedes into the background
direct perception
the array of information in our sensory receptors, including the sensory context, is all we need to perceive anything
bottom-up theories
data-driven theories
top-down theories
driven by high-level cognitive processes, existing knowledge, and prior expectations that influence perception
highly detailed models for patterns we potentially might recognize
sort of average of a class of related objects or pattersn, which integrates all the most typical features of the class
recognition-by-components (RBC theory
we quickly recognize objects by observing the edges of them and then decomposing the objects into geons
constructive perception
the perceiver builds a cognitive understanding of a stimulus
context effects
the influences of the surrounding environment of perception
a severe deficit in the ability to perceive sensory information
optic ataxia
an impairment in the ability to use the visual system to guide movement
long and thing photoreceptors
short and thick photoreceptors
a small, thin region of the retina, the size of the head of a pin that is most directly in the light of sight
binocular depth cues
based on the receipt of sensory information in three dimensions from both eyes
includes both the feeling of awareness and the content of awareness, some of which may be under the focus of attention
occurs when recognition of certain stimuli is affected by prior presentation of the same or similar stimuli
tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon
we try to remember something that is known to be stored in memory but that cannot readily be retrieved
traces of visual perceptual ability in blind areas
automatic processes
involve no conscious control
controlled processes
accessible to conscious control and even require it
the process by which a procedue changes from being highly conscious to being relatively automatic
involves our becoming accustomed to a stimulus so that we gradually pay less and less attention to it
change in a familiar stimulus prompts us to start noticing the stimulus again
sensory adaptation
a lessening of attention to a stimulus that is not subject to conscious control
a degree of physiological excitation, responsivity, and readiness for action, relative to baseline
signal detection
detect the appearance of a particular stimulus
selective attention
choose to attend to some stimuli and to ignore others
divided attention
prudently allocate our available attentional resources to coordinate our performance of more than one task at a time
signal-detection theory (SDT)
involves four possible outcomes of the presence or absense of a stimulus and our detection or nondetection of a stimulus
a target stimulus
refers to a persons' ability to attend to a field of stimulation over a prolonged period, during which the person seeks to detect the appearance of a particular target stimulus of interest
refers to a scan of the environment for particular features
nontarget stimuli that divert our attention away from the target stimulus
feature search
which we simply scan the environment for that feature of those features
conjuction search
we look for a particular combination of features
feature-integration theory
explains the relative ease of conducting feature searches and the relative difficulty of conducting conjunction searches
cocktail party problem
the process of tracking one conversation in the face of the distraction of other conversations
binaural presentation
presenting the same two messages or sometimes just one message to both ears simultaneously
dichotic presentation
presenting a different message to each ear
multimode theory
proposes that attention is flexible
stroop effect
demonstrates the psychological difficulty in selectively attending to the color of the ink and trying to ignore the word that is printed with the ink of that color

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