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Cognition: Exploring the Science of the Mind (Fourth Edition)
The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
Cognitive processes by which people start with information and come to conclusion that go beyond original information.
Both deductive and inductive
Making choices between alternatives
- Buying an apartment
Component of decision making- involves calculating likelihood of various events
- A conclusion logically follows from premises
Derive a specific fact from a general set of facts
Involves deriving conclusions when all the facts are available
Syllogism: a logical argument
All A's are B's
All B's are C's- therefore all A's are C's
Example: Hay fever causes people misery in the summer. Alan has hay fever, therefore, he is miserable in the summer.
Premises and conclusions that describe the relationship between 2 categories using statements that begin with some, no, or all.
Normative and Descriptive Approach to Studying Categorical Syllogisms
Involves logic and concerns validity
i.e which syllogisms are valid/not valid
Involves psychology and concerns how well people judge and evaluate validity
1st Principal of Deductive Reasoning
If the premises are true then, the conclusion of a valid syllogism must be true.
Valid because conclusion logically follows from the premises
2nd Principal of Deductive Reasoning
The validity of syllogism is determined only by its form, not its content.
Syllogism is valid but conclusion is not true
Determining the Validity via Euler Circles
Diagrams that graphically depict the relationships between premises to determine whether or not a syllogism is valid
- A tool that makes it possible to determine validity of most syllogisms
3rd principal of deductive reasoning
The conclusion must follow for every possible case- one exception invalidates the syllogism
Descriptive Approach to Studying Syllogisms
Concerned with how well people can actually judge validity
2 methods in judging peoples performance in syllogisms
Evaluation: present 2 premises and a conclusion and ask if the conclusion logically follows the premises
Production: present 2 premises and ask people to indicate which conclusion from a set logically follows, or if no conclusion follows
1st source of Syllogistic Error
- Qualifiers (all, some, or none) create an overall mood that influences the evaluation/production
2 All's---> All conclusion
1 or 2 No's ---->No conclusion
1 or 2 Some's ----> Some conclusion
Often leads to correct evaluation, but sometimes leads to errors
2nd source of Syllogistic Error
- If a syllogism's conclusion is true or agrees with a persons beliefs the syllogism will be judged as valid. –All of the students are tired –Some tired people are irritable
–Some of the students are irritable –All of the men are tired
- Illustrates a violation of Principle 2: validity of a syllogism is determined by its form.
People influenced by believability of conclusion
Mental Models of Deductive Reasoning
- Specific situation represented in a person's mind that can be used to determine validity of syllogisms in deductive reasoning
- 2 premises and a conclusion
- 1st premise : If this happens... then.....
Both antecedent and consequent
Wason Four Card Problem - The Outcome
Falsification Principle: to test a rule, it is necessary to find situations that falsify that rule.
Reaching conclusions from evidence
Premises based on observation from one or more cases
Generalize from cases to a more general conclusion
Evaluating Inductive Arguments
Inductive= strength of argument
Arrive at conclusion that are probably true, based on evidence
Some factors that contribute to strength of inductive argument:
# of observations: - I have often seen vultures circling thirsty people in the desert.
Representativeness of observations
Quality of evidence: stronger evidence- stronger conclusion
Induction in Science and Everyday Life
Basic procedure for making discoveries
- Used in generalization of results
- Used in creating a novel hypothesis
Everyday Life: mechanism for using past experiences to guide present behavior
Anytime we make predictions about what will happen based on our observations about what has happened in the past.
Hueristics: "economical shortcuts"- often lead to correct conclusion
Tverksy and Kahneman (1973)
Things that are easy to remember are judged to be more prevalent
- We base our judgments of frequency of events on what events come to mind
- A correlation between two events appears to exist, but actually does not (or is very weak)
Awareness of correlations very useful
Stereotypes: oversimplified generalization about a group that often focuses on negative
The Representativeness Heuristic
People often make judgments based on how much one event resembles another event
relative proportion of different classes in the population
- The likelihood that event A comes from class B depends on how close A resembles B
mistaken belief that a combination of two events is more likely than one of the events on its own
Utility Approach to Decision Making
outcomes that are desirable because it is in the persons best interest.
i.e- maximum monetary payoff
Problems: People do not always act to maximize monetary value
casinos: fun of gambling
some payoffs cant be calculated
incorrect mental simulations
Decisions and Emotion
- Focusing on only one aspect of a situation and ignore other aspects that may be important
Date Question: Asking their happiness level vs how many dates they had been on this month. If dates question was asked first....there will be a bigger correlation between the answers.
: A problem occurs when there is an obstacle between a present state and a goal and it is not completely obvious how to get around the obstacle
Problem Solving: An effort to overcome obstacles obstructing the path to a solution
The Gestalt Approach
Extended their theories of perception to problem solving behavior
Whole is more than the sum of it's parts
Perceive problems as a whole
Problem Solving: how people represent a problem in their minds
Problem Solving as Restructuring
Reorganization or restructuring of a problem representation
Finding in the x in the radius
Problem Solving as Re-representation
Changing the problems representation : restructuring
Solution to problem requires perceptual insight
sudden realization of the problem's solution
Math problems. " solve for x"
- Perceived "warmth" increases gradually
perceived "warmth" erupts suddenly.
