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    Choice Assistance with summaries of Cognition: Exploring the Science of the Mind - Reisberg - 7th edition

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    • The printed English booksummary contains the following chapters:
      • What is cognitive psychology? - Chapter 1
      • What is the neural basis of cognition? - Chapter 2
      • How does visual perception work? - Chapter 3
      • How do we recognize objects? - Chapter 4
      • What is attention? - Chapter 5
      • What is memory? - Chapter 6
      • What is the relationship between acquisition and the retrieval of information? - Chapter 7
      • How do we remember complex events? - Chapter 8
      • What are concepts? - Chapter 9
      • What is language? - Chapter 10
      • What is visual imagery? - Chapter 11
      • How does judgement and reasoning work? - Chapter 12
      • What are problem solving strategies and what is intelligence? - Chapter 13
      • How do conscious and unconscious processes proceed? - Chapter 14
    • The printed Dutch booksummary contains the following chapters:
      • Wat is cognitieve psychologie? - Chapter 1
      • Wat is de neurale basis van cognitie? - Chapter 2
      • Hoe werkt visuele perceptie? - Chapter 3
      • Hoe verloopt de herkenning van objecten? - Chapter 4
      • Wat is aandacht? - Chapter 5
      • Hoe werkt het geheugen? - Chapter 6
      • Wat is de relatie tussen acquisitie en terughalen van informatie? - Chapter 7
      • Hoe onthouden we complexe gebeurtenissen? - Chapter 8
      • Wat zijn concepten? - Chapter 9
      • Wat is taal? - Chapter 10
      • Wat is visuele verbeelding? - Chapter 11
      • Hoe werkt oordelen en redeneren? - Chapter 12
      • Wat zijn probleemoplossingsstrategieën en wat is intelligentie? - Chapter 13
      • Hoe verlopen bewuste en onbewuste processen? - Chapter 14

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    What is cognitive psychology? - Chapter 1

    What is cognitive psychology? - Chapter 1


    What does cognitive psychology entail?

    When cognitive psychology just came into existence, it was known as the scientific study of acquiring, retaining and using knowledge. Cognitive psychologists answered questions such as "how do people acquire knowledge?" and "how do people use their knowledge?".

    Topics such as maintaining attention (concentration) and making decisions are also important within cognitive psychology. Cognitive psychology, however, does not only study our functioning as intellectuals - it is much broader because many of our actions, thoughts, and feelings depend on our cognition (knowledge). Most (and perhaps all) experiences in the world depend on the knowledge you have and use. Even when trying to understanding a simple story, you use the knowledge you have. So even activities that are not intellectual in nature are important within cognitive psychology.

    However, cognition or knowledge is only useful when this knowledge is stored in memory. There is no use in learning something when you cannot remember the information later.  That is why memory is also a very important topic within cognitive psychology.

    What is the cognitive revolution?

    The modern form of cognitive psychology is around fifty years old. Although this is quite short, this field of psychology has had an enormous influence, which is also referred to as the "cognitive revolution". This meant that a new research method was introduced. This new research method also influenced other research areas.

    There were two important ideas during the cognitive revolution. The first idea was that human psychology (mental processes) could not be studied directly. The other idea was that this human psychology múst be studied if we want to understand behavior.

    Introspection

    Before the emergence of the cognitive revolution, there were other traditions within the field of psychology. The first tradition was that of Wilhelm Wundt and his student Edward Bradford Titchener. They argued that researchers in the field of psychology should focus primarily on conscious mental events such as feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and memories. They also stated that no one but the individual could experience his or her mental processes. That is why Wundt and Titchener proposed the use of introspection: 'looking inside' to observe the content of the mental events of individuals.

    However, not everyone could apply introspection: they had to be trained to do it. To train people in this, they would read a list with words that could be used to describe their thoughts and feelings. In addition, they were told that it is only the intention to objectively express what they felt or thought, without making any interpretations.

    This way of doing research was very popular for a number of years. Nevertheless, there were a number of problems with introspection. The first problem is the fact that people are not conscious of all of their mental processes. It is therefore impossible for people to report everything that takes place in their mind. The use of introspection as a method to study mental processes is therefore limited. It was also impossible to call this research method scientific (empirical), because the self-reports could not be confirmed or rejected with the use of statistical testing. These reasons led to that introspection was eventually rejected as a valid research method.

    Behaviorism

    As said before, introspection as a research method was rejected. Instead, a new tradition emerged called behaviorism. In behaviorism, researchers wanted to study only objective data, that is, behavior and stimuli that are observable. This objective data consists of observable behavior and external stimuli (noise, light). This data can be used to look at how behavior changes over time and therefore it is possible to determine one's learning history with this data.

