PSYC 365/2

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PSYC 365/2
2010-03-08 06:23:42
Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology
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  1. dichotic listening
    A task in which research participants hear two simultaneous verbal messages.
  2. cocktail party effect
    A term often used to describe a pattern in which one seems to "tune out" all conversations reaching his or her ear except for the conversation he or she wishes to pay attention to; however, if some salient stimulus (such as the person's name) appears in one of the other conversations, the person is reasonably likely to detect this stimulus.
  3. fixation target
    A visual mark (such as a dot or a plus sign) at which one points one's eyes (or "fixates"). Used to help people control their eye position.
  4. inattentional blindness
    A pattern in which perceivers seem literally not to see visual stimuli right in front of their eyes; this pattern is caused by the participants' attending to some other stimulus and not expecting the target to appear.
  5. change blindness
    A pattern in which perceivers either do not see, or take a long time to see, large-scale changes in a visual stimulus. This pattern reveals how little we perceive, even from stimuli in plain view, if we are not specifically attending to the target information.
  6. limited-capacity system
    A group of processes in which resources are limited so that extra resources supplied to one process must be balanced by a withdrawal of resources somewhere else, with the result that the total resources expended do not exceed some limit.
  7. response selector
    A (hypothesized) mental resource needed for the selection and initiation of a wide range of responses, including overt responses (e.g., moving in a particular way) and covert responses (e.g., initiating a memory search).
  8. executive control
    The mental resources and processes used to set goals, choose task priorities, and avoid conflict among competing habits or responses.
  9. controlled tasks
    Tasks that are novel or that require flexibility in one's approach; these tasks usually require attention, and so they cannot be carried out if the person is also busy with some other task.
  10. automaticity
    A state achieved by some tasks and some forms of processing, in which the task can be performed with little or no attention. In many cases, combined with other activities without interference
  11. Stroop interference
    A classic demonstration of automaticity in which people are asked to name the color of ink used to print a word, and the word itself is a different color name.
  12. Information processing
    A particular approach to theorizing in which complex mental events, such as learning, remembering, and deciding, are understood as being built up out of a large number of discrete steps. These steps occur one by one, with each providing as its "output" the input to the next step in the sequence.
  13. modal model
    A nickname for a specific conception of the "architecture" of memory. In this model, working memory serves both as the storage site for material now being contemplated and also as the "loading platform" for long-term memory. Information can reach working memory through the processes of perception, or it can be drawn from long-term memory. Once in working memory, material can be further processed, or it can simply be recycled for subsequent use.
  14. free recall
    A method of assessing memory. The person being tested is asked to come up with as many items as possible from a particular source (such as "the list you heard earlier" or "things you saw yesterday"), in any sequence.
  15. primacy effect
    An often-observed advantage in remembering the early-presented materials within a sequence of materials. This advantage is generally attributed to the fact that one can focus attention on these items, because at the beginning of a sequence one is obviously not trying to divide attention between these items and other items in the series. Often contrasted with recency effect.
  16. serial position
    A data pattern summarizing the relationship between some performance measure (often, likelihood of recall) and the order in which the test materials were pre-sented. In memory studies, the serial position curve tends to be U-shaped, with people best able to recall the first-presented items (the primacy effect) and also the last-presented items (the recency effect).
  17. memory rehearsal
    Any mental activity that has the effect of maintaining information in working memory. Two types of rehearsal are often distinguished: maintenance rehearsal and elaborative rehearsal.
  18. digit-span task
    A task often used for measuring working memory's storage capacity. Research participants are read a series of digits (e.g., "8 3 4") and must immediately repeat them back. If they do this successfully, they are given a slightly longer list (e.g., "9 2 4 0"), and so forth. The length of the longest list a person can remember in this fashion is that person's digit span.
  19. chunks
    The hypothetical storage unit in working memory; it is estimated that working memory can hold 7 plus-or-minus 2 chunks. An unspecified quantity of information can be contained within each chunk, since the content of each chunk depends on how the memorizer has organized the materials to be remembered.
  20. operation span
    A measure of working memory's capacity. This measure turns out to be predictive of performance in many other tasks, presumably because these tasks all rely on working memory.
  21. central executive
    The hypothesized director of the working-memory system. This is the component of the system needed for any interpretation or analysis; in contrast, mere storage of materials can be provided by working memory's assistants, which work under the control of the central executive.
