Posted: October 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

This week I will be talking about Cognitive Psychology.

Cognition is the mental activities that are associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating.  Thinking is the manipulation of mental representations of information.  If you are studying to become a cognitive psychologist then you are going to study mental activities such as concept formation, problem solving, decision making, judgment formation, and intelligence.

Concept is the mental grouping of similar objects, events, ideas, or people

For Example: There are a variety of chairs but their common features define the concept of a chair.  A Prototype is the mental image or best example of a category matching new items to the prototype provides a quick and easy method for including items in a category.  Once we place an item in a category, our memory shifts toward the category prototype.

We organize concepts into category hierarchies.

When problem solving we use algorithm, insight, fixation, and confirmation bias.  A algorithm is the methodical, logical rule or procedure that guarantees solving a particular problem.  It contrasts with the usually speedier–but also more error-prone–use of heuristics.  Heuristic is the simple thinking strategy that often allows us to make judgments and solve problems efficiently.  It is usually speedier than algorithms and more error-prone than algorithms.  Insight is the sudden and often novel realization of the solution to a problem.  It contrasts with strategy-based solutions

Brain imaging and EEG studies suggest that when an insight strikes, it activates the right temporal cortex.  The time between not knowing the solution and realizing it is 0.3 seconds.  Fixation is the inability to see a problem from a new perspective.  It is impediment to problem solving.  Confirmation Bias is the tendency to search for information that confirms one’s preconceptions.

Mental Set is the tendency to approach a problem in a particular way.  Especially a way that has been successful in the past but may or may not be helpful in solving a new problem.  Functional Fixedness is the tendency to think of things only in terms of their usual functions.  It is also impediment to problem solving.  Solving this problem requires recognizing the main problem.

Representativeness Heuristic is basically judging the likelihood of things in terms of how well they seem to represent, or match, particular prototypes.  It may lead one to ignore other relevant information.  Availability Heuristic is the estimation of the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory.

if instances come readily to mind (perhaps because of their vividness), we presume such events are common

For Example: airplane crash

It makes you think: why does our availability heuristic lead us astray?, Whatever increases the ease of retrieving information increases its perceived availability?, How is retrieval facilitated?

Overconfidence is the tendency to be more confident than correct.  It’s also the tendency to overestimate the accuracy of one’s beliefs and judgments.  Usually come from the intuitive heuristics, confirmation of beliefs, and the inclination to explain failures increase our overconfidence.

For example: At a stock market, both the seller and the buyer may be confident about their decisions on a stock.


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