    Things that cannot be directly observed, such as someone's beliefs, wishes, goals, preferences, and experiences, are not part of the field of behaviorism. The explanation for this is that these things can only be investigated with the help of introspection, which was no longer seen as a suitable method for doing scientific research.

    Behaviorism was very successful and yielded a lot of knowledge, among other things about how behavior changes based on the stimuli that one gets (rewards, punishments). However, around 1950 psychologists discovered that many behaviors could not be explained with the help of stimuli and observable behavior. After all, it is important to understand how people have come to a certain behavior and what thoughts have influenced them in this process. This is because the stimuli that people are offered must be interpreted and understood by people themselves before a certain behavior is exhibited. With the help of behaviorism it became unclear what these interpretations were and therefore it was not possible to study the underlying reasons or motives of the observable behavior and so it was not possible to explain the observable behavior.

    Immanuel Kant and the transcendental method

    The discovery that not all behavior could be explained with the use of observable behavior and external stimuli, brought some difficulties, such as that there was another research method needed to study human psychology. However, as said before, the use of introspection was not suitable. Fortunately, Immanuel Kant came up with a solution. He suggested the use of a transcendental method. This means that researchers first observe the effects and / or consequences of processes and then ask themselves: how did these effects (behaviors) come about? In other words, what are the causes for the observable behavior? This is called the transcendental method. Physicists use this method too when they try to explain visible effects from invisible causes.

    The transcendental method is a common research method in contemporary psychology. This means that mental processes are not studied directly, but indirectly. The reasoning behind this method is that mental processes are invisible, but the effects and / or consequences (behavior) are observable. Examples are accuracy measures, error measures and response times. By using these measures, hypotheses can be drawn up and tested about what the mental processes must have been that have led to specific effects (behavior).

    The greatest effect that the cognitive revolution has had on psychology is that contemporary researchers are constantly re-evaluating the best way to look at data. This is different than from before the cognitive revolution, because before this revolution psychologists were mainly concerned with finding an explanation that matches their data, without looking at other possibilities (other processes) that may have yielded the same data (behavior).

    From behaviorism to the cognitive revolution

    There are several causes for the emergence of the cognitive revolution. The first was that of the work of the researcher Edward Tolman, a behaviorist. Before Tolman, the main idea in behaviorism was that 'learning' meant that there was an observable change in behavior. According to them, there was no such thing as learning when there was no observable change in behavior. Tolman rejected this idea. According to him, learning was something more abstract and it meant that knowledge was acquired. He demonstrated this with the use of an experiment with rats, in which he placed rats in a maze for eleven days. The first ten days they received no food and there were also no observable changes in their behavior. According to traditional behaviorists, this meant that the rats did not learn anything in these ten days. However, this was not correct, because the rats were actually learning: they learned the design of the maze. The proof for this was that when food was placed somewhere in the maze on the eleventh day, the rats immediately ran to that specific location.

    What Tolman's work demonstrated was that the rats probably made a "cognitive map" of the maze. The reason why this was not visible was that before the eleventh day, the rats had no motivation to show that they knew the maze. However, when food became available, they suddenly had a goal and thus motivation to show that they had created a map of the maze. The conclusion of this experiment is that even rats have mental processes (they get to know the maze and develop a cognitive map) that can explain their behavior (they run to a specific location; the food).

    Another cause of the emergence of the cognitive revolution is that of strong criticism on behaviorism. An example of this criticism was addressed at B.F. Skinner, a radical behaviorist. He said that language was taught through behavior (observable data) and rewards (external stimuli). However, this idea was strongly rejected by the linguist Noam Chomsky, who demonstrated that Skinner was incorrect and that there should be another explanation to understand how people acquire language.

    European influences on the cognitive revolution

    There were also European influences on the emergence of the cognitive revolution, such as that of the Gestalt psychology in Berlin. Gestalt psychologists were a group of psychologists who argued that behaviors, ideas and perceptions could not be seen as independent from each other. Instead, these elements must be viewed as a whole. This means that an individual, using a combination of these elements, forms his or her own unique experience. This idea became important within cognitive psychology.

    Another important European influence on the cognitive revolution was that of the the British psychologist Frederic Bartlett. He was not a Gestalt psychologist, but he also emphasized that everyone forms their own experience. He also said that people place their experiences in a mental framework or 'schema' that ultimately determines how they interpret their experiences.

    Computers and the cognitive revolution

    In 1950, new perspectives on mental processes emerged. This was made possible in part by the rapid developments in the computer technology. Psychologists were impressed by the possibilities of computers and thought that computers had similar processes compared with mental processes. It was also expected during this time that computers would soon become truly intelligent, which led to the emergence of the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

    Donald Broadbent was one of the first researchers to use computers to explain human cognition.