An "aha!" moment
Obstacles to Problem Solving
- Experience can help or hinder problem solving
- Previous experience can influence reconstructing
- Duncker's Candle Problem (1945)- Mount candle to the wall without having it trip using only candle, tacks, and a matchbox.
Seeing the matchbox as a container involves necessary insight
a cognitive bias that limits a person to using an object only in the way it is traditionally used
Maier's (1931) two string problem-
Using a chair and pliers tie together the two ends of the string
Using the pliers to tie to the end of the string and put it in motion. When "accidentally" set in motion, people could solve it faster.
- Tendency to respond in a certain manner based on past experience
- Function fixedness creates mental set by causing people to focus on a particular function of an object
- Luchins (1942) water jug problem
Gestalt Approach Strengths and Weaknesses
Problem solving is often more than reproducing past experiences
Involves reconstructing representations
Explains how past experience can lead to failure
What is "insight" (mechanism unexplained...)
Focus on initial and final states, but no process model
Problem Space Theory
- Newell & Simon
Problem solving as a search that occurs between the posing of the problem and its solution
Possible states or conditions of the problem (maze of pathways)
Includes solvers knowledge and external devices
A problem space consists of :
intermediate states- various conditions along the way
Operators: legal moves within a problem
Problem solving: SEARCHING the problem space
Heuristics in Problem Solving
Newell & Simons
Stepwise reduction of differences between current and goal state by creating subgoals
Everyday problems: # of smaller steps to get to a goal: fixing a car.
Tower of Hanoi and Hobbits and Orcs Problem
Works most of the time but some backtracking away from the goal is sometimes necessary
Importance of how a Problem is Stated
Puzzle problems vs everyday problems
Many everyday problems are ill-defined
Well defined problems:
Clear problem space (initial state), operators, goals, etc.
Ill- defined problems:
Vague problem space, operators, goals, etc.
Which grad school should i take? How can I make this relationship work?
Means-end Analysis is difficult to apply to ill- defined problems and some insight problems
Successful problems solving depends on representing problem in such a way that appropriate operators can apply
Mutilated Checkerboard Problem
How the way a problem is stated can affect the persons ablility to get started in the solution.
Kaplan & Simon:
- restating the problem can make it easier to solve
Problem Solving By Analogy
Analogy : structural similarity between situations or events
- reconstructing can be aided by retrieveing analogous instances
-solution to one problem analogous to solution of another
Dunckers Radiation Problem: When given a hint relating to another problem, participants were able to solve it faster. only 30% could solve it without a hint.
Process of Analogical Problem Solving
1. Noticing parallels
Most crucial & difficult step
2. Mapping corresponding elements
3. Applying the mapping to generate a solution
Schemas & Analogy
can facilitate solution of analogous problems
- Discovering the basic concepts that link the source and the target problems
Experts vs. Novice Problem Solvers
Experts: 10 years of domain experience
Examples: Chess, phsyics
Experts exhibit faster and more accurate problem solving in their fields
larger and more well organized store of knowledge
Differently organized knowledge:
Spend more time analyzing rather than problem solving
Expertise is domain-specific!!
Can result in functional fixedness
Problem Solving and the Brain
- Particular problem activates many different areas
Premotor Cortex: thinking about making a move
Prefrontal Cortex: Planning strategies
Occipital & Parietal: locating chess pieces
A fundamental biological process that can be defined, measured, described, and manipulated
- deeply rooted in the genetic makeup and metabolic workings of the organism as a whole and its every cell
- sensitive to many environmental influences that have modulatory effects
-Aging vs. Brain Damage
- Neuroimaging Approach
- Structural imaging: volumetric changes
- Age related differences in activation
- Age related differences in activation-performance relation
Brain Changes due to Aging
-decrease in brain weight
-enlargement of sulci and ventricles
-decrease in cerebral volume
-debranching of dendrites
-loss of glia
"white matter" reduction
Parts of brain which are effected
Prefrontal regions: most susceptible to age
Hippocampus: less effected
Occipital cortex: moderate changes
Brain stem: very few changes
Age Differences in Brain Activation
- Localized task-specific under activation
- Different activation patterns even when performance matched with young
blood flow reductions
decrease in processing resources
Changes in higher cognitive functions
Global Cognitive Changes
Decrease in processing resources
Speed of processing: cognitive slowing
How quickly we perceive, act,think
Ability to concentrate on one thing and ignore others
Working memory capacity
ability to hold info in mind for a brief period of time
Fluid Intelligence : "naive mental ability"
Includes abstraction, learning, problem solving, pattern recognition, common sense
depends on persons inherent abilities & is independent from acquired knowledge
Closely related to attention and short- term memory
older people need more time to process and react to information
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