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Ms Schwinge

on 6 November 2018

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Transcript of Cognition

, or cognition, refers to the
mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating.
We have been exposed to
, our spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we
combine them to communicate meaning
, our entire lives. But even though we rely on it to communicate meaning, we can make many inferences without it.
We refer to

as the
persistence of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of information.
In order to
any event, we must first get the information into our brain (
), retain that information (
), and later get it back out for our use (
The rough order in which we form memory is as follows:
sensory memory
short term memory
long term memory
(fleeting) (
encode through rehearsal
) (kept for later retrieval)

Working memory
is a newer understanding of short-term memory that focuses on conscious,
active processing of incoming auditory and visual-spatial information
. People's working memory capacity differs
Some information, like the route you walked to your last class, you can process with great ease (which frees your memory system to focus on less familiar events). But to retain new information, like a physics equation, you need to pay attention and try hard.
However, we do process some things
. For instance:
(place of information on page)
(sequence of the day's events)
(how many times things happen)
Well-learned information
(words on a delivery truck)
Effortful processing
refers to encoding that
requires attention and conscious effort
. It also involves the use of
, which is
constant repetition
. The amount remembered depends on the time spent learning.
Even after we learn material, additional rehearsal (
) increases retention. This is why it is important to
continue to rehearse course material even after you know it
We retain information better when our
rehearsal is distributed over time
, which is known as the
spacing effect
. Although
massed practice
(cramming) can produce
speedy short-term learning
, but
distributed study time
produces better
long-term recall
Serial processing
, our tendency to
recall best

