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UNIT: 1 CONCEPTS OF psychology

The scientific definition of Psychology: Psychology is the

scientific study of behavior and mental processes.

The study will give you new ways to look at and
interpret your world and the people who inhabit it.
Behavior and Mental Processes Behavior is any action
that other people can observe or measure. Mental
Processes (cognitive processes) are mental processes
that are not directly observable. They include dreams,
perceptions, thoughts, memories, etc.
Psychology also studies emotions (feelings) Emotions
affect both behavior and mental processes.
Psychologists observe, describe, explain, predict and
sometimes even control behavior and mental processes
to better understand the human psyche.

CONCEPTS OF psychology
Greek: Psyche soul

Logos study
Modern: Psycho mind
Logy science
The science of the mind

Nature of psychology

The Subject Matter of Psychology: Psyche,

Mind, or Behavior?
The Scientific Approach: Natural, Social, or
Human Science?
Universal Laws or Contextual Laws?
Basic Science or Applied Discipline?

It is a social science with foundations in philosophy

and natural science. *Social sciences include

political science, psychology, etc. However, like all
scientists, psychologists study behavior and mental
processes using the scientific method to test ideas
(i.e., conducting experiments, collecting and
analyzing data, and drawing conclusions) and then
form new or reshape pre- existing theories.
Psychology is anchored by both scientific research
and theory. Research is the testing of ideas
(hypotheses and theories) through various research
methods. Psychology continually tests theories,
hypotheses, ideas and therefore is considered an
empirical science.

Common sense and Psychology

The expressioncommon senserefers to a system of

beliefs and skills shared by most people and

acquired through mundane experience in absence of
special education.
The present discussion will be limited to three
components of common sense, which will therefore
constitute the first three epistemological obstacles
to physiological psychology:
inflexible realism (i.e., the tendency to favor primary
spiritualism (i.e., the acceptance of transcendental
causal agents), and
naive humanism (i.e., the placement of humans in a
class apart from all other empirical objects).


When I tell peopleImstudyingPsychology, their first

response is generally so can you tell whatImthinking?

Some people also think that a psychologist is the same as
a psychiatrist, the type of people that lie you down on a
sofa and talk to you about your feelings.
Criminal profiling
Reinforcement (change in behavior)
Lie detector(heart rate/breathing)
Opposite attractive
Women talks more than men
It is better to vent your anger than to hold it.
Mind readers

Common sense and Psychology

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by the

age of 18. It is also a result of some pervasive and extremely

stupid logical fallacies that have become embedded in the
human brain over generations, for one reason or another,
says Albert Einstein (Shakespeare, 2009).
Common sense psychology is a myth. What appears to be
common sense is often common nonsense.
Some examples of common sense psychology include:
Working while in high school will help students build character
and value money.
Children who read a lot are not very social or physically fit.
People with low self esteem are more aggressive.
Most psychopaths are delusional.
We know what will make us happy.

Persceptives of psychology
Psychodynamic perspective:
Psychodynamic Rooted in Sigmund Freuds psychoanalysis. Rooted in

Sigmund Freuds psychoanalysis. Assumes that all behavior and

mental processes reflect the constant and mostly unconscious
psychological struggles within the individual Assumes that all
behavior and mental processes reflect the constant and mostly
unconscious psychological struggles within the individual Freud
believed that unconscious conflicts stemmed from unresolved
childhood conflicts.
Freud believed that unconscious conflicts stemmed from unresolved
childhood conflicts.
Today, this perspective has been transformed and is reflected in a
psychological disorders, and psychotherapy.
Today, this perspective has been transformed and is reflected in a
psychological disorders, and psychotherapy. What might a
psychoanalyst say is the reason someone always needs to be
chewing gum?

Cognitive perspective

Understands behavior and mental

processes by focusing on how individuals sense,
mentally represent, and store mental information.
Cognitive Perspective Focuses on how we think
(or encode information) Focuses on how we think
(or encode information)
How do we see the world?
How did we learn to act to sad or happy events?
Cognitive Therapist attempt to change the way
you think. Meet girl Get Rejected by girl Did you
learn to be depressed Or get back on the horse.

Behavioral perspective

Antecedent is Behaviorism (only study

observable behavior) Antecedent is Behaviorism (only
study observable behavior) Assumes that behavior and
mental processes are primarily the result of learning
Assumes that behavior and mental processes are primarily
the result of learning Modern-day behavioral approach has
changed to a Cognitive-behavioral Approach.
Modern-day behavioral approach has changed to a
Cognitive-behavioral Approach.
Now, psychologists working from this perspective study
measurable mental processes in addition to the traditional
emphasis on observable behaviors.
Behavioral Perspective If you bit your fingernails when you
were nervous, a behaviorist would not focus on calming you
down, but rather focus on how to stop you from biting your

Humanistic perspective
Humanistic Developed by Carl Rogers (trained in the psychoanalytic

tradition, began humanistic approach through his theories on

personality and his psychotherapy methods).
Studies behavior and mental processes primarily by studying each
individuals uniqueness and capacity to think and act. .
A humanistic psychologist would argue that to fully understand a
persons behavior and mental processes you must appreciate the
individuals perceptions and feelings experienced.
Today, humanistic perspective has limited influence in psychological
research mainly because humanistic theories tend to be too broad
and therefore difficult to test scientifically.
Humanistic psychology is primarily an approach in psychotherapy.
Humanistic Perspective Focuses on positive growth Focuses on
positive growth Attempt to seek self-actualization Attempt to seek
self-actualization Therapists use active listening and unconditional
positive regard. Mr. Rogers would have been a great Humanistic

Biological perspective
Biological Assumes that behavior and mental

processes are largely shaped by biological

Understands behavior and mental processes
by studying hormones, genes, and the activity
of the nervous system especially the brain.
If you could not remember the names of your
parents and went to a psychologist who
adheres to the biological perspective, what
might they say?

Sociocultural perspective
Socio-cultural Here, psychologists focus on the

influence of cultural factors on the individuals

behavior and mental processes.
Seeks to understand human behavior and
mental processes by studying such cultural
factors as gender, culture, ethnicity, race, and
socioeconomic status, and so forth.
Even in the same high school, behaviors can
change in accordance to the various

Evolutionary (related to Biological

Assumes that behavior and mental processes are a

result of evolution through natural selection.

Understands behavior and mental processes by
focusing on the adaptive value of behavior,
biological mechanisms that make adaptation
possible, and the environmental conditions therein.
Evolutionary Perspective Focuses on Darwinism. We
behave the way we do because we inherited those
Thus, those behaviors must have helped ensure our
ancestors survival. How could this behavior ensured
Homers ancestors survival?

