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a deductive reasoning task consisting of two statements that are assumed to be true, plus a conclusion (use venn diagrams)

conditional reasoning

a kind of deductive reasoning that concerns the relationship between conditions, using an "if, than" format


the proposition or statement that comes first


the proposition that follows the antecedent


a cohesive group may be so concerned about reaching a unanimous decision that members ignore potential problems, and they are overconfident that their decision is correct

conjunction fallacy

the erroneous judgement that the probability of the conjunction of two events is greater than the probability of either constituent event occurring alone

small sample fallacy

the incorrect assumption that small samples will be representative of the population from which they were selected

hindsight bias

the tendency for people to falsely report that they would have accurately predicted an outcome, even if they had not known the outcome in advance. people report that they had "known it all along"

base rate

the frequency of occurrence of an item in the population

representative heuristic

a decision making heuristic by which a sample is judged to be likely if it is similar to the population from which it was selected

confirmation bias

the phenomenon that people would rather try to confirm a hypothesis than disprove it

illusory correlation

a situation in which people believe that two variables are statistically related, even though there is no real evidence for this relationship

framing effect

a phenomenon in which the outcome of a decision is influenced by either of two factors 1) the background context of the choice or 2) the way in which a question is worded

availability heuristic

a decision making heuristic in which frequency or probability is estimated in terms of how easy it is to think of relevant examples of something

anchoring heuristic

a decision making heuristic in which people begin with a first approximation and then make final adjustments to that number on the basis of additional information.

top down

cognitive system adds to imcomplete sensory stimulation to make sense of the world (based on knowledge)

bottom up

perception is driven by the sensory input with little need to add or interpret, except in cases of limited information (more objective)

gestalt principle

-organizing principles of perceptual system
-biases in the way things are perceived
-the whole is greater than the sum of the parts

lateral inhibition

-activation of photoreceptive fields
-inhibits nearby neurons
-emphasizes contrasts


a structure in the array of perceptual information that specifies the state of the world


a relationship of the self tot he environment that enables action

top down and bottom up

language and writing


-evolved to perceive certain things in the natural
-top down and bottom up processes are at work
-do not recreate the world inside our heads

theories of pattern recognition

-template matching
-feature analysis
-structural theory

face recognition

special mechanism or general ability

template matching

-compare retina image to template
-have stored templates for known objects
-closest match template is what object is

problems for template matching

-different shaped objects
-objects in different orientations
-partial objects

feature analysis

-objects are defined as: a set of features; features put together in an organization
-people see features of objects
-object perceived is one that shares critical features
-consistent with neurological research

structural theory

-various systems for noting the components of objects
-combine volumes in orientations for objects
-object centered approach

face recognition

developmental research: newborns prefer faces; track faces more than other objects
-recognition in normal adults: more orientation dependent than other objects; for well-known faces; for recently viewed faces

dichotic listening

two tracks of information; one to each ear


tracking and repeating one

unattended information

nothing gets in for further processing; no pattern recognition for unattended information

capacity theories

-arousal limits attention
-explains divided attention tasks
-practice makes automatic


tasks become automatic with practice: requires less attention and occur independent of intention

inattentional blindness

failure to notice information and objects that pass through perceptual focus

change blindness

difficulty noticing a change in the environment

iconic memory

visual sensory memory

echoic memory

auditory sensory memory

modality effect

-short term seems to track sounds
-long term tracks semantics

varied encoding

-shallow encoding
-moderate depth encoding
-deep encoding

encoding specificity

-information encoded with a context
-match of retrieval context with encoding context
-more match, better retrieval cues, more memory displayed

free recall

given topic and asked to list items


-given items, asked to discriminate old
-amount remembered is higher
-numerb of false alarms is higher (intrusions)


strength of item gradually diminishes over time


connection to cue is battled among several items

proactive interference

previously learned material make it hard to learn new material

retroactive interference

new material makes it hard to remember previously learned material


an organized mass of past experiences


each experience leaves independent memory trace


add material; rationalize, fill in gaps, fit with culture, based on schemas

misinformation effect

post-event misleading information leads to memory errors


forget and then later remember

easterbrook hypothesis

relationship between arousal and attention: based on capacity theories of attention

simple category

defined by the presence or absence of 1 feature

conjunctive category

combination of features

disjunctive category

presence of either feature gets you in the category

complex categories

complex combination of features

prototype theory

-center of category
-abstraction of the typical features
-ideal instance of the category
-members defined by how similar to prototype
-categories have graded structure
-categories have fuzzy boundaries
-change over time

perceptual prototype

categories in which membership is based on similarity of perceptual features

semantic categories

categories in which membership is based on similarity of perceptual and other features

exemplar theory

-no general knowledge about categories: no rules or prototypes
-categories are defined by specific instances
-during retrieval all similar episodes are retrieved

spreading activation

-underlying assumption
-thinking of one concept, activation spreads to related concepts
-distance between concepts
-strength of connections varies among concepts
-time for activation to spread is predicted from distance and strength of connections

hierarchical structure

-knowledge is structured in memory
-structure reflects the organization of information in the world

connection strength

-connections vary
-some strong, some weak
-vary in direction

connection spread

-number of other concepts
-more to spread to, means diffuse activation

analogue representation

-pictorial information
-depicts the original form of the object
-same as perception

propositional representation

-abstract representation, not pictorial
-describes the object
- differs from perception


a rule of thumb

shape heuristics

simplify the design

rotation heuristic

remember things as more vertical or horizontal

alignment heuristic

line up different sets

operant conditioning

reinforced behaviors get repeated in the same or similar contexts

behaviorist approach

no evidence for thinking: random behavior gets reinforced

functional fixedness

seeing objects as having one function and failing to see other possible uses

mental set

continuing to use a successful solution/continuing to structure a problem in the same way


using a rule-based approach to solving a problem

normative model

people are rational; use logic

additive model

effective for rational decision making: make a list of what you want to see (in an apartment) $, color, utilities

wason card task

two sided card with letter on one side and number on the other
rule: if a card has a vowel on one side, then it has an even number on the other side

matching law

rate of responding matches the value of the reinforcement

delayed gratification

one factor influencing the matching law is the delay to reinforcement
longer wait= less value
fewer responses to behaviors with delays

problem of the commons

-shared grazing space
-each member of the community can graze their cow there
-large community
-personal gain vs. long-term risk

assumption of rationality

greenspan's assumption that system would assess risk and police itself

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