the last and first items in a list
, is another type of memory phenomenon. This is why it is helpful to take
frequent breaks
while studying.
Types of Coding
Visual encoding
- the encoding of
picture images
Acoustic encoding
- the encoding of
sound, especially words
Semantic encoding
- the
encoding of meaning
, including the meaning of words
The procedure is actually quite simple. First you arrange items into different groups. Of course one pile may be sufficient depending on how much there is to do. If you have to go somewhere else due to lack of facilities that is the next step; otherwise, you are pretty well set. It is important not to overdo things. That is, it is better to do too few things at once then too many. In the short run this may not seem important but complications can easily arise. A mistake can be expensive as well. At first, the whole procedure will seem complicated. Soon, however, it will become just another facet of life. It is difficult to foresee any end to the necessity for this task in the immediate future, but then, one can never tell. After the procedure is completed one arranges the materials into different groups again. Then they can be put into their appropriate places. Eventually they will be used once more and the whole cycle will then have to be repeated. However, that is a part of life.
What process is being described?
Visual imagery
is involved in some of our most early memories, and is at the heart of many
mnemonic devices
(named after the Greek word for "memory"
is when we organize items into familiar, manageable units (and often occurs automatically). It can also be used as a mnemonic device.
Types of Memory
Sensory Memory
immediate, very brief recording of sensory information
in the memory system.
Iconic memory
refers to
stimuli, while
echoic memory
refers to
Working/Short-Term Memory
Conscious, active processing
of incoming auditory and visual-spatial information. Holds a few items
, before the information is stored or forgotten.
Our short-term recall is
slightly better for random digits than for random letters
(which may have similar sounds), and is slightly better for what we hear than for what we see.
Long-Term Memory
relatively permanent and limitless storehouse of the memory system
. Includes knowledge, skills, and experiences.
Storing Memories In The Brain
Experience modifies the brain's neural networks
increasing activity
in particular pathways (the
more activity
more neural interconnections
form or strengthen).
Increased synaptic efficiency makes for more efficient neural circuits, and r
apidly stimulating certain memory-circuit connections increases their sensitivity to neurotransmitters.
This prolonged strengthening of potential neural firing is called
long-term potentiation (LTP)
and is believed to be a neural basis for learning and memory.
is a neurotransmitter that
enhances synaptic communication
(LTP). However, sometimes memories don't get put back the way they were meant to.
Memory can also be affected by stress.
When sudden stress hormones are flowing,
older memories may be blocked
When we are
excited or stressed
, emotion-triggered
stress hormones
more glucose
energy available to fuel brain activity, signaling the brain that
something important
has happened. This is why
stronger emotional experiences make for stronger, more reliable memories.
However, there is also the
loss of memory,
which is known as
anterograde amnesia
, new memories are unable to be formed
the event that caused the amnesia, leading to a
partial or complete inability to recall the recent past, while long-term memories from before the event remain intact.
retrograde amnesia
, there is a
loss of memory-access
to events that occurred, or information that was learned,
an injury or the onset of a disease.
Implicit memory
memory) refers to memory
independent of conscious recollection
(memory of how to do things, such as motor skills like bike riding or playing an instrument is a type of implicit memory known as procedural memory)
Explicit memory is memory of facts and experiences
that one can consciously know and "declare" (
declarative memory
One of the most important structures in our brain related to memory is the
. The hippocampus is a
neural center located in the limbic system that helps process explicit memory for storage.
is active during
slow-wave sleep
, as memories are
processed and filed
for later retrieval. However, those memories are
not permanently stored
in the hippocampus; it acts more like a
loading dock
where the brain registers and
temporarily holds
the elements of remembered episode (its smell, feel, sound, and location) before the memory is
moved elsewhere.
Although your
hippocampus is a temporary processing site for your explicit memories
, you could
lose it
and still
lay down memories for skills and conditioned
plays a key role in
forming and storing the implicit memories
created by classical conditioning.
This means that
people with a damaged cerebellum cannot develop certain conditioned reflexes
(for example, being unable to associate a bell with a puff of air and therefore do not blink in anticipation).
To most people, memory is
(the ability to retrieve information
not in conscious awareness
), however there are other measures of testing if
something has been retained
speed at relearning
also reveals memory. If you once learned something and then forgot, you probably will
relearn it more quickly the second time
around (because the relearning is easier).
We remember more than we recall.
is a measure of memory in which the person need only
identify items previously learned
(like on a multiple choice test).
affects memory by
(often unconsciously)
particular associations in memory
. It is the "memoryless memory" of sorts; invisible memory without explicitly remembering it.
Putting yourself back in the
context where you experienced something
memory retrieval
= when
from the current situation may
subconsciously trigger retrieval
of an earlier experience.
Similar to context effect is known as
state-dependent memory
Mood-congruent memory
tendency to recall experiences that are consistent with one's current good or bad mood
) is also similar.
mood's effect on retrieval
also helps explain
why our moods persist
: when we're happy, we tend to recall happy events and therefore see the world as a happy place, but when we're depressed we tend to recall sad events, which darkens our interpretation of current events.
Daniel Schacter's "Seven Sins of Memory"
We can't remember what we have not encoded
Which one is the real penny?
After learning lists of nonsense syllables, Ebbinghaus studied how much he retained up to 30 days later. He found that
memory for novel information fades quickly, then levels out
We store in long-term memory what's important to us or what we've rehearsed
. But sometimes even stored information
cannot be accessed or decay
, which leads to
(forward acting)
: the
disruptive effect of prior learning on the recall of new information
(backward acting)
: the
disruptive effect of new learning on the recall of old information
When do we forget? Unfortunately,
forgetting can occur at any memory stage
. As we
information, we
filter, alter, or lose
much of it.
Freud believed that we used
as a
defense mechanism that banishes anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from our consciousness.
Although people's efforts to
intentionally forget neutral material often succeed
, when the material is
emotionally charged
do not have much luck.
What if we couldn't forget?
Memory Construction
Loftus and Palmer Traffic Accident Footage (1974)
How fast were the cars going when they_____ each other?
Misinformation Effect: incorporating misleading information into one's memory of an event.
So unwitting is the misinformation effect that we may later find it
nearly impossible to discriminate between our memories of real and suggested events
. Even listening to others' vivid retelling of an event or repeatedly imagining nonexistent actions may implant false memories