History of Modern Psychology

Wave One The beginning of modern psychology is 1879. In

that year, Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) established the first

psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig, Germany.
Wundt studied on the psychological phenomena introspection
= asking subjects to record their cognitive reactions to simple
stimuli. Wundt was examining basic cognitive structures.
In 1890, William James (1842-1910) published the first
psychology textbook: The Principles of Psychology. James
studied how these structures that Wundt had identified earlier,
function in life.
Wave Two Gestalt Psychology Gestalt psychologists like Max
Wertheimer (1880-1943) argued against dividing human
thought and behavior into discrete structures; instead, they
examined a persons whole experience because the way we
experience the world is more than just an accumulation of
various perceptual experiences.

History of Modern Psychology


Three Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) revolutionized

psychology with his psychoanalytic theory. While treating patients with
psychosomatic complaints, Freud theorized about what he called the
unconscious mind- a part of our mind that we are not conscious of and that, in
part, influences our thoughts and behavior.
Freud believed that to understand human behavior and thought we must
examine the unconscious mind through psychoanalytic therapy.
Wave Four Behaviorism Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) (in Russia) pioneered
conditioning experiments. After studying Pavlovs work, American John Watson
(1878-1936) advanced the notion that for psychology to be considered a
science it must limit itself to studying observable phenomena only, and not
unobservable constructs such as the unconscious mind.
After studying Pavlovs work, American John Watson (1878-1936) advanced the
notion that for psychology to be considered a science it must limit itself to
studying observable phenomena only, and not unobservable constructs such
as the unconscious mind. Behaviorists argued that psychology should study
only behavior and the causes of behavior stimuli and responses.
Another famous behaviorist, B.F. Skinner (1904-1990), expanded upon his
predecessors to include the idea of reinforcements impact on shaping behavior
(he introduced Operant Conditioning).

History of Modern Psychology

Wave Six Neuropsychology Today, with all the advances

in modern technology the past 30 years, psychology has

turned more towards neuroscience and the molecular
study of the nervous system in understanding human
behavior and mental processes.
The subfield of neuropsychology has grown tremendously
in the last twenty years.
Psychology BIG Debates!!! 1. Nature vs. Nurture Are

human traits and psychological characteristics inborn OR

do they develop over time through experience?
2. Rationality vs. Irrationality What is rational and what
is not?
3. Stability vs. Change Are certain human traits stable or
do they change?

Application to Industrial and

Industrial and organizational psychology is also known as I/O

psychology, work
psychology, work and organizational psychology, W-O psychology,
occupational psychology, personnel psychology or talent assessment.
It is concerned with the application of psychological theories, research
methods, and intervention strategies to solve workplace issues.
I/O psychologists are interested in making organizations more
productive and ensuring workers are able to lead physically and
psychologically healthy lives.
I/O psychologists are educated in the topics that include personnel
psychology, motivation and leadership, employee selection, training and
organizational behavior, and work and family issues.
I/O psychologists who work in an organization are likely to work in the
Human Resource (HR) department. Many I/O psychologists pursue
careers as independent consultants or applied academic researchers

Types of Psychological Research

Naturalistic Observation
Survey Research
Case Study
Co-relational Research
Experimental Research

Experimental Research

Research is prototypical of
scientific method. They are employed to test
hypothesis. They stand as powerful tools to examine
cause-and-effect relationship between variables. The
essential characteristics of an experiment are that
Manipulation, Experimental Controls and Random
assignment of subjects to various conditions.
Experimental manipulation is the changes that are
deliberately produced in an experiment to detect the
relationships between different variables.
Instead of searching for naturally occurring situations
the experimenter creates the conditions necessary
for observation.
A cause-and-effect relationship between variables is
possible because of experimental manipulation.

Scientific investigation/Method
Two themes give the field coherence:
The TYPES of QUESTIONS psychologists ask.
The WAYS we ANSWER those questions.

Theme 1: Types of Questions

Why do we do what we do?
Why do we think what we think?
Why do we feel what we feel?
Theme 2: Ways of Answering
The Scientific Method; and that is why

Scientific investigation/Method

investigation refers to an empirical

investigation that is structured in order to find solutions
to certain questions that are practically relevant. Any
scientific investigation typically involves three steps:
(1) Identifying questions
(2) Formulating explanation and
(3) Carrying out research that would support/refute the
Methods of research can be classified into two types
based on the focus of the research. The two basic types
of research in science are basic research and applied
research. Basic research primarily focuses on extension
of theoretical understanding and
reflects purely the quest for knowledge. On the other
hand applied research focuses on finding solutions to
problems that are specific and practical.

Naturalistic Observation

Observation is one where

the researcher systematically observes
and records the behaviors that occur
naturally in various situations.
Behavior in natural setting is observed and
Observation is systematic.
The objective of the naturalistic observational
is to study the relationship among variables
and to generate hypothesis.

Surveys are basic research instrument.
Surveys are being popularly employed

to understand the political opinions, product

preferences, health care needs, and the like.
It involves asking people about their attitude,
beliefs, plans, health, income, life satisfaction,
concerns, etc.
Any one can be surveyed. The method was
developed by Social Scientists of 20th century.
It seeks to describe the current status of
population and discover relationship between

Case Study method


Study method involves in-depth

interview to understand an individual
Psychometric tests may also be used to
assess various attributes like personality,
motivation in addition to such in-depth
interviews to understand the individual in
greater depth.
The case study, in other words, is a detailed
examination of an individual, group or an
It involves intensive description and analysis
of a single individual.

Correlational Research

strength of the association between the
naturally occurring variables.
For example, a co-relational research may be
used to assess whether motivation of children
is related to motivation of parents.
It ideally attempts to understand whether two
sets of factors are related or not.


Sometimes Biological psychology is referred to as

physiological psychology or psychobiology.

It studies the relationship between the mind and the
body and how one influences the other.
Bio psychologists are professionals who study the
ways biological structures and body functions affect
In order to understand how the brain exerts control
over the different body movements involved in
simple and complex tasks, it is essential to examine
the neurons and the ways in which nerve impulses
are transmitted throughout the brain and body.

