Cognitive Psychology

Biedermans recognitionbycomponents theory

Biederman (1987, 1990) put forward a theory of object recognition extending that of Marr and Nishihara (1978). The central assumption of his recognition-by-components theory is that objects consist of basic shapes or components known as geons (geometric ions). Examples of geons are blocks, cylinders, spheres, arcs, and wedges. According to Biederman (1987), there are about 36 different geons. This may seem suspiciously few to provide descriptions of all the objects we can recognise and...

Focused Auditory Attention

The British scientist Colin Cherry was working in an electronics research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but became involved in psychological research. What fascinated Cherry was the cocktail party problem how are we able to follow just one conversation when several people are all talking at once Cherry (1953) found that this ability involves using physical differences (e.g., sex of speaker voice intensity speaker location) to maintain attention to a chosen auditory...

Cognitive Psychology Glossary Terminology

Accommodation one of the binocular cues to depth, based on the variation in optical power produced by a thickening of the lens of the eye when focusing on a close object. Achromatopsia this is a brain-damaged condition in which there is little or no colour perception, but form and motion perception are sometimes intact. Action slips actions that are performed in ways that were not intended. Affirmation of the consequent an invalid argument form in conditional reasoning where one concludes P,...

Speaking And Writing Compared

Spoken and written language both have as their central function the communication of information about people and the world, and so it is common-sensical to assume that there are important similarities between speaking and writing. On the other hand, children and adults often find writing much harder than speaking, suggesting there are major differences between the productions of spoken and written language. Speaking and writing will now be compared. The view that speaking and writing are...

Episodic And Semantic Memory

Our long-term memories contain an amazing variety of different kinds of information. As a result, there is a natural temptation to assume there are various long-term memory systems, each of which is specialised for certain types of information. Tulving (1972) argued for a distinction between episodic memory and semantic memory. According to Tulving, episodic memory refers to the storage (and retrieval) of specific events or episodes occurring in a particular place at a particular time. Thus,...

Historical roots of cognitive psychology

The year 1956 was critical in the development of cognitive psychology. At a meeting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chomsky gave a paper on his theory of language, George Miller presented a paper on the magic number seven in short-term memory (Miller, 1956), and Newell and Simon discussed their very influential computational model called the General Problem Solver (discussed in Newell, Shaw, & Simon, 1958 see also Chapter 15). In addition, the first systematic attempt to...