Cognitive Psychology Glossary Terminology

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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, given the true statements If P then Q and Q.

Affordances: the potential uses of an object, which Gibson claimed are directly perceived.

Agrammatism: a condition in which speech productions lack grammatical structure and many function words and word endings are omitted.

Akinetopsia: this is a brain-damaged condition in which objects in motion cannot be perceived, whereas stationary objects are perceived fairly normally.

Alexia: a condition in which there are great problems with reading even though speech is understood.

Algorithmic method: a specified set of steps for solving a problem, which guarantees the solution of the problem.

Alzheimer's disease: a disease involving progressive dementia or loss of mental powers.

Amnesic syndrome: a condition in which there is substantial impairment of long-term memory; the condition includes both anterograde amnesia and retrograde amnesia.

Analogical representation: a mental representation that somehow parallels the structure of the thing it represents in the world, e.g., the way visual images parallel the spatial organisation of things in the world (see propositional representation).

Analogy: a figurative comparison between two domains of knowledge that allows you to make some inferences that may or may not be correct (e.g., the atom is like a minature solar system).

Anaphora: the use of a pronoun or noun to represent some previously mentioned noun or noun phrase.

Anarthria: a condition caused by brain damage in which the patient cannot speak in spite of having intact general language knowledge; see dysarthria.

Anecdotal evidence: evidence that has more the status of hearsay, rather than that gathered by controlled observation or experimental testing.

Anomia: a condition caused by brain damage in which there is an impaired ability to name objects.

Anterograde amnesia: reduced ability to remember information acquired after the onset of amnesia.

Aphasia: impaired language abilities as a result of brain damage.

Apparent motion: the illusion of motion created by the rapid presentation of still images.

Apperceptive agnosia: this is a form of visual agnosia in which there is impaired perceptual analysis of familiar objects.

Articulatory suppression: rapid repetition of some simple sound (e.g., the the the) which uses the articulatory control process of the phonological loop.

Associationism: philosophical approach that stressed the associative character of perception, memory, and thought (originally inspired by so-called British Empiricists, Hume, Locke, and Berkeley).

Associative agnosia: this is a form of visual agnosia in which perceptual processing is fairly normal but there is an impaired ability to derive the meaning of objects.

Attentional bias: selective attention to threat-related stimuli when presented at the same time as neutral stimuli.

Auditory phonological agnosia: a condition in which there is poor perception of unfamiliar words and non-words, but not familiar words.

Autobiographical memory: memory for the events of one's own life.

Availability heuristic: the assumption that the frequencies of events can be estimated accurately by the accessibility in memory.

Back-propagation: a learning mechanism in connectionist networks based on comparing actual responses to correct ones.

Balint's syndrome: a brain-damaged condition in which some patients find it