Neurons are specialized cells that are the

basic elements of the nervous system that

carry massages.
The basic unit of nervous system is nerve cell
or neuron.
The most important feature of neurons is their
ability to communicate with other cells.
It is estimated that about two billion neurons
exist in the brain alone and the number of
neural connections within the brain to be one

structure of neurons
In playing the piano, driving a car, or throwing a ball to the basket, different muscles are

involved. The body system sends messages to the muscles and coordinates these
messages to produce successful results. Such messages are passed through specialized
cells called neurons.
Components of neurons : the cell membrane, dendrites, the cell body, the axon, myelin
sheath and neurotransmitters.
a. Dendrites: They are cluster of fibers at one end of a neuron that receives messages from other neurons.
b. Axon: It is a tube like long extension from the end of a neuron that carries messages to other cells through
the neuron. The length of axons range from several millimeters to three feet.
c. Terminal buttons: They are small branches at the end of an axon that relay massages to other cells.
Electrical messages travel through neuron beginning with detection of messages by dendrites, continue
into the cell body(nucleus) and pass down the axon.
d. Myelin sheath: It is the axons protective coating, made of fat and protein. Its
function is to prevent messages from short circulating by insulating the axons.
.Neurotransmitters: when a neuron receives a signal (heat, pressure, light etc)from

adjacent neurons or from sensory receptors it fires or becomes active. This neural
impulse is called the action potential. It is a brief electrical change that travels down the
axon. When the action potential reaches the knob like terminal buttons at an axons end,
it triggers the release to chemical messages called neurotransmitters.

structure of neurons

Nervous System
Nervous System
the bodys speedy, electrochemical communication system
consists of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central
nervous systems. It has two parts;
Central Nervous System (CNS)
Brain( hindbrain, midbrain and forebrain) and Spinal

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
Automatic nervous system(parasympathetic system
and sympathetic) and somatic nervous system.

central nervous system

Thecentral nervous system(CNS) controls

mostfunctionsof the body and mind.

Controls the brain and spinal cord
The Braindirects mental processes and maintains

basic life functions

The Spinal Cordreceives sensory input, sends
information to the brain, responds with motor output

It consists of two parts: the brain and the spinal

cord. The brain is the center of our thoughts,

the interpreter of our external environment,
and the origin of control over body movement.

Structure of Brain
Controls many functions key to survival, including

keeping airway clear, heart beat, breathing, reflexes,

sleep, respiration, balance.
Coordinates motion, relays information to other sites;

targeting auditory and visual stimuli, regulating body

Cortical and sub-cortical structures; intelligent adaptive


Structure of brain

Function of Spinal cord

Peripheral nervous system

System of nerves outside of the brain and

spinal cord
Send control to the glands and smooth muscles
Controls internal organs, usually not under
voluntary control.
Somatic Nervous system: the activities basically
related to muscles that control movements of
the body are regulated by somatic nervous

Autonomic nervous system

Sympathetic Nervous System:

Triggered when body temperature is too low

Revives up body activity to prepare for

rigorous activity
Increased heart rate
Slowing down of peristalsis (rhythmic

contractions of intestines), so not using energy

during digestion
Contraction of skins capillaries

Parasympathetic Nervous System

Triggered when bodys temperature is too

Restored bodys internal activities
Cardio slowing
Speeds up peristalsis
Widening of skins capillaries

Body prepares for response
Body returns to normal

Endocrine system and its importance

Endocrine system is a chemical communication network that

sends messages through the nervous system via the blood

stream and secretes hormones that affect body growth and
Major components of the endocrine system are:
Pituitary glands (Bases of Brain)
Thyroid glands (on neck)
Adrenal glands (on top of kidney)
Major functions of the endocrine glands are:
Regulate metabolism and growth;
Regulate absorption of nutrients;
Regulate fluid balance and ion concentration;
Regulates the bodys response to stress;
Regulates sexual characteristics, reproduction, birth and


Sensation is input about the physical world provided by

sensory receptors. R.A. Baron

a particular feeling or effect that your body experiences
a particular feeling or experience that may not have a
real cause
the ability to feel things through your physical senses
Examples ofSENSATION
I experienced a stingingsensationin my arm.
She felt a burningsensationin her throat.
She craved new experiences andsensations.
She had the strangesensationthat someone was
watching her.
I couldn't quite shake thesensationthat I'd been fooled.
Her injury left her with nosensationin her legs.

Process of Sensation


1) Sensation occurs:
a) sensory organs absorb energy from a physical

stimulus in the environment.

b) sensory receptors convert this energy into
neural impulses and send them to the brain.
2) Perception follows:
a) the brain organizes the information and
translates it into something meaningful.

Importance of sensation
Sensations and perceptions are the basic means

by which people experience the world and build a

Sensations are direct sensory stimuli, such as
seeing shapes and colors, hearing sounds or
feeling a touch.
Perceptions are the ways we interpret those
sensations to make sense of what we are sensing.
Sensations and perceptions shape the way
humans see the world. The ability to take in
information from reality and process it in
meaningful ways allows people to form a
worldview that helps them to understand life and
make wise decisions.

Importance of sensation
A lack or loss of sensations, such as blindness

or deafness, creates a gap in the experience

and makes it harder to understand events
A perception failure leads to misinterpretation
of life and an inability to respond adequately
to the current situation.

Sensory Threshold
1) Threshold - a dividing line between what has

detectable energy and what does not.

For example - many classrooms have automatic light
sensors. When people have not been in a room for a
while, the lights go out. However, once someone
walks into the room, the lights go back on. For this
to happen, the sensor has a threshold for motion
that must be crossed before it turns the lights back
on. So, dust floating in the room should not make
the lights go on, but a person walking in should.

Difference Threshold
Difference Threshold - the minimum amount of

stimulus intensity change needed to produce a

noticeable change.
the greater the intensity (ex., weight) of a
stimulus, the greater the change needed to
produce a noticeable change.
For example, when you pick up a 5 lb weight,
and then a 10 pound weight, you can feel a big
difference between the two. However, when
you pick up 100 lbs, and then 105 lbs, it is
much more difficult to feel the difference.

Adabtability of Sensation
Sensory adaptationis the tendency of the sense organs

to adjust to continuous, unchanging stimulation by

reducing their functioning or sensitivity.
Humans also have the ability to adapt their sensations to
more efficiently gather relevant information from their
For example, when there are many overlapping or
potentially overwhelming stimuli, the human brain can
use "signal detection" to filter out noise and enhance
perception of relevant details, as when you hear your
name spoken in a noisy room or glance around a room for
red objects.
Similarly, a constant sensation will become less vividly
noticed over time, such as when you stop noticing a
background noise, to make room for novel stimuli that
may be more relevant.


is a decrease in response to
astimulusafter repeated presentations.
For example, a novel sound in your environment,
such as a new ring tone, may initially draw your
attention or even become distracting.
After you become accustomed to this sound, you
pay less attention to the noise and your response
to the sound will diminish. This diminished
response is habituation.
Habituation is one of the simplest and most
common forms of learning.