  22. articulatory rehearsal loop
    One of the low-level assistants hypothesized as part of the working-memory system. This loop draws on subvocalized (covert) speech, which serves to create a record in the phonological buffer. Materials in this buffer then fade, but they can be refreshed by another cycle of covert speech, with this cycle being initiated by working memory's central executive.
  23. goal neglect
    A pattern of behavior in which one fails to keep one's goal in mind, so that (for example) one relies on habitual responses even if those responses will not move the person toward the goal.
  24. perseveration
    A pattern of responding in which one produces the same response over and over, even though one knows that the task requires a change in response. This pattern is often observed in patients with brain damage in the frontal lobe.
  25. maintenance rehearsal
    A rote, mechanical process in which items are continually cycled through working memory, merely by being repeated over and over. Also called "item-specific rehearsal," and often contrasted with elaborative rehearsal.
  26. relational rehearsal
    A form of mental processing in which one thinks about the relations, or connections, between ideas. This rehearsal will later guide memory search.
  27. elaborative rehearsal
    A way of engaging materials to be remembered, such that one pays attention to what the materials mean and how they are related to each other, or to other things in the surroundings, or to other things one already knows. Often contrasted with maintenance rehearsal.
  28. shallow processing
    A mode of thinking about material in which one pays attention only to appear-ances and other superficial aspects of the material; shallow processing typically leads to poor memory retention. Often contrasted with deep processing.
  29. incidental learning
    Learning that takes place in the absence of any intention to learn and, correspondingly, in the absence of any expectation of a subsequent memory test.
  30. deep processing
    A mode of thinking about material in which one pays attention to the meaning and implications of the material; deep processing typically leads to excellent memory retention. Often contrasted with shallow processing.
  31. retrieval paths
    A connection (or series of connections) that can lead to a sought-after memory in long-term storage
  32. mnemonic strategies
    A technique designed to improve memory accuracy and to make learning easier; in general, mnemonic strategies seek in one fashion or another to help memory by imposing an organization on the materials to be learned.
  33. peg-word systems
    A type of mnemonic strategy using words or locations as "pegs" on which one "hangs" the materials to be remembered.
  34. state-dependent learning
    A phenomenon in which learning seems linked to the person's mental, emotional, or biological state during the learning. As a result of this linkage, the learning is most likely to show its effects when the person is again in that mental, emotional, or biological state.
  35. context reinstatement
    A procedure in which someone is led to the same mental and emotional state he or she was in during some previous event; can often promote accurate recollection.
  36. encoding specificity
    The tendency, when memorizing, to place in memory both the materials to be learned and also some amount of the context of those materials. As a result, these materials will be recognized as familiar, later on, only if the materials appear again in a similar context.
  37. lexical-decision task
    A test in which participants are shown strings of letters and must indicate, as quickly as possible, whether each string of letters is a word in English or not. It is supposed that people perform this task by "looking up" these strings in their "mental dictionary."
  38. word-stem completion
    A task in which people are given the beginning of a word (e.g., "TOM") and must provide a word that starts with the letters provided.
  39. direct memory testing
    A form of memory testing in which people are asked explicitly to remember some previous event. Recall and standard recognition testing are both forms of direct memory testing.
  40. indirect memory testing
    A form of memory testing in which research participants are not told that their memories are being tested. Instead, they are tested in a fashion in which previous experiences can influence current behavior.
  41. illusion of truth
    An effect of implicit memory in which claims that are familiar end up seeming more plausible.
  42. processing fluency
    An improvement in the speed or ease of processing that results from prior practice in using those same processing steps.
  43. retrograde amnesia
    An inability to remember experiences that occurred before the event that triggered the memory disruption.
  44. anterograde amnesia
    An inability to remember experiences that occurred after the event that triggered the memory disruption.
  45. Korsakoff's Syndrome
    A clinical syndrome characterized primarily by dense anterograde amnesia. Caused by damage to specific brain regions, and it is often precipitated by a form of malnutrition common among longterm alcoholics.
  46. double dissociation
    An argument used by researchers to prove that two processes or two structures are truly distinct. To make this argument, one must show that each of the processes or structures can be disrupted without in any way interfering with the other.