146 terms

Cognitive Psychology Ch. 1-4

Introduction, Neuroscience, Perception, Attention
Action pathway
Neural pathway, extending from the occipital lobe to the parietal lobe, that is associated with neural processing that occurs when people take action. Corresponds to the where pathway
Action potential
Electrical potential that travels down a neuron's axon
A procedure that is guaranteed to solve a problem
Analytic introspection
A procedure used by early psychologists in which trained participants described their experiences and thought processes elicited by stimuli presented under controlled conditions
Artificial intelligence
The ability of a computer to perform tasks usually associated with human intelligence
Audiovisual mirror neuron
Neuron in the monkey premotor cortex that responds when a monkey performs an action and also when it hears the sound associated with this action (for example the action associated with breaking a peanut, and the associated sound)
Part of the neuron that transmits signals from the cell body to the synapse
Behavioral approach
Studying the mind by measuring a person's behavior and explaining this behavior in behavioral terms
The approach to psychology, founded by John B. Watson, which states that observable behavior provides the only valid data for psychology. A consequence of this idea is that consciousness and unobservable mental processes are not considered worthy of study by psychologists
Bottom-up Processing
Processing that starts with information received by the receptors. This type of processing can also be called data-based processing.
Brain ablation
A procedure in which a specific area is removed from an animal's brain. It is usually done to determine the function of this area by assessing the effect on the animal's behavior
Brain imaging
Techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) that result in images of the brain that represent brain activity. In cognitive psychology, activity is measure in response to specific cognitive tasks
Broca's aphasia
A condition associated with damage to corresponding area, in the frontal lobe, characterized by difficulty in using speech to express thoughts, but with a remaining facility for understanding speech
Broca's area
an area in the frontal lobe associated with the production of language
Cell Body
Part of a cell that contains mechanisms that keep the cell alive. In some neurons it and the dendrites associated with it receive information from other neurons
Cerebral cortex
the 3-mm-thick outer layer of the brain that contains the mechanisms responsible for higher mental functions such as perception, language, thinking and problem solving
Choice reaction time
Reacting to one of two or more stimuli; for example, in Donder's experiment participants had to make one response to one stimulus and a different response to another stimulus
Classical Conditioning
A procedure in which pairing a neutral stimulus with a stimulus that elicits a response causes the neutral stimulus to elicit that response
The mental processes involved in perception, attention, memory, language, problem solving, reasoning, and making decisions
Cognitive map
Mental conception of a spatial layout
Cognitive neuroscience
field involved in studying the neural basis of cognition
Cognitive psychology
the branch of psychology concerned with the scientific study of the mental processes involved in perception, attention, memory, language, problem solving, reasoning and decision making. In short, it is concerned with the scientific study of the mind and mental processes
Cognitive revolution
A shift in psychology, beginning in the 1950s, from the behaviorist approach to an approach in which the main thrust was to explain behavior in terms of the mind. One of the outcomes of the was the introduction of the information-processing approach to studying the mind
Componential recovery
The principal associated with recognition-by-components theory that states that if we can recover (see) an object's geons, we can identify the object
Structures that branch out from the cell body to receive electrical signals from other neurons
A situation in cases of brain damage, in which the damage causes a problem in one function while not affecting other functions
Distributed coding
Representation of an object or experience by the pattern of firing of a number of neurons
Double dissociation
A situation in which a single dissociation can by demonstrated in one person, and the opposite type of single dissociation can by demonstrated in another person (i.e., Person 1: function A is present; function B is damaged; Person 2: function A is damaged; function B is present)
Event-related potential (ERP)
An electical potential, recorded with disc electrodes on a person's scalp, that reflects the response of many thousands of neurons near the electrode that fire together. Consists of a number of waves that occur at different delays after a wave occurs in response to a sentence that contains a word that doesn't fit the meaning of the sentence
Extrastriate body area (EBA)
An area in the temporal cortex that is activated by pictures of bodies and parts of bodies, but not by faces or other objects
Law of Familiarity
Law of perceptual organization that states that things are more likely to form groups if the groups appear familiar or meaningful
Feature detectors
Neurons that respond to specific visual features such as orientation, size or the more complex features that make up environmental stimuli
Feedback signal
Neural signal that travels back from higher centers to influence incoming signals
Frontal lobe
The lobe in the front of the brain that serves higher functions such as language, thought memory, and motor functioning
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