Visual eye Sight
Auditory ear Hearing
Olfactory nose smell
Gustatory mouth taste
Tactual skin -touch
Other sensation are
Kinesthetic (movement of the body)


Is accomplished by the organ called the eye and the

portions of the brain associated with receiving and

interpretinglight waves.
Our eyes and brain are only able to interpret a
portion of the light spectrum, which is why we can
not see x-rays or infrared light.Wavelengthis the
distance between any point in a wave and the
corresponding point on the next cycle.
The Eyehas:
Cornea- how light get through and maintains the
shape of the eye
Lens- focuses the light


Pupil- controls the amount of light
Retina- is the back of the eye ball where the

light waves are focused

The rods are visual receptors that respond to
brightness they are important for seeing in dim
Cones- are visual receptors that respond to hue,
or color variations.They are most important for
color vision in bright light.
Optic nerve- transmits the information from the
retina to the brain [occipital lobe].At the spot
were the optic nerve is there is a "blind spot"
because there are no receptors there.



Human vision is one of the most complex visual systems

among animals.
The main sensory organ of the visual system is the eye, which
takes in the physicalstimuliof light rays and transducer them
into electrical and chemicalsignalsthat can be interpreted by
the brain to construct physical images.
The eye has three main layers: the sclera, which includes the
cornea; the choroid, which includes the pupil, iris, and lens;
and theretina, which includesreceptorcells called rods and
human visual system is capable of complex
colorperception, which is initiated by cones in the retina and
completed by impulse integration in the brain. Depth
perception is our ability to see in three dimensions and relies
on bothbinocular(two-eye) andmonocular(one-eye) cues.


The stimuli that affect our sense of hearing are

sound waves.They are rapid changes in air

pressure caused by a vibrating object, such as
vocal cords a speaker on the stereo.Sound
waves vary in 3 ways.Each with a distinct
sensory effect: Frequency, amplitude, timbre
Timbreis the mixture of sound waves that
determines the tonal qualities of what we hear.



Funtion of auditory sensatioin

Theories of hearing

Hermonn von Helmhotz proposed the place theory of hearing in

1863.He suggested that the sensation of pitch is determined

by the place on the basilar membrane that is stimulated.The
nerves attached to basilar membrane are sensitive to different
frequencies and send out different impulses from different
Von Bekesy[1960] expanded the place theory by suggesting
the traveling wave principle, which is sound waves traveling
through the cochlea move the basilar membrane at a location
that vibrates at the particular pitch.However, there are
problems with both theories and more research is needed.
Wernicke's area, of the brain is important in speech perception.
Damage to that area leads to aphasia, a disorder in which a
person loses the ability to understand speech.In most right
handed people Wernicke's area is located in the left


Perceptioncan be defined as our recognition
and interpretation of sensory information.
Perception also includes how we respond to the
information. We can think of perception as a
process where we take in sensory information
from our environment and use that information
in order to interact with our environment.
Perception allows us to take the sensory
information in and make it into something


is process through which we

select, organized and interpret input from the
sensory receptors. R.A. Baron
Perception is a process.
Perception is the information extractor.
Perception is preparation to response.
Perception involves sensation.
Perception provide organizing.
Perception is highly individualized.

characteristics of perception

characteristics of perception are sensation,

organization, interpretation, and categorization of input
according to past experiences.
The process of sensory perception takes place very
quickly in the human brain, usually within less than one
second. Different types of perception are possible
through the complex activity of the nervous system
that receives input from each of the five senses.
This input then converts to signals that travel to the
brain via thespinal cord as well as the peripheral
nervous system.
Each of the characteristics of perception is both a
physical process and a subjective experience according
to different personalities, biases, and backgrounds.

Extrasensoryperception &


perception or ESP includes reception of information not gained through

the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind.


term was adopted by Duke University psychologist J. B. Rhine to denote psychic

abilities such as telepathy (mind readers), clairaudience, and clairvoyance(perceive
remote events) and their trans-temporal operation as precognition(seeing events
before they happens) or retro cognition.


is also sometimes referred to as a sixth sense. The term implies acquisition of

information by means external to the basic limiting assumptions of science, such as
those organisms can only receive information from the past to the present.
Parapsychology is the study of paranormal psychic phenomena, including ESP.
Parapsychologists generally regard such tests as the ganzfeld experiment as
providing compelling evidence for the existence of ESP.


scientific community rejects ESP due to the absence of an evidence base, the
lack of a theory which would explain ESP, the lack of experimental techniques which
can provide reliably positive results, and considers ESP a pseudoscience.


perceptual process
The perceptual process is the sequence of psychological steps that

a person uses to organize and interpret information from the

outside world.
The steps are:
Objects are present in the world.
A person observes.
The person uses perception to select objects.
The person organizes the perception of objects.
The person interprets the perceptions.
The person responds.
The selection, organization, and interpretation of perceptions can
differ among different people .
Therefore, when people react differently in a situation, part of
theirbehaviorcan be explained by examining their perceptual
process, and how their perceptions areleadingto their responses.

perceptual process

processis the sequence of

psychological steps that a person uses to
organize and interpret information from the
outside world.
The steps are:
Objects are present in the world.
A person observes.
The person uses perception to select objects.

Gregory (1970) and Top Down Processing

PsychologistRichard Gregoryargued that perception is a constructive process which

relies ontop-down processing. For Gregory (1970) perception is a hypothesis.

For Gregory, perception involves making inferences about what we see and trying to
make a best guess. Prior knowledge and past experience, he argued, are crucial in
When we look at something, we develop a perceptual hypothesis, which is based on
prior knowledge. The hypotheses we develop are nearly always correct. However, on
rare occasions, perceptual hypotheses can be disconfirmed by the data we perceive.
A lot of information reaches the eye, but much is lost by the time it reaches the brain
(Gregory estimates about 90% is lost).
Therefore, the brain has to guess what a person sees based on past experiences. We
actively construct our perception of reality.
Richard Gregory proposed that perception involves a lot of hypothesis testing to make
sense of the information presented to the sense organs.
Our perceptions of the world are hypotheses based on past experiences and stored
Sensory receptors receive information from the environment, which is then combined
with previously stored information about the world which we have built up as a result of
The formation of incorrect hypotheses will lead to errors of perception (e.g. visual
illusions like the Necker cube).

top-down and bottom-up

In the brain, top-down and bottom-up are not,

artificially separate them in order to talk about
In terms of cognition, a bottom-up process
occurs when something unexpected is moving
in the corner of your eye and catches your
attention. This causes you to look over and
react. The signal causing this chain of events
originated in the environment, at the "bottom"
of the sensory processing stream.

top-down and bottom-up

A top-down process is like trying to find Waldo in

"Where's Waldo?". You start with an internal "highlevel" goal, which determines where you look
next. You are looking "for" something, so higherlevel brain areas "prime" the low level visual areas
to detect that pattern.
In terms of how it works in the brain, the easiest
way to think about it might be to make an analogy
to communication within a larger corporation .


1) figure-ground - this is the fundamental way we organize visual perceptions. When

we look at an object, we see that object (figure) and the background (ground) on
which it sits. For example, when I see a picture of a friend, I see my friends face
(figure) and the beautiful Sears brand backdrop behind my friend (ground).

