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Flashcards in Psych/Soc Class 7 Deck (70)
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Procedural memory
Coordination of movement


Motor cortex

Found at back of frontal lobe
Receives info from various lobes & utilizes information to carry out body movements


Weber's Law

"Just noticeable difference"
- two stimuli must differ by a constant proportion, which varies by type of stimulus but remains constant within a given stimulus


Signal Detection Theory

Method for quantifying a person's ability to detect a given stimulus admist other non-important stimuli

Stimulus present + response present = HIT
Stimulus present + response absent = MISS (Type II error - False negative)
Stimulus absent + response present = False alarm (Type I error - False positive)
Stimulus absent + response absent = Correct rejection


Difference between SDT and weber's law

SDT is more accurate and will changed based on experience, expectations, alertness & motivations


Detecting stimulus in SDT depends on...

Acquiring information
Applying criteria


Accuracy of stimulus depends on...

Internal noise
External noise


ROC Curve

Receiver operating characteristic curve
- graphical plot that tracks hit rate vs false alarm rate in order to represent receiver's accuracy at given task
- want HIGH hit rate, LOW false alarm rate


4 stimulus properties

1. Modality - type of stimulus detected; based on type of receptor firing
2. Intensity - how strong stimulus is; encoded by rate of firing of action potentials
3. Location - communicated by receptive field of stimulus
4. Duration - how long stimulus is present


Types of receptors

Tonic receptors - generate action potentials as long as stimulus is present

Phasic receptors - fire only when stimulus begins; communicates changes in stimulus


Feature detection theory

explains that certain parts of brain are activated for specific visual stimuli

1. Feature detector neurons respond only to specific features of visual stimulus such as shape, angle, etc
2. Visual cortex passes sensory info to the part of brain responsible for perception of that object
3. Visual perception results from interaction of numerous specialized neural systems, each of which performs a specific, simple task


Parallel propcessing

Occurs so that many aspects of visual stimulus are processed simultaneously rather than step-wise

- When you have a visual scene you have: retinal processing, recognition, abstraction & feature detection occurring simultaneously


Bottom up vs Top down processing

Bottom up (micro)
- starts with info sensory receptors have and build up to final product in brain
Top down (macro)
- starts with larger concept and works down to details
- influenced by knowledge, experiences & expectations


Perceptual organization

to be able to transform sensory information into useful perception, you need to organize it; keep it separate from environment; must be able to detect motion & perceive distance


Gestalt Psychology

organize sensory information into meaningful patterns that you perceive

Law of Similarity - similar objects grouped together

Law of proximity - objects near each other are grouped together

Law of continuity - smooth, good continuation

Law of closure - perceive objects as a complete full entity

Law of common fate - predicts objects moving in same direction are one object

Law of connectedness - objects that are joined are perceived as connected

Law of simplicity - patterns are seen in simplest way possible

Figure/ground - tendency for ambiguous images to pop back & forth playing tricks on our mind


Broadbent Filter model of Selective Attention

- proposed that brain has limited brain activity
Attended & unattended entry sensory sore > selective filter will decay unattended but pass attended to higher level processing through bottleneck > goes into working memory


Treisman Attenuation Model

Attended & unattended entry sensory sore > attenuated filter will turn "down" the volume of unattended but pass both messages into higher level processing through bottleneck > goes into working memory


Cocktail part effect

Occurs when you filter out other conversations until your name or something important is mentioned, at which point your attn shifts to this other channel



"Divided attention"
Successful multitasking depends on:
- task similarity
- task difficulty
- task practice



Mental framework that allows us to organize experiences/stimuli & respond to new experiences/stimuli


Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development

Sensorimotor (0-2 yrs) - object permanence, stranger anxiety
Preoperational (2-7 yrs) - pretend play, egocentrism
Concrete Operational (7-11 yrs) - conservation
Formal Operational (11+) - abstract logic, moral reasoning


Problem Solving tactics

Trial & error - try several potential solutions & rule out those that don't work

Insight - try out a problem then all at once solution comes to you

Algorithm - step by step procedure that exhausts all possible options

Heuristic - mental rule of thumb, shortcut or guideline


Confirmation bias

Seek evidence to support our conclusions or ideas more than we seek evidence to refute them; also interpret neutral evidence as supporting our beliefs



Structured a problem in your mind a certain way, even if that way is ineffective & are unable to restructure it and see it in a fresh perspective


Functional fixedness

Mental bias that limits view of how an object can be used based on how that object is traditionally used


Mental set

Tendency to approach situations in certain way because that method worked for us in past


Availability Heuristic

Occurs when you rely on examples that immediately come to mind when we are trying to make a decision or judgement


Representative Heuristic

Occurs when we estimate the likelihood of an event by comparing it to an existing prototype that exists in our mind



Ability to learn from experience & adapt to environment


Social intelligence

Ability to manage & understand people