    How is research done within cognitive psychology?

    There are various research methods that are used within cognitive psychology. First, we can look at how well people perform on a task (for example: how well does someone remember these words?) and how accurate someone is (does someone call the word banana, while this word was actually not on the list?). Second, we can look at how performance changes when input changes (instead of words, someone now has to remember a story). In addition, the effectiveness of learning strategies can be determined.

    Another common way of doing research within cognitive psychology is to look at response times (RT). This is the time it takes for people to perform a certain response (such as clicking, naming, or pressing the spacebar) after viewing (or hearing) a stimuli. For example, if you see a picture, and you have to click left or right, then the time from the moment you see the picture to the moment you respond (click) is your response time. This reaction time can tell a lot about the mental processes of people, because the longer someone his or her reaction time, the longer this person had to process the stimuli (a mental process).

    In addition, we can obtain information gained from research in cognitive neuroscience. This is a field that is concerned with understanding the mental functioning of people through the study of the brain and the nervous system. Observations from clinical neuropsychology can also be used. This is a field that deals with the way in which brain dysfunction can affect performance and behavior.

    What is the neural basis of cognition? - Chapter 2

    What is the neural basis of cognition? - Chapter 2

    What is the Capgras syndrome?

    The Capgras syndrome is a rare syndrome that can occur after brain damage. Someone suffering from this Capgras syndrome is able to recognize significant others in his or her life (such as his or her parents, friends, partner), but thinks these people are not the real people. For example, they think their partner has been abducted and that instead someone else is pretending to be the loved one.

    According to some researchers, the Capgras syndrome is caused by a disruption in the facial processing systems in the brain. These processing systems consist of two separate systems: a cognitive and an emotional system. The cognitive system is involved in recognizing people ("this is what my father looks like") and the emotional system is important for the emotions one experiences when seeing familiar faces ("I feel happy when I look at my mother"). In patients suffering from the Capgras syndrome there is probably a disruption in the emotional processing system, which leads to that these patients are able to recognize significant others, so they do see that someone looks like their father, mother, partner, etc., but they do not experience the (positive) emotional response that should come along with this recognition.

    How does visual perception work? - Chapter 3

    How does visual perception work? - Chapter 3

    What is visual perception?

    Vision or visual perception starts with light. Light is produced by several things in our environment (the sun, lamps, candles). This light then reflects on other objects and is reflected again. Part of this reflected light hits, passes through the cornea and the lens and then hits the retina.

    How do we recognize objects? - Chapter 4

    How do we recognize objects? - Chapter 4

    What is object recognition?

    We perceive the world around us with the help of different modalities, although vision is most important to people. How can people perceive and recognize objects that people see every day? First of all, this is due to  shape perception, a process that determines the basic shape and size of an object. Secondly, object recognition, the process in which one identifies what an object is, is very important.

    Object recognition can be influenced by the object (the stimulus) itself. The recognition process starting from the stimulus or the object itself is called bottom-up processing (from the stimuli to the brain). The effect of context, however, shows that recognition is also influenced by one's knowledge and expectations. This is called top-down processing (from the brain or mind to the stimuli).

    What is attention? - Chapter 5

    What is attention? - Chapter 5

    What is selective attention?

    William James is a very famous psychologist who described selective attention. Selective attention is the skill through which a person focuses on one input or one task while ignoring other stimuli that are also on the scene.

    What is memory? - Chapter 6

    What is memory? - Chapter 6

    What is the route to memory?

    Acquisition, storage and retrieval are terms that relate to human memory. Acquisition is about obtaining information, which is then saved and later retrieved.

    Cognitive psychology used to focus primarily on how information was perceived and then stored in memory. One of these models is the modal model. According to this model, different types of memory are involved during information processing. When information arrives for the first time, it travels to the sensory memory, where the content is stored in a "raw" sensory form. For visual information this is the iconic memory and for auditory information this is the echoic memory. After selection and interpretation, the information is sent to the short-term memory, where information can be retained while you are working on it. Some information is then stored in the long-term memory, a larger and more permanent repository where all your knowledge and beliefs are stored.

    What is the relationship between acquisition and the retrieval of information? - Chapter 7

    What is the relationship between acquisition and the retrieval of information? - Chapter 7

    What is the influence of the context on remembering information?

    Various studies have shown that the learning environment can influence the recall of material (context-dependent learning). For example, if you learn at home in your room every day, then you are expected to perform best when you take the test in your room as well. This can be explained by encoding specificity. This means that while learning something, someone also stores information about the context. When the person is then placed in the same context, this context ensures that connections are activated, which makes it easier to remember the things he or she has learned. What is very important here to mention is that it is not so much about the physical context, but also about the mental context.