A brain imaging technique that measures how blood flow changes in response to cognitive activity. Unlike positron emission tomography, this technique does not involve the injection of a radioactive tracer
Fusiform face area (FFA)
An area in the temporal lobe that contains many neurons that respond selectively to faces
The basic feature unit of the recognition-by-components approach to object perception. Basic three-dimensional volumes
Gestalt Psychologists
A group of psychologists who proposed principles governing perception, such as laws of organization, and a perceptual approach to problem solving involving restructuring
Law of Good Continuation
Law of perceptual organization stating that points that, when connected, result in straight or smoothly curving lines are seen as belonging together. In addition, lines tend to be seen as following the smoothest path
Grandmother cell
A neuron that responds only to a highly specific stimulus (specific image, concept, reality)
A "rule of thumb" that provides a best-guess solution to a problem
Information-processing approach
the approach to psychology, developed beginning in the 1950s, in which the mind is described as processing information through a sequence of stages
Landmark discrimination problem
Problem in which the task is to remember an object's location and to choose that location after a delay. Associated with research on the where processing stream
Light-from-above heuristic
The assumption that light is coming from above. This heuristic can influence how we perceive three-dimensional objects that are illuminated
Likelihood principle
Part of Helmholtz's theory of unconscious inference that states that we perceive the object that is most likely to have caused the pattern of stimuli we have received
Localization of a function
Location of specific functions in specific areas of the brain. For example, areas have been identified that are specialized to process information involved in the perception of movement, form, speech and different aspects of memory
Logic theorist
Computer program devised by Alan Newell and Herbert Simon that was able to solve logic problems
Memory consolidation
Process by which experiences or information that has entered the memory system becomes strengthened so it is resistant to interference caused by trauma or other events
Small wires that are used to record electrical signals from single neurons
System that creates and controls mental functions such as perception, attention, memory, emotions, language, deciding, thinking and reasoning, and that creates mental representations of the world
Mirror neuron
Neuron in the premotor cortex, originally discovered in the monkey, that responds both when a monkey observes someone else (usually the experimenter) carrying out an action and when the monkey itself carries out the action. There is also evidence for these in humans
In cognitive psychology, a representation of the workings of the mind; often presented as interconnected boxes that each represent the operation of specific mental functions
An area of the brain that is specialized for a specific function. for example, the fusiform face area, extrastriate body area, and parahippocampal place area are these for perceiving faces, bodies and places respectively
Theory of Natural Selection
The idea, originating with Darwin, that genetically based characteristics that enhance an animal's ability to survive, and therefore reproduce, will be passed on to future generations
Nerve impulse
An electrical response that is propagated down the length of an axon (nerve fiber). Also called an action potential
Nerve net
A network of continuously interconnected nerve fivers (as contrasted with neural networks, in which fibers are connected by synapses)
Neural circuit
Group of interconnected neurons that are responsible for neural processing
Neural code
The representation of specific stimuli or experiences by the firing of neurons
Cell that is specialized to receive and transmit information in the nervous system
Neuron Doctrine
The idea that individual cells called neurons transmit signals in the nervous system, and that these cells are not continuous with other cells are proposed by nerve net theory
The study of the behavioral effects of brain damage in humans
Chemical that is released at the synapse in response to incoming action potentials
Object discrimination problem
A problem in which the task is to remember an object based on its shape and choose it when presented with another object after a delay. Associated with research on the what processing stream
Oblique effect
The finding that vertical and horizontal orientations can be perceived more easily than other (slanted) orientations
Occipital lobe
The lobe at the back of the brain that is devoted primarily to analyzing incoming visual information
Operant conditioning
Type of conditioning championed by B. F. Skinner, which focuses on how behavior is strengthened by presentation of positive reinforcers, such as food or social approval, or withdrawal of negative reinforcers, such as shock or social rejection
Parahippocampal place area (PPA)
An area in the temporal lobe that contains neurons that are selectively activated by pictures of indoor and outdoor scenes
Parietal lobe
The lobe at the top of the brain that contains mechanisms responsible for sensations caused by stimulation of the skins, and also some aspects of visual information
Conscious experience that results from stimulation of the senses
Perception pathway
Neural pathway, extending from the occipital lobe to the temporal lobe, that is associated with perceiving or recognizing objects. Corresponds to the what pathway
Perceptual organization
The process of organizing elements of the environment into separate objects
Laws of perceptual organization
Rules proposed by the Gestalt psychologists to explain how small elements of a scene or a display become perceptually grouped to form larger units.