Source amnesia
(also called misattribution) is
attributing an event we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined to the wrong source.
refer to
mental groupings of similar objects, events, ideas, and people.
For example,
three sided objects = triangles
refer to a
mental image or best example that incorporates all the features we associate with a category
(the more closely something matches our prototype of a concept, the more readily we recognize it as an example of the concept)
As evidenced by our lab on Wednesday, some problems we solve through
trial and error
. However, for other problems we use something known as an
step-by-step procedure that guarantees a solution
More common are
, a simple thinking strategy that often
allows us to make judgments and solve problems efficiently and speedily, but usually with more errors
than algorithms.
Insight learning:
Creativity = the ability to produce novel and valuable ideas.
Confirmation Bias
A tendency to search for information that
supports our preconceptions and to ignore or distort contradicting science
Once we
incorrectly represent
a problem, it's
hard to restructure
how we approach it. This is known as
: the
inability to see a problem from a new perspective
or by employing a different mental set
There are
two examples of fixation
. One is a
mental set
, which is
a tendency to approach a problem in one particular way
, often a way that has been
successful in the past
The other type is
functional fixedness
the tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions
(an obvious impediment to problem solving)
Using and Misusing Heuristics, the Powers/Perils of Intuition, and the Effects of Framing
When we need to act quickly, our
mental shortcuts
(heuristics) often do help us
overcome analysis paralysis
. However, often the price we pay for this efficiency can be
(like making
quick but bad judgments
We use the
representativeness heuristic to judge the likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to represent, or match, particular prototypes
(however, they may cause us to ignore other relevant information)
"A stranger tells you about a person who is short, slim, and likes to read poetry, and then asks you to guess whether this person is more likely to be a professor at an Ivy League university or a truck driver. Which would be the better guess?"
...But what if I was talking about these guys?
availability heuristic is how we estimate the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory
. If instances
come readily
to mind (maybe due to their vividness), we
presume such events are common
This combination of heuristics often leads to
; our tendency to
overestimate the accuracy of our knowledge and judgments
Similar to overconfidence,
belief perseverance
clinging to our initial conceptions after the basis on which they were formed has been discredited
), often causes us to be
overconfident in our judgments
and can actually be the cause of
social conflict
is somewhat related to heuristics, and is described as an
effortless, immediate, automatic feeling or thought
(as opposed to explicit, conscious reasoning)
A test of rationality is whether the same issue, presented in two different but logically equivalent ways, will elicit the same answer.
Framing, the way an issue is posed
, affects decisions and judgments.
For example, which phrase seems less scary?
- You have a 10% chance of dying today
- You have a 90% chance of surviving today?
The most important thing to remember is
how something is framed for you can influence your decision
More on Memory
Even though Pingu isn't speaking a real language, we need
three main building blocks to constitute a real one
1.) Phonemes
the smallest distinctive sound unit.
For example, the word "chat" has three phonemes (ch, a, and t).
Linguists surveying nearly 500 languages have identified
869 different phonemes
in human speech (although no language uses all of them).
English uses around 40
; other languages use anywhere from half to no more than twice that many.
Changes in phonemes produce changes in meaning
. For example, in English
varying the vowel sound
between b and t creates 12 different meanings (
bait, bat, beat, beet, bet, bit, bite, boat, boot, bought, bout, and but
2.) Morphemes
the smallest unit that carries meaning
. It may be a
word or part of a word
(like a
such as the pre- in preview, or a
like the -ed that shows past tense).
In English,
a few morphemes are also phonemes
(like the personal pronoun "I," or the "s" that indicates plural. However,
most morphemes are combinations of two or more phonemes
3.) Grammar
a system of rule (semantics and syntax) that enables us to communicate with and understand others
"I'm happy to say that my final judgment of a case is almost always consistent with my prejudgment of the case"
Semantics is the set of rules we use to derive meaning from morphemes, words, and even sentences
. In English, a semantic rule tells us that adding
to a word means that it happened in the
Syntax refers to the rules we use to order words into sentences
. One rule or English syntax says that adjectives usually come before nouns, so we say "white house." However, in Spanish the reverse is true, so we say "casa blanca."
In all
600 languages
, the grammar is intricately complex, and the language becomes increasingly more complex as you move from one level to the next.
Learning Language
language development
moves from
simplicity to complexity
. Infants start without language ("
in fantis
" means "
no speaking
"), yet by
4 months
of age babies can
discriminate speech sounds and read lips
. This period marks the beginning of the development of babies'
receptive language
, their
ability to comprehend speech
productive language
, their
ability to produce words
, matures
their receptive language. Around 4 months of age, babies enter the
babbling stage
in which they
spontaneously utter a variety of sounds
Babbling is NOT an imitation of adult speech
, since it includes sounds from various languages (even those not spoken in the household).
Deaf babies who observe their Deaf parents signing begin to babble more with their hands
Explaining Language Development
As a behaviorist,
Skinner believed that babies learn to talk in many of the same ways that animals learn to peck keys and press bars
, and
Linguist Noam Chomsky believed that,
given adequate nurture, language will naturally occur
due to us being prewired with a type of language acquisition device. As we hear language, the "switches" of our device get set for the language we are going to learn.
have a surprising
knack for soaking up language
, but it has been shown that
seems to represent a
(or "
mastering certain aspects of language
. By the time infants are around 10 months old, their babbling has changed so that a trained ear can identify the language of the household; this means that
sounds and intonations outside that language begin to disappear
if a young brain does not learn any language, its language-learning capacity never fully develops
Thinking and Language
The language we are speaking in may influence how we think
. For example,
has a rich vocabulary for
self-focused emotions
such as
, while
has more words for
interpersonal emotions
such as
bilinguals report that they have different senses of self depending which language they are using
. This may have to do with the
words that are available
in each particular language.
Although we see colors much the same,
we use our native tongue to classify and remember colors
. If we have the words to describe them, we are able to differentiate between a greater number of shades.
We often think in images when we use implicit
(non-declarative, procedural)
; our
unconscious memory system for motor and cognitive skills
and conditioned associations.
Thinking in images can increase our skills when we mentally practice
upcoming events.
Genie the "Feral" child
The Problem With Eye-Witness Testimony
Animals Have Language Too!
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