    How do we remember complex events? - Chapter 8

    How do we remember complex events? - Chapter 8

    How do memory errors occur?

    There are a number of known cases of people who have incorrect memories. For example, after the Bijlmer disaster in 1992, researchers asked a number of people about the crash. For example, they asked them if they had seen the 'film' about the crash on television. However, there was no film at all. Yet half of the participants responded that they had seen the film. In a subsequent, similar study, researchers asked if participants had seen the film and asked them for details. Two-thirds of the participants responded that they had seen the film and most of them also mentioned details (such as whether the aircraft was on fire or not). Other studies, such as a study of a bombing in a club in Bali, also showed that people mention having seen videos that did not exist. They could also name details of these non-existent videos.

    What are concepts? - Chapter 9

    What are concepts? - Chapter 9

    What is meant by concepts?

    Ordinary concepts, such as 'shoe' or 'spoon', are the building blocks out of which all knowledge is created. As we've seen in previous chapters, you depend on your knowledge in many aspects of day-to-day functioning. So, you know what a restaurant is, because you understand the basis concept of 'restaurant'. So the idea is that you need concepts in order to have knowledge, and you need knowledge in order to function. In this chapter, the hypothesis is that understanding a concept is like knowing a dictionary definition. However, this hypothesis quickly runs into problems, so there are other, more complicated proposals needed.

    What is language? - Chapter 10

    What is language? - Chapter 10

    What is the essence of language?

    Using language is important for people, because language is essential for the transfer of ideas. It is important that this idea is expressed and then correctly understood by a recipient. Language is essential for many types of human actions. Language depends on clear patterns, patterns for the way in which words are used, but also patterns for the way in which words are combined into sentences. It also has a certain structure. At the highest level are the ideas that the speaker wants to convey. These ideas are generally represented in sentences that consist of words from different word groups. Words are formed by morphemes, the smallest language units that are meaningful. There are also "bound morphemes" that are placed at the end of words and thereby change the meaning of the word. Think of 'ed' and 's' at the end of words.

    What is visual imagery? - Chapter 11

    What is visual imagery? - Chapter 11

    What is the eye of the "mind"?

    People have written about imagery and the mind's eye for hundreds of years. Galton was the first to systematically study this imagery. He was particularly interested in how people differ with regards to these visual images. To investigate this, he asked people to describe the images in their minds and to judge them for vividness. This is an example of the use of introspection: people must 'look inside' and then report what they see or think. Many of the participants in Galton's study said the images in their brains were as clear as photos.

    How does judgement and reasoning work? - Chapter 12

    How does judgement and reasoning work? - Chapter 12

    What is thinking?

    People can learn a lot from experience, but there are defects in this form of learning. For example, sometimes the information given in the world around us is ambiguous or incomplete. It is also possible that our memories are selective or distorted.

    What are problem solving strategies and what is intelligence? - Chapter 13

    What are problem solving strategies and what is intelligence? - Chapter 13

    What are general problem-solving strategies?

    Researchers describe problem solving as a process of searching, just like a rat in a maze. People are looking for a way to achieve a goal. An example of this is the Hobbits and Orcs problem: "Five Orcs and five Hobbits are on the east bank of the Muddy River. They need to cross to the west bank and have located a boat. In each crossing, at least one creature must be in the boat, but no more than three creatures will fit in the boat. And, of course, if the Orcs ever outnumber the Hobbits in any location, they will eat the Hobbits! Therefore, in designing the crossing we must make certain that the Hobbits are never outnumbered, either on the east bank of the river or on the west. How can the creatures get across without any Hobbits being eaten?

    How do conscious and unconscious processes proceed? - Chapter 14

    How do conscious and unconscious processes proceed? - Chapter 14

    How does the study to the consciousness take place?

    Psychology emerged as a separate discipline alongside philosophy and biology at the end of 1800. In these years, consciousness was an important topic. For example, Wilhelm Wundt tried to discover the elements of consciousness in his laboratory in Germany. In America, William James was busy trying to understand the "flow" of consciousness. Yet this emphasis on consciousness disappeared quickly, because researchers in the field of psychology argued that it was a subjective and non-scientific topic. This led to the fact that in the early 1900s, there was virtually no research being done into consciousness. However, in the past decades, consciousness has been studied again and much progress has been made in understanding what it is. Still, questions about consciousness are very complicated, because it is a phenomenon that is invisible to everyone except an individual himself. Nevertheless, we now know quite a lot about consciousness.

    Cognition: Exploring the Science of the Mind - Reisberg - 7th edition - BulletPoints
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