2) simplicity/pragnanz (good form) - we group elements that make a good form.

However, the idea of "good form" is a little vague and subjective. Most psychologists
think good form is what ever is easiest or most simple. For example, what do you see
here: : > ) do you see a smiling face? There are simply 3 elements from my keyboard
next to each other, but it is "easy" to organize the elements into a shape that we are
familiar with.

3) proximity - nearness=belongingness. Objects that are close to each other in

physical space are often perceived as belonging together.

4) similarity - do I really need to explain this one? As you probably guessed, this one
states that objects that are similar are perceived as going together. For example, if I
ask you to group the following objects: (* * # * # # #) into groups, you would
probably place the asterisks and the pound signs into distinct groups.

5) continuity - we follow whatever direction we are led.

Dots in a smooth curve appear to go together more than

jagged angles. This principle really gets at just how lazy
humans are when it comes to perception.
6) common fate - elements that move together tend to be

grouped together. For example, when you see geese flying

south for the winter, they often appear to be in a "V" shape.
7) closure - we tend to complete a form when it has gaps.

Gibson (1966) and Bottom Up Processing

James Gibson (1966)argues that perception is direct,

and not subject to hypotheses testing as Gregory

Gibson (1972)argued that perception is abottom-up
process, which means that sensory information is
analyzed in one direction: from simple analysis of raw
sensory data to ever increasing complexity of analysis
through the visual system. Gibson attempted to give pilots
training in depth perception during the Second World War,
and this work led him to the view that our perception of
perception. Surfaces contain features sufficient to
distinguish different objects from each other. In addition,
perception involves identifying the function of the object:
whether it can be thrown or grasped, or whether it can be
sat on, and so on.

What Does bottom-up and Top-down Mean?

Those concerned with the bottom-up approach to
perception believe that all perception is simply
the result of sensation and that no prior learning
is necessary for us to perceive.
On the contrary, the Top-down approach assumes
that learning plays a vital part in our perception
and that without prior experience of s stimulus it
is impossible for us to really understand what it is.
In reality we are more likely to incorporate
elements of both of these theories when we
perceive, however this article primarily focuses on
the bottom-up approach, starting with the
'Template' theory.

Perceptual Ambiguity and Distortion

Gestalt Laws of Perceptual Grouping helps us

understand the way we perceive things by

patterns. It is the "nature" of perception.
Learning-based inference is the "nurture" of
It is when we use past experiences to help us
perceive certain things.

Cognitive illusions
Cognitive illusions are assumed to arise by interaction with assumptions

about the world, leading to "unconscious inferences", an idea first

suggested in the 19th century by theGerman physicist and
physicianHermann Helmholtz.
Cognitive illusions are commonly divided intoambiguous illusions,
distorting illusions, paradox illusions, or fiction illusions.
Ambiguous illusionsare pictures or objects that elicit a perceptual
"switch" between the alternative interpretations. TheNecker cubeis a
well-known example; another instance is theRubin vase.
distortions of size, length, position or curvature. A striking example is
theCaf wall illusion. Other examples are the famousMller-Lyer
illusionandPonzo illusion.
Paradox illusionsare generated by objects that are paradoxical or
impossible, such as thePenrose triangleorimpossible staircaseseen,
for example, inM.C. Escher'sAscending and DescendingandWaterfall.
The triangle is an illusion dependent on a cognitive misunderstanding
that adjacent edges must join.
Fictionsare when a figure is perceived even though it is not in the

Necker cubes
This is an example of two identical necker cubes, the one on the left
showing an intermediate object (blue bar) going in "down from the top"
while the one on the right shows the object going in "up from the bottom"
which shows how the image can change its perspective simply by
changing which face (front or back) appears behind the intervening

An example of Rubin's vase.

Illusions of position (Poggendorff), orientation (Zllner) and, below, length



Defining Social Cognition

"Thus the study of the processes involved in perceiving each other and coming

to "know what we know" about the people in our world is essentially a question
not only of what behavior we have seen, but of our cognition as individual
perceivers-our social cognition.Social cognition, therefore, is the study of the
mental processes involved in perceiving, attending to, remembering, thinking
about, and making sense of the people in our social world."(Gordon B.
Moskowitz,Social Cognition: Understanding Self and Others)
"Social cognitionis a conceptual and empirical approach to understanding
social psychological topics by investigating the cognitive underpinnings of
whatever social phenomenon is being studied. That is, its focus is on an
analysis of how information is processed, stored, represented in memory, and
subsequently used in perceiving and interacting with the social world. Social
cognition is not a content area within social psychology; rather, it is an
approach to studying any topic area in social psychology. Thus, a social
cognition perspective can be adopted in studying topics as wide-ranging as
person perception, attitudes and attitude change, stereotyping and prejudice,
decision-making, the self-concept, social communication and influence, and
intergroup discrimination."(David L. Hamilton (Ed.).,Social Cognition: Key
Reading in Social Psychology)


Construal impact how people process and

remember social information differently. !

Our judgments are rarely (if ever!) flawless. !
Social cognition gives us useful information
about the strategies & rules that people follow
to make judgments. !
Mistakes often reveal a lot about how we think
by showing what our limitations are. !
What mistakes do we make? Why do we
make them?

Prejudice and Discrimination

Prejudiceis an unjustified or incorrect attitude (usually negative)

towards an individual based solely on the individual's membership

of a social group.
For example, a person may holdprejudicedviews towards a
certain race or gender etc. (e.g. sexist).
Discrimination is an action which is an unfair treatment directed
against someone. It can be based on many characteristics: age,
sex, height, weight, skin color, clothing, speech, income, education,
marital status, sexual orientation, disease, disability, religion and
politics. When the basis of discrimination is someone's perception of
race, it is known as racism. Discrimination is often the result of an
attitude called prejudice a prejudging of some sort, usually in a
negative way. There is also positive prejudice, which exaggerates
the virtues of a group, as when people think that some group
(usually their own) is more capable than others.

Prejudice and
Most prejudice, however, is negative and involves prejudging a

group as inferior.
Sociologists believe that we are not born with prejudice. Rather we
learn prejudice from the people around us.
Prejudice does not depend on negative experiences with others. It
also reveals that people who are prejudiced against one racial or
ethnic group also tend to be prejudiced against other groups.
People can be and are prejudiced against people they have never
met and even against groups that do not exist or existed in past.
Sociologists stress that we should move beyond thinking in terms
of individual discrimination the negative treatment of one person
by another.
Although such behavior creates problems, it is primarily an issue
between individuals.
With their focus on the broader picture, sociologists encourage us
see institutional discrimination that is how discrimination is woven
into the fabric of society.

