Cognitive Psychology

Vocabulary Words (Introduction, Perceptual Processes, Working Memory, Long Term Memory)
Created Dec 7, 2006
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A term for the mental activities involving the acquisition, storage, transformation, and use...
Cognitive approach
A theoretical orientation that emphasizes people's knowledge and their mental processes.
Emperical evidence
scientific evidence obtained by careful observation and experimentation
the process of systematically analyzing one's own sensations and reporting them as objectively...
experiments in which a phenomenon is tested under a variety of conditions
recency effect
observation that our recall is especially accurate for the final items in a series of stimuli
behaviorist approach
a perspective in which psychology must focus only on objective, observable reactions; behaviorism...
operational definition
a precise definition that specifies exactly how a concept is to be measured
Gestalt psychology
psychology that emphasizes that humans have basic tendencies to organize what they see and...
object permanence
the knowledge that an object exists, even when it is temporarily out of sight
information-processing approach
An approach in cognitive psychology that argues: (1) a mental process can best be understood...
Atkinson-Shiffrin model
a model which proposed that memory can be understood as a sequence of discrete steps, in which...
sensory memory
large-capacity storage system that records information from each of the senses with reasonable...
short-term memory
(working memory) containts only the small amount of information we are actively using. Memories...
long-term memory
has an enormous capacity because it contains memories that are decades old, in addition to...
ecological validity
studies have this if the conditions in which the research is conducted are similar to the natural...
cognitive neuroscience
combines the research techniques of cognitive psychology with various methods for assessing...
brain lesions
the destruction of tissue, most often by strokes, tumors, or accidents
positron emission tomography (PET scan)
researchers measure blood flow by injecting the participant with a radioactive chemical just...
functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
-measure the blood flow in various brain areas -based on the principle that oxygen-rich blood...
event-related potential (ERP) technique
records the tiny fluctuations in the brain's electrical activity, in response to a stimulus
single-cell recording technique
rearchers study characteristics of an animal's brain and nervous system by inserting a thin...
Artificial intelligence (AI)
a branch of computer science which seeks to explore human cognitive processes by creating computer...
computer metaphor
our cognitive processes work like a computer, that is, a complex, multipurpose machine that...
pure AI
approach that seeks to accomplish a task as efficiently as possible
computer simulation
attempts to take human limitations into account. Goal is to design a system that resembles...
parallel distributed processing (PDP)
(connectionism) (neural networks) an approach that argues that cognitive processes can be...
cerebral cortex
the outer layer of the brain that is responsible for cognitive processes
serial processing
processing in which only one item is handled at a given time, and one step must be completed...
parallel processing
the idea that cognitive activities use a process with many signals handled at the same time...
a pintpoint-sized location of neural activity which are inter-connected in a complex fashion...
cognitive science
a broader, contemporary field than cognitive psych which tries to answer questions about the...
uses previous knowledge to gather and interpret the stimuli registered by the senses
object/pattern recognition
process of identifying a complex arrangement of sensory stimuli. When you recognize an object,...
distal stimulus
the actual object that is "out there" in the environment--for example, the telephone sitting...
proximal stimulus
the information registered in your sensory receptors--for example, the image on your retina...
iconic memory
(visual sensory memory) allows an image of a visual stimulus to persist for about 200-400...
primary visual cortex
located in the occipital lobe of the brain; it is the portion of your cerebral cortex that...
illusory contours
(subjective contours) we see edges even though they are not physically present in the stimulus
template-matching theory
you compare a stimulus with a set of templates---after comparing the stimulus to a number of...
specific patterns that you have stored in memory
feature-analysis theories
propose that a visual stimulus is composed of a small number of characteristics or components
distinctive feature
characteristics and components which make up a visual stimulus
recognition-by-components theory
(structural theory) basic assumption is that a given view of an object can be represented...
simple 3-D shapes
viewer-centered approach
proposes that we store a small number of views of 3-D objects, rather than just one view
bottom-up processing
emphasizesthe importance of the stimulus in object recognition. Specifically, the physical...
top-down processing
emphasizes how a person's concepts and higher-level mental processes influence object recognition....
word-superiority effect
we can identify a single letter more accurately and more rapidly than when it appears alone...
change blindness
inability to detect changes in an object or scene
inattentional blindness
failure to notice that a new object has appeared in a scene
overall shape and structure
a condition in which people cannot recognize human faces visually, though they perceive other...
