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mental activity; describes the acquisition, storage, transformation, and use of knowledge

Cognitive Psychology

1) synonym for cognition
2) the cognitive approach to psychology; a theoretical approach ("cognitive approach") that emphasizes people's knowledge and their mental processes.

Wilhelm Wundt

Established the first psychology lab in 1879 and studied mental processes using introspection.


the process of systematically analyzing one's own sensations and reporting them as objecting as possible

What is the behaviorist approach to psychology?

Psychology must focus on objective, observable reactions to stimuli in the environment. Behaviorists avoided terms that referred to mental events such as "image," "idea," and "thought."

What caused the shift from behaviorism to cognitive psychology in the 1950's?

- Disenchantment due to nature of experiments (i.e. Little Albert)
- Growth of interest in memory, developmental psychology (Piaget), linguistics (Chomsky), and emergence of computers (Information-Processing Approach).

Information-Processing Approach

1) a comparison to brain function
2) a mental process can be interpreted as information progressing through the system in a series of stages, one step at a time.
(i.e. flowchart)

Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP

the model proposing that cognitive processes can be understood in terms of networks that link together neuron-like units; the model states that many operations proceed simultaneously, rather than one at a time

Serial Processing

a type of cognitive processing in which only one item is handled at a given time and one step must be completed before proceeding to the next step (see Information-Processing Approach)

What are the limitations of the experimental method?

- lack of ecological validity
- argument that the best things in life cannot be quantified (i.e. love, joy, beauty, truth)
- belief as a confounding variable (Magellan's Diary)

Ecological Validity

a principle stating that the conditions in which research is conducted should be similar to the natural setting to which the results will be applied

Name the 4 types of brain-imaging techniques.

1) Electroencephalogram (EEG)
2) Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
3) Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
4a) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
4b) fMRI (functional)



an amplified recording of electrical activity that sweep across the brain's surface

CT Scan / CAT Scan

Computed Tomography Scan

series of x-ray photos taken from different angles and combined by a computer into a composite representation of the brain in "slices"

PET Scan

Positron Emission Tomography Scan

a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task


Magnetic Resonance Imaging

uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce CGI that distinguish among different types of soft tissue; allows us to see structures within the brain


variant of technique that measures level of activity in different parts of the brain


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

an electrical current is sent through a coil placed on the surface of the skull, resulting in the firing of neurons beneath the scalp; can briefly enhance or disrupt neural activity.

What is the frontal lobe responsible for?

- speaking
- muscle movement
- planning
- judgement

It also contains the primary motor cortex.

What is the parietal lobe responsible for?

Registering and processing sensations. Contains the somatosensory cortex.

What is the occipital lobe responsible for?

Vision. Contains the primary visual area.

What is the temporal lobe responsible for?

Hearing. Contains the auditory areas.

Name the four parts of the cerebral cortex.

1) Frontal Lobe
2) Parietal Lobe
3) Occipital Lobe
4) Temporal Lobe

Name the four parts of the limbic system.

1) Hypothalamus
2) Pituitary Gland
3) Hippocampus
4) Amygdala


donut-shaped structure that is important in memory


two almond-shaped neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are linked to emotion, especially fear and aggression.

Are our behaviors determined by brain function?

Physiological correlates can almost always be found for psychological states. However, this does not necessarily mean that brain states cause mental states.
i.e. Psychotherapy and drug therapy produce similar types of brain changes.

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