Social Influence
Social influence is a major topic in social

psychology and looks at how individual

thoughts, actions and feelings are influenced
by social groups.
Learn more about various types of social
influence including peer pressure, obedience,
leadership, conformity and persuasion.

Inpsychology, anattitudeis an expression of favor or

disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event

describedattitudes"the most distinctive and indispensable
concept in contemporary social psychology.
An attitude is "a relatively enduring organization of beliefs,
feelings, and behavioral tendencies towards socially
significant objects, groups, events or symbols" (Hogg, &
Vaughan 2005, p. 150).
"..a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating
a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor"
(Eagly, & Chaiken, 1993, p. 1)

Structure of Attitudes
Affective component: this involves a persons

feelings / emotions about the attitude object. For

example: I am scared of spiders.
Behavioral(or cognitive) component: the way the
attitude we have influences how we act or behave.
For example: I will avoid spiders and scream if I
see one.
Cognitivecomponent: this involves a persons
belief / knowledge about an attitude object. For
example: I believe spiders are dangerous.

Learning is referred to as a relatively permanent change in behavior (or behavior

potential) that results from experience or practice.

Classical conditioning by Ivan Pavlov states that learning involves forming
association between two stimuli. The learner associates previously neutral
stimulus (CS) with a stimulus (UCS) that elicits a natural response (UCR). After
conditioning the CS acquires the capacity to elicit a response similar to the UCR.
Thorndike in his law of effect theorized that responses that satisfy are more
likely to be repeated while those that are not satisfying are less likely to be
Operant conditioning explains how voluntary responses are strengthened or
weakened depending on positive or negative consequences. In operant
conditioning the organism performs a behavior deliberately in order to produce
a desirable outcome.
Consequences of behavior are termed as reinforcements. The types of
Reinforcement and the schedules of reinforcement will decide how quickly a
behavior is learnt and how long it would stay.
Albert Bandura who put forth the observational learning theory says we learn by
watching others. Those whose behavior is observed are called Models. If the
models behavior is rewarded then the observer may imitate that behavior. On
the other hand, if the models behavior is not rewarded one may not imitate that

The cognitive learning theorists argue that learning cannot be reduced to mere

forming of association as contented by Pavlovian and Skinnerian psychologists.

They hold that cognitive process like perception, thinking and memory play key
role in learning.
Insight Learning and Sign learning can be seen as instance of cognitive theory in
addition to Banduras theory.
Wolfgang Kohler observed that animal forms a mental representation of the
problem until it hits on a solution, and then enacts the solution in the real world.
The solution will appear sudden because the representation persists over time.
The solution is transferable because the representation is abstract enough to
cover more than the original situation.
Tolmans Sign Learning is also known as latent learning. It suggests that learning
occurs even in the absence of reinforcement. However, for the behavior to occur
overtly reinforcement is requirement.
Reflecting back on your personal experience which type of reinforcement has
been effective in getting you learn better?
If you find your sister spanking your niece what would be your advice (apply
principles of operant conditioning)?
Apply principles of observational learning act as a model and try helping a kid in
your neighborhood some specific behavior.

Cognitive VsBehaviorist
Cognitive psychology

Cognitive psychology assumes that humans have the capacity to process and

organize information in their mind. It is concerned less with visible behavior and
more with the thought processes behind it. Cognitive psychology tries to
understand concepts such as memory and decision making.
Behaviorism only concerns itself with the behavior that can be observed. It
assumes that we learn by associating certain events with certain consequences,
and will behave in the way with the most desirable consequences. It also assumes
that when events happen together, they become associated and either event will
have the same response. It does not note any difference between animal behavior
and human behavior.
Both branches of psychology attempt to explain human behavior. However,
they are both theories have been replaced by other approaches (such as cognitive
behaviorism - which takes the best of both theories - and social psychology- which
looks at how our interactions with others shape our behavior).

Cognitive VsBehaviorist
Behaviorists say: Specific actions
Behaviorists say: to press the bar.
Cognitive say: Mental representations
Cognitive say:that pressing produces food.

Cognitive VsBehaviorist
For example, in a Skinner Box, a rat may

receive a food reward every time he presses

the bar. He presses faster and faster. What
has he learned?
For example, in a Skinner Box, a rat may
receive a food reward every time he presses
the bar. He presses faster and faster. What
has he learned?

Behaviorism (learns to)


Learning involves the formation of associations

between specific actions and specific events
(stimuli) in the environment. These stimuli may
either precede or follow the action (antecedents vs.
2. Many behaviorists use intervening variables to
explain behavior (e.g., habit, drive) but avoid
references to mental states.
analysis): avoids any intervening variables and
focuses on descriptions of relationships between
behavior and environment (functional analysis).

Cognitivism (learns that)


Learning takes place in the mind, not in

It involves the formation of mental
representations of the elements of a task and the
discovery of how these elements are related.
Behavior is used to make inferences about
mental states but is not of interest in itself
(methodological behaviorism).
3. EXAMPLE: Tolman & Honziks experiment on
latent learning. Tolman, a pioneer of cognitive
psychology, argued that when rats practice mazes,
they acquire a cognitive map of the layout
mental representations of the landmarks and their
spatial relationships.

Learning Theory

mechanisms are responsible for the

complexity of learning?
Locke (1600s) and Berkeley (early1700s)
We learn by associating one idea with
The word flower with the smell and sight
of a flower
The word stove with the sensation of heat
More complex learning more associations

Compare and contrast classical and

operant conditioning. How are they alike?
How do they differ?
Both classical and operant conditioning involve learning by

In classical conditioning, responses are involuntary and
automatic; however, responses are voluntary and learned in
operant conditioning.
In classical conditioning, the event that drives the behavior
(the stimulus) comes before the behavior; in operant
conditioning, the event that drives the behavior (the
consequence) comes after the behavior.
Also, whereas classical conditioning involves an organism
forming an association between an involuntary (reflexive)
response and a stimulus, operant conditioning involves an
organism forming an association between a voluntary
behavior and a consequence.

Observational learning
Observational learning extends the effective range of both

classical and operant conditioning.

In contrast to classical and operant conditioning, in which
learning occurs only through direct experience, observational
learning is the process of watching others and then imitating
what they do.
A lot of learning among humans and other animals comes
from observational learning.
To get an idea of the extra effective range that observational
learning brings, consider Ben and his son Julian from the
How might observation help Julian learn to surf, as opposed
to learning by trial and error alone? By watching his father,
he can imitate the moves that bring success and avoid the
moves that lead to failure.

Instincts and reflexes behavior

Instincts and reflexes are innate behaviorsthey

occur naturally and do not involve learning.