Physical regularities
Regularly occurring physical properties of the environment. For example, there are more vertical and horizontal in the environment than oblique (angled) orientations
Physiological approach
Studying the mind by measuring physiological and behavioral responses, and explaining behavior in physiological terms
Positron emission tomography (PET)
A brain imaging technique involving the injection of a radioactive tracer
Law of Pragnanz (good figure and simplicity)
Law of perceptual organization that states that every stimulus pattern is seen in such a way that the resulting structure is as simple as possible
Primary receiving area
Area in the cortex that is the first to receive inputs from one of the senses. For example, the occipital cortex is this area for vision
Condition caused by damage to the temporal lobe that is characterized by an inability to recognize faces
Reaction time
The time it takes to react to a stimulus. This is usually determined by measuring the time between presentation of a stimulus and the response to the stimulus (ex. pushing a button, saying a word, moving the eyes, and the appearance of a particular brain wave)
Specialized neural structures that respond to environmental stimuli such as light, mechanical stimulation, or chemical stimuli
Recognition-by-components theory (RBC)
A feature-based approach to object perception that proposes that the recognition of objects is based on three-dimensional features called geons
Recording electrode
When used to study neural functioning, a very thin glass or metal probe that can pick up electrical single neurons
Reference electrode
Used in conjunction with a recording electrode to measure the difference in charge between the two. Generally placed where the electrical signal remains constant, so any change in charge between the recording and reference electrodes reflects events happening near the tip of the recording electrode
Regularities in the environment
Characteristics of the environment that occur frequently. For example, blue is associated with open sky, landscapes are often green and smooth, and verticals and horizontals are often associated with buildings
A network of neurons that lines the back of the eye. The transformation of light into electrical signals and the initial processing of visual information accur in the retina
Savings method
Method used to measure retention in Ebbinghaus's memory experiments. He read lists of nonsense syllables and determined how many repetitions it took to repeat the lists with no errors. He then repeated this procedure after various intervals following initial learning and compared the number of repetitions needed to achieve no errors
Semantic regularities
Characteristics associated with the functions carried out in different types of scenes. For example, food preparation, cooking and perhaps eating occur in a kitchen
Law of Similarity
Law of perceptual organization that states that similar things appear to be grouped together
Simple reaction time
Reacting to the presence or absence of a single stimulus (as opposed to having to choose between a number of stimuli before making a response)
Single dissociation
A situation that occurs in cases of brain damage, in which the damage causes a problem in one function while not affecting other functions. Occurs when one function is present and another is absent
Size constancy
The tendency to perceive an object as remaining the same size even if it is viewed from different distances. This leads to the conclusion that perception of an object's size does not depend solely on the size of its image on the receptors
Specificity coding
The representation of a specific stimulus by the firing of neurons that respond only to that stimulus. An example would be the signaling of a person's face by the firing of a neuron that responds only to that person's face
Speech segmentation
The process of perceiving individual words within the continuous flow of the speech signal
An approach to psychology that explained perception as the adding up of small elementary units called sensations
Subtraction technique
The technique used in brain imaging in which baseline activity is subtracted from the activity generated by a specific task. The result is the activity due only to the task that is being studied
Space between the end of an axon and the cell body or dendrite of the next axon
Temporal lobe
The lobe on the side of the brain that contains mechanisms responsible for language, memory, hearing, and vision
Top-down processing
Processing that involves a person's knowledge or expectations. This type of processing has also been called knowledge-based processing
Theory of unconscious inference
Helmholtz's idea that some of our perceptions are the result of unconscious assumptions that we make about the environment
Wernicke's aphasia
A condition, caused by damage to corresponding area, that is characterized by difficulty in understanding language, and fluent, grammatically correct, but incoherent speech
Wernicke's area
Area in the temporal lobe associated with understanding language
What pathway
Neural pathway, extending from the occipital lobe to the parietal lobe, that is associated with neural processing that occurs when people locate objects in space. Roughly corresponds to the action pathway
Where pathway
Neural pathway, extending from the occipital lobe to the parietal lobe, that is associated with neural processing that occurs when people locate objects in space. Roughly corresponds to the action pathway
focusing on specific features, objects, or locations or on certain thoughts or activities
attenuation theory of attention
Anne Treisman's model of selective attention that proposes that selection occurs in two stages. In the first stage, an attenuator analyzes the incoming message and lets through the attended message-and also the unattended message, but at a lower (attenuated) strength
in Treisman's model of selective attention, analyzes the incoming message in terms of physical characteristics, language, and meaning. Attended messages pass through at full strength, and unattended messages pass though with reduced strength
a developmental disorder in which one of the major symptoms is withdrawal of contact from other people. People with this disorder often direct their attention differently from people without this disorder
automatic processing
processing that occurs without the person intending to do it, and that also uses few cognitive resources. Associated with easy or well-practiced tasks
balint's syndrome
a condition caused by brain damage in which a person has difficulty focusing attention on individual objects
bottleneck model
