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93 Cards in this Set

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  • Back

Cognitive Psychology

branch of psychology concerned with the scientific study of the mind


mental processes such as perception, attention and memory

simple reaction time

pushing a button quickly

choice reaction time

using two lights and asking his subjects to push the left button when they saw the left light go on and the right button when they saw the right light go on


our overall experience is determined ny combining elements of experience structuralists called sensations

analytic introspection

a technique in which subjects described their experiences and thought processes in response to stimuli


Ebbinghaus experiment with memory. original time to learn the list-time to relearn the list after the delay

savings curve

memory drops rapidly for the first two days after the initial learning and then levels off.

cognitive map

a conception within the rat's mind of the maze's layout

cognitive revolution

a shift in psychology from the behaviorist's stimuli-response relationships to an approach whose main thrust was to understand the operation of the mind

information-processing approach

an approach that traces sequences of mental operations involved in studying cognition

structural models

representations of a physical structure


experiences resulting from stimulation of the senses

inverse projection problem

the task of determining the object responsible for a particular image on the retina

viewpoint invariance

the ability to recognize an object seen from different viewpoints

bottom-up processing

sequence of events from the eye to the brain

top down processing

processing that originates in the brain

speech segmentation

able to tell when one word ends and the next one begins

direct pathway model

pain occurs when receptors in the skin called nonciceptors are stimulated and the send their signals in a direct pathway from the skin to the brain

likelihood principle

we perceive the object that is most likely to have caused the pattern of stimuli we have received

unconscious inference

our perceptions are the result of unconscious assumptions or inferences that we make about the environment

apparent movement

movement is perceived although nothing is actually happening

law of pragnanz, principle of good figure, or the principle of simplicity

every stimulus pattern is seen in such a way that the resulting structure is as simple as possible

physical regularities

regularities occurring physical properties of the environment

oblique effect

we can perceive horizontals and verticals more easily than other orientations

semantic regularities

characteristics associated with the functions carried out in different types of scenes

scene schema

knowledge of what a given scene typically contains

Bayesian inference

our estimate of the probability of an outcome is determined by two factors:

1. the prior probability

2. the extent to which the available evidence is consistent with the outcome

experience-dependent plasticity

the mechanism through which the structure of the brain is changed by experience

brain ablation

removing part of the brain


one stimulus interfering with the processing of another stimulus

divided attention

paying attention to more than one thing at a time

attentional capture

a rapid shifting of attention usually caused by a stimulus such as a loud noise, bright light, or sudden movement

visual scanning

movements of the eyes from one location or object to another

dichotic listening

presenting different stimuli to the left and right ears

cocktail party effect

the ability to focus on one stimulus while filtering out other stimuli

early selection model

the filter eliminated the unattended information right at the beginning of the flow of information


represents a process and is not identified with a specific brain structure

attenuation model of attention

language and meaning can also be used to separate the messages

dictionary unit

contains words, stored in memory, each of which has a threshold for being activated

late selection models of attention

most of the incoming information is processed to the level of meaning before the message to be further processed is selected

processing capacity

the amount of information people can handle and sets a limit on their ability to process incoming information

perceptual load

the difficulty of the task

low load tasks

use up only a small amount of a person's processing capacity

high load tasks

use more of a person's processing capacity

load theory of attention

the circle represents the person's processing capacity and the shading represents the portion that is used up by a task

overt attention

shifting attention from one place to another by moving the eyes


pausing on a face

saccadic eye movement

a rapid, jerky movement from one fixation to the next

stimulus salience

bottom up processing

covert attention

we can direct our attention while keeping our eyes stationary

inattentional blindness

not attending to something that is clearly very

change blindness

the difficulty in detecting changes in scenes


the process by which features such as color, form, motion , and location are combined for our perception

feature integration theory

tackles the question of how were perceive individual features

preattentive stage

objects are analyzed into separate features

focused attention phase

the features of the object are combined and we perceive the object

Balint's spectrum

inability to focus attention on attentional or individual objects.


a system of communication using sounds or symbols that enables us to express our feelings, thoughts, ideas, and experiences


the field concerned with the psychological study of language


a person's knowledge of what words mean, how they sound, and how they are used in relation to other words


shortest segment of speech that, if changed, changes the meaning of a word


refer to meanings and are the smallest units of language that have a definable meaning or a grammatical function

phonemic restoration effect

occurs when phonemes are perceived in speech when the sound of the phoneme is covered by an extraneous noise

speech segmentation

our ability to perceive individual words even though there are often no pauses between words in the sound signal

word superiority effect

refers to finding that letters are easier to recognize when they are contained in a nonword

corpus of language

indicated the frequency of which different words are used and the frequency of different meanings and grammatical structures in the language

word frequency effect

we respond more rapidly to higher frequency words like home than to low frequency words like hike

lexical ambiguity

the existence of multiple word meanings

meaning dominance

the fact that some meanings of words occur more frequently than others

biased dominance

when words have two or more meanings with different dominances

balanced dominance

when a word has more than one meaning but the meanings have about the same dominance


meanings of words


specifies the rules for combining words into sentences

broca's aphasia

slow, labored, ungrammatical speech caused by damage to the broca's area

Wernicke's aphasia

speech that was fluent and grammatically correct, but tended to be incoherent


grouping of words into phrases

garden path sentences

they begin appearing to mean one thing but then end up meaning something else

temporal ambiguity

the initial words of the sentence are ambiguous

late closure

when a person encounters a new word, the person's parsing mechanism assumes that the word is part of the current phrase, so each new word is added to the current phrase for as long as possible

interactionist approach to parsing

information provided by both syntax and semantics is taken into account simultaneously as we read or listen to a sentence

visual word paradigm

involves determining how subjects process information as they are observing a visual scene.


determining what the text means by using our knowledge to go beyond the information provided in the text


the representation of the text in a person's mind so that information in one part of the text is related to information in another part of the text

anaphoric inferences

inferences that connect an object or person in one sentence to an object or person in another sentence

instrument inferences

inferences about tools or methods

causual inferences

inferences that events described in one clause or sentence were caused by events in a previous sentence

situational model

a mental representation of what a text is about

given-new contract

states that a speaker should construct sentences so that they include given information and new information

common ground

the speaker's mutual knowledge, beliefs, and assumptions

syntactic coordination

the process by which people use similar grammatical constructions

synatactic priming

hearing a statement with a particular syntactic construction increased the chances that a sentence will be produced with the same construction

Sapir-Wolfe hypothesis

the nature of a culture's language can effect the way people think