In contrast, learning is a change in behavior or
knowledge that results from experience.
complex patterns of behavior; instincts are
thought to be more prevalent in lower animals
than in humans

Continuous Reinforcement
Continuous Reinforcement: Often can miss

correct responses, causing confusion, and

typically loses its reinforcing quality.
Shaping: Example: Getting a scared child to
slide down a high slidebegin at the bottom,
and gradually go higher up the slide with each
turn until the child is at the top.
Behavior modification: It has been used on all
sorts of psychological problems -- addictions,
schizophrenia -- and works particularly well
with children.



Kohler (KER-ler) Mental processes had to be

an essential component of learning, even
though behaviorists disagreed.
Insight Learning: Problem solving occurs by
suddenly perceiving familiar objects in new
forms or relationships .
Example: chimp stacks crates to reach food
.This is a form of cognitive learning.


TOLMANS COGNITIVE MAP Edward Tolman Argued that it was a

cognitive map that accounted for a rat quickly selecting an

alternative route in a maze when the preferred path was blocked.
Cognitive Map: A mental image that an organism uses to navigate
through a familiar environment .
Example: giving directions, walking through your house in the dark
-Challenged the work of Pavlov, Watson, and Skinner --Claimed
learning was mental, not behavioral.
Instead of learning a series of left and right turns, he argued that
they acquired a more abstract mental representation of the mazes
spatial layout
-Reinforcement is not needed (as behaviorists believed) in rats
solving the maze
Organisms learn the spatial layout of their environments by

exploration, even if they are not reinforced for exploring

(Evolutionary perspective: Animals foraging for food)

Learning versus Instincts

Learning versus Instincts So, what does learningeither behavioral or cognitive

learningdo for us?

Nearly every human activity, from working to playing to interacting with family and
friends, involves some form of learning.
Without learning, we would have no human language.
We wouldnt know who our family or friends were. We would have no memory of our
past or goals for our future.
And without learning, we would be forced to rely on simple reflexes and a limited
repertoire of innate behaviors, sometimes known as instincts.
In contrast with learned responses, instinctive behavior (more properly known as
species-typical behavior) is heavily influenced by genetic programming.
It occurs in essentially the same way across different individuals in a species.
We see instincts at work in bird migrations, animal courtship rituals, and a few human
behavior patterns, such as nursing in newborns.
All these examples involve responses that are influenced relatively little by
experience, as compared to learned behaviors such as operating a computer, playing
tennis, or wincing at the sight of a needle.
In general, human behavior is much more influenced by learning and much less
influenced by instincts than that of other animals. For us, learning confers the
flexibility to adapt quickly to changing situations and new environments. In this
sense, then, learning represents an evolutionary advance over instincts.

Applications of Classical Conditioning

The beauty of classical conditioning is that it

offers a simple explanation for many

behaviors, from cravings to aversions.
But it offers more than an explanation: It also
gives us the tools for eliminating unwanted
human behaviors although Pavlov never
attempted any therapeutic applications.
It fell to the American behaviorist, John
Watson, to first apply classical conditioning
techniques to people.

Applications of Classical Conditioning

Stimulus generalization The extension of a learned response

to stimuli that are similar to the conditioned stimulus.

Stimulus discrimination A change in responses to one
stimulus but not to stimuli that are similar.
Experimental neurosis A pattern of erratic behavior
resulting from a demanding discrimination learning task,
typically one that involves aversive stimuli.
John Watson and Rosalie Rayner conditioned Little Albert to
fear furry objects like this Santa Claus mask (Discovering
Psychology, 1990).
Taste-aversion learning A biological tendency in which an
organism learns, after a single experience, to avoid a food
with a certain taste, if eating it is followed by illness.

Complex form of learning

One involves learning a connection between

two stimulias when a school child associates

the 12 oclock bell with lunch.
And another occurs when we associate our
consequences, such as praise or a reprimand
from the boss or an A or a D from a professor.

Memory connotes the capacity of an individual to record, retain and

reproduce the same information.

Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850 - 1909) Frederic Bartlett (1886-1969) we
the first ones to use scientific techniques to study memory.
The three-stage information processing differentiates three distinct
stages of memory namely sensory memory, short-term memory, and
long-term memory.
The stimuli that we first receive are momentarily retained in sensory
memory. Images that we see are stored as Iconic memory and the
auditory stimuli are stored as Echoic memory.
Information from sensory memory that has been attended to are sent
to the STM where it stays for 20 seconds or less. If no effort is taken
to rehearse the information at STM it would fade away.
Information from
the short-term memory, when repeatedly
rehearsed, reaches the long-term memory (LTM). Procedural memory
and Declarative memory are the two types of memory in the LTM.

Memory process includes encoding, storage and retrieval.
Encoding refers to getting information into the brain,
Storage refers to retaining the information and
Retrieval refers to getting back the information.

retrieval depends on organization of the

information and the context of encoding and retrieval.
Forgetting or retention loss connotes the apparent loss of
information already encoded and stored in an individual's
long term memory.
Few causes of Forgetting that have been identified are
the decay of memory trace, problems with interfering
materials, a break down in retrieval process, emotional
and motivational conditions, and organic factors.

Memory phenemenon and basic processes

When information comes into our memory system (from sensory input), it needs to be changed

into a form that the system can cope with, so that it can be stored. Think of this as similar to
changing your money into a different currency when you travel from one country to another. For
example, a word which is seen (in a book) may be stored if it is changed (encoded) into a sound
or a meaning (i.e. semantic processing).
There are three main ways in which information can be encoded (changed):
1. Visual (picture)
2. Acoustic (sound)
3. Semantic (meaning)
For example, how do you remember a telephone number you have looked up in the phone book?

If you can see it then you are using visual coding, but if you are repeating it to yourself you are
using acoustic coding (by sound).
Evidence suggests that this is the principle coding system in short term memory (STM) is acoustic

coding. When a person is presented with a list of numbers and letters, they will try to hold them
in STM by rehearsing them (verbally). Rehearsal is a verbal process regardless of whether the list
of items is presented acoustically (someone reads them out), or visually (on a sheet of paper).
The principle encoding system in long term memory (LTM) appears to be semantic coding (by

meaning). However, information in LTM can also be coded both visually and acoustically.

This concerns the nature of memory stores, i.e. where the information

is stored, how long the memory lasts for (duration), how much can be
stored at any time (capacity) and what kind of information is held.
The way we store information affects the way we retrieve it. There
has been a significant amount of research regarding the differences
betweenShort Term Memory (STM ) andLong Term Memory(LTM).
Most adults can store between 5 and 9 items in their short-term
memory. Miller (1956) put this idea forward and he called it the magic
number 7. He though that short-term memory capacity was 7 (plus or
minus 2) items because it only had a certain number of slots in
which items could be stored. However, Miller didnt specify the
amount of information that can be held in each slot. Indeed, if we can
chunk information together we can store a lot more information in
our short-term memory. In contrast the capacity of LTM is thought to
Information can only be stored for a brief duration in STM (0-30

seconds), but LTM can last a lifetime.