model of attention that proposes that incoming information is restricted at some point in processing, so only a portion of the information gets through to consciousness. Broadbent's model is an example
change blindness
difficulty in detecting changes in similar, but slightly different, scenes that are presented one after another. The changes are often easy to see once attention is directed to them, but are usually undetected in the absence of appropriate attention
cocktail party effect
the phenomenon that occurs when, in the process of focusing attention on one message or conversation, a message from another source enters consciousness. This can occur when a person is focusing on a conversation at a party and suddenly hears his or her name from across the room
cognitive load
The amount of a person's cognitive resources needed to carry out a particular cognitive task
cognitive resources
The idea that a person has a certain cognitive capacity, or resources, that can be used for carrying out various tasks
compatible flanker
A stimulus in the display for a flanker compatibility task that is associated with a response that is teh same as or compatible with the response that the participant is supposed to make to a target stimulus
controlled processing
Processing that involves close attention. This term is especially associated with Schneider and Shiffrin's experiment, which showed that this was needed in the difficult, varied mapping condition of their experiment, even after extensive practice
covert attention
Occurs when attention is shifted without moving the eyes, commonly referred to as seeing something "out of the corner of one's eye"
dichotic listening
the procedure of presenting one message to the left ear and a different message to the right ear
dictionary unit
a component of Treisman's attenuation theory of attention. This processing unit contains stored words and thresholds for activating the words. It helps explain why we can sometimes hear a familiar word, such as our name, in an unattended message
divided attention
The ability to pay attention to, or carry out, two or more different tasks simultaneously
early selection model
model of attention that explains selective attention by early filtering out of the unattended message. In Broadbent's model, the filtering step occurs before the message is analyzed to determine its meaning
endogenous attention
Occurs when a person consciously decides to scan the environment to find a specific stimulus or monitor what is happening. Can also occur for auditory stimuli
exogenous attention
attention that is automatically attracted by a sudden visual or auditory stimulus
eye tracker
a device for measuring where people look (fixate) in a scene and how they move their eyes from one fixation point to another
feature integration theory
an approach to object perception developed by Anne Treisman that proposes that object perception occurs in a sequence of stages in which features are first analyzed and then combined to result in perception of an object
in perception and attention, a pausing of the eyes on places of interest while observing a scene
flanker compatibility task
a procedure in which participants are instructed to respond to a target stimulus that is flanked, or surrounded, by distractor stimuli that they are supposed to ignore. The degree to which the distractor interferes with responding to the target is taken as an indication of whether the distractor stimuli are being processed
focused attention stage
The second stage of Treisman's feature integration theory. According to the theory, attention causes the combination of features into perception of an object
high-load tasks
a task that uses most or all of a person's resources and so leaves little capacity to handle other tasks
illusory conjunctions
a situation, demonstrated in experiments by Anne Treisman, in which features from different objects are inappropriately combined
inattentional blindness
Not noticing something even though it is in clear view, usually caused by failure to pay attention to the object or the place where the object is located
incompatible flanker
a stimulus in the display for a flanker compatibility task that is associated with a response that is different from the response that the participant is supposed to make to a target stimulus
late selection model
a model of selective attention that proposes that selection of stimuli for final processing does not occur until after the information in the message has been analyzed for meaning
location-based attention
models of attention that propose that attention operates on whatever stimuli are at a particular location
low-load tasks
a task that uses few resources, leaving some capacity to handle other tasks
object-based attention
model of attention proposing that the enhancing efforts of attention can be located on a particular object
overt attention
shifting of attention by moving the eyes
preattentive stage
The first stage of Treisman's feature integration theory, in which an object is analyzed into its features
A procedure in which participants are given a cue that will usually help them carry out a subsequent task. This procedure has been used in visual attention experiments in which participants are presented with a cue that tells them where to direct their attention
saccadic eye movements
eye movements from one fixation point to another
same-object advantage
occurs when the enhancing effect of attention spreads throughout an object, so that attention to one place on an object results in a facilitation of processing at other places on the object
scene schema
a person's knowledge about what is likely to be contained in a particular scene. This knowledge can help guide attention to different areas of the scene. For example, knowledge of what is usually in an office may cause a person to look toward the desk to see the computer
selective attention
The ability to focus on one message and ignore all others
The procedure of repeating a message out loud as it is heard. Commonly used in conjunction with studies of selective attention that use the dichotic listening procedure
stimulus salience
Bottom-up factors that determine attention to elements of a scene. Examples are color, contrast and orientation. The meaningfulness of the images, which is a top-down factor, does not contribute to this
stroop effect
An effect studied using a task in which a person is instructed to respond to one aspect of a stimulus, such as the color of ink that a word is printed in, and ignor another aspect, such as what the word spells. Refers to the fact that people find this task difficult when the ink color differs from what the word spells