a concentration of mental activity
divided-attention task
try to pay attention to two or more simultaneous messages, responding to each as needed
selective-attention task
people are instructed to respond selectively to certain kinds of information, while ignoring...
dichotic listening
each ear is presented with a different message in a set of earphones
Stroop effect
people have trouble naming the ink color when that color is used in prining an incongruent...
cross-modal task
a task which uses two different perceptual systems
attentional blink
a series of stimuli is presented rapidly, and the system becomes overloaded; viewers can accurately...
saccadic eye movement
very rapid movement of the eyes from one sport to the next
center of the retina
occur during the period between saccadic movements; during each fixation the visual system...
perceptual span
the number of letters and spaces that you receive during a fixation
moving backward to earlier material in the sentence
posterior attention network
responsible for the kind of attention required for visual search, in which you must shift your...
unilateral neglect
a spaital deficit for one half of the visual field
anterior attention network
area in the frontal lobe of the cortex responsible for attention tasks that focus on word meaning....
bottleneck theories
propose a narrow passageway in human information processing which limits the quantity of info...
automatic processing
parallel processing easy tasks that use highly familiar items---handle two or more at same...
controlled processing
serial processing difficult, unfamiliar tasks---can handle only one at a time
feature-integration theory
sometimes look at a scene using distributed attention, with all parts of the scene processed...
distributed attention
allows you to register features automatically, using parallel processing across the field
focused attention
requires serial processing and you identify one object at a time
illusory conjunction
an inappropriate combination of features, perhaps combining one object's shape with a nearby...
binding problem
the important features of an object are not represented as a unified whole by your visual system
the awareness people have of the outside world and of their perceptions, images, thoughts,...
ironic effects of mental control
how our efforts can backfire when we attempt to control the contents of our consciousness
an unusual kind of vision without awareness
a memory unit that consists of several components that are strongly associated with one another
repeating the items silently
primacy effect
tendency to have better recall for items at the beginning of the list, presumably because early...
control processes
strategies (such as rehearsal) that people use to improve their memory
proactive interference (PI)
people have trouble learning new material because previously learned material keeps interfering...
working-memory approach
our immediate memory is a multipart system that temporarily holds and manipulates information...
phonological loop
stores a limited number of sounds for a short period of time
visuospatial sketchpad
stores visual and spatial information--and also stores visual info that has been encoded from...
central executive
integrates information from the phonological loop, the visuospatial sketchpad, and the episodic...
episodic buffer
temporary storehouse where we can gather and combine info from the phono loop, the VS sketchpad,...
long-term working memory
a set of acquired strategies that allow memory experts to expand their memory performance for...
episodic memory
focuses on your memories for events that happened to you; allows you to travel backward in...
semantic memory
organized knowledge about the world, including your knowledge about words and other factual...
procedural memory
knowledge about how to do something
refers to your initial acquisition of information; during encoding, information enters your...
locating info in storage and accessing that info
levels-of-processing approach
(depth-of-processing approach) argues that deep meaningful kinds of info processing lead...
means that a stimulus is different from all other memory traces
requires rich processing in terms of meaning and interconnected concepts
self-reference effect
you will remember more info if you try to relate that info to yourself---encourage especially...
meta-analysis technique
provides a statistical method for synthesizing numerous studies on one single topic
encoding specificity principle
(context-dependent memory) (transfer-appropriate processing) recall is better if the retrieval...
the participants must reproduce the items they've learned earlier
the participants must identify which items had been presented at an earlier time
reaction to a specific stimulus
more general, long-lasting experience
Pollyanna Principle
states that the pleasant items are usually processed more efficiently and more accurately than...
mood congruence
means that memory is better when the material to be remembered is congruent with a person's...
mood-dependent memory
you are more likely to remember material if your mood at the time of retrieval matches the...
explicit memory task
participants are conscious that their memory is being tested and the test requires intentional...
implicit memory task
people see the material; later, during the test phase, people are instructed to complete a...
repetition priming task
recent exposure to a word increases the likelihood that this word will later come to mind,...
occurs when a variable has large effects on Test A, but little or no effects on Test B; also...
retrograde amnesia
loss of memory for events that occurred prior to brain damage
anterograde amnesia
loss of memory for events that have occurred after brain damage
consistently superior performance on a set of tasks relevant for a specific skill or topic...

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