Memory Retrieval

refers to getting information out storage. If we cant remember

something, it may be because we are unable to retrieve it. When we are asked
to retrieve something from memory, the differences between STM and LTM

STM is stored and retrieved sequentially. For example, if a group of participants

are given a list of words to remember, and then asked to recall the fourth word
on the list, participants go through the list in the order they heard it in order to
LTM is stored and retrieved by association. This is why you can remember what

you went upstairs for if you go back to the room where you first thought about
Organizing information can help aid retrieval. You can organize information in

sequences (such as alphabetically, by size or by time). Imagine a patient being

discharged from hospital whose treatment involved taking various pills at
various times, changing their dressing and doing exercises. If the doctor gives
these instructions in the order which they must be carried out throughout the
day (i.e. in sequence of time), this will help the patient remember them.

Information porcessing model

The first stage she went through wasattending. In this stage,

she was listening and paying close attention to her grandmother's

words that she could do whatever she wanted if she believed in
herself. When we attend or focus on an event or a conversation,
we are preparing ourselves to receive it.
The second stage Jessica went through wasencoding. This is
what happened when she was taking in her grandmother's words.
If she was neither paying attention to them nor placing any
importance on them, she would not have encoded them.
The third stage wasstoring. In this stage, her grandmother's
words were entering her memory bank, ready to be called upon at
some other time.
The final stage wasretrieving. This happened when Jessica went
through a tough time in college and looked back on her
grandmother's words, bringing them up to her conscious
awareness. She retrieved this information in order to use it.

Information processing model

Parallel distributed processing model

The PDP model has 3 basic principles: a.) the representation of information is

distributed (not local) b.) memory and knowledge for specific things are not
stored explicitly, but stored in the connections between units. c.) learning can
occur with gradual changes in connection strength by experience.
"These models assume that information processing takes place through
interactions of large numbers of simple processing elements called units, each
sending excitatory and inhibitory signals to other units." (McLelland, J.,
Rumelhart, D., & Hinton, G., 1986,p.10)
Rumelhart, Hinton, and McClelland (1986) state that there are 8 major
components of the PDP model framework:
1.) a set of processing units
2.) a state of activation
3.) an output function for each unit
4.) a pattern of connectivity among units
5.) a propagation rule for propagating patterns of activities through the
network of connectivity's
6.) an activation rule for combining the inputs impinging on a unit with the
current state of that unit to produce a new level of activation for the unit
7.) a learning rule whereby patterns of connectivity are modified by experience
8.) an environment within which the system must operate

Parallel distributed processing model

Retireval(clues,recall, recognition,)
There aretwo main methodsof accessing memory: recognition and

Recognitionis the association of an event or physical object with
one previously experienced or encountered, and involves a process of
comparison of information with memory, e.g. recognizing a known
face, true/false or multiple choice questions, etc.
Recognition is a largely unconscious process, and the brain even has
a dedicatedface-recognition area, which passes information
directly through the limbic areasto generate a sense of familiarity,
before linking up with thecortical path, where data about the
person's movements and intentions are processed.
Recallinvolves remembering a fact, event or object that is not
currently physically present (in the sense of retrieving a
representation, mental image or concept), and requires the direct
uncovering of information from memory, e.g. remembering the name
of a recognized person, fill-in the blank questions, etc.

In the 1980s,Endel Tulvingproposed an alternative to the

two-stage theory, which he called the theory of encoding

This theory states that memory utilizes information both
from the specificmemory traceas well as from
theenvironmentin which it is retrieved.
Because of its focus on the retrieval environment or state,
encoding specificity takes into accountcontext cues, and it
also has some advantages over the two-stage theory as it
accounts for the fact that, in practice, recognition is not
actually always superior to recall.
Typically, recall is better when the environments are similar
in both the learning (encoding) and recall phases,
suggesting that context cues are important.

Cues can facilitate recovery of memories that

have been "lost."

In research, a process called cued recall is
used to study these effects.
Cued recalloccurs when a person is given a
list to remember and is then given cues
during the testing phase to aid in the retrieval
of memories.
The stronger the link between the cue and
the testing word, the better the participant
will recall the words.

reconstruction and automatic encoding

Automatic encoding is a process of memory

where information is taken in and encoded

without deliberate effort.
This can be seen in how a person can learn
and remember how things are arranged in a
house, or where to find particular items in a
grocery store.
These are things that don't take any particular
study or effort, but are just quickly learned

Nature and cause of forgetting

Memory and thebrain

Amnesia & false memories

The main factors involved may be brain damage affecting frontal control and executive

systems (spontaneous confabulation), a weak memory trace (momentary confabulation),

anomalous processing of input modulated by personal self-beliefs (delusional memories),
social co- ercion and source memory errors, usually in the context of low self-esteem (false
confession), and anomalous, biased, or selective retrieval from autobiographical memory
(pseudologia fantastica, fugue, multiple personality).
Some of these phenomena may result characteristically from a combination of factors
(e.g. the absence of rehearsal and a particular social context in cases of apparently false
or distorted memories for child sexual abuse).
In others, an interaction between social and biological factors may occasionally be
important (the confabulations produced by brain damaged patients in very stressful or
extreme situations).
Although all these phenomena can be described and characterized within a general model
of memory and executive function, provided that social factors and some notion of self
(called here a personal semantic belief system) are introduced, different components of
the model have been highlighted in the generation of particular instances of false memory.
It follows that these phenomena are probably best viewed as different types of false
memory, with varying underlying mechanisms, and that the term confabulation is
perhaps most useful if confined to its current conventions (brain disease and instances of
momentary confabulation):
In particular, confabulations and delusions need to be kept conceptually distinct. However,
the relative dearth of neuropsychological studies comparing false memory phenomena
means that the specific processes involved require further investigation.

Amnesia & false memories

Head trauma or other temporary disruption of

normal brain functioning interrupts memories that

are still the process of being transferred to LTM
(typically memories for events immediately
preceding the trauma).
Retrograde vs anterogade loss.
Retrograde: cannot remember events prior to
brain damage.
anterogade loss: cannot later remember events
that occur after brain damage.

Interference theory states that forgetting occurs because

memories interfere with and disrupt one another, in other words

forgetting occurs because of interference from other memories
(Baddeley, 1999). There are two ways in which interference can
cause forgetting:

interference(pro=forward) occurs when you

cannot learn a new task because of an old task that had been
learnt. When what we already know interferes with what we are
currently learning where old memories disrupt new memories.


interference(retro=backward) occurs when

you forget a previously learnt task due to the learning of a new
task. In other words, later learning interferes with earlier
learning - where new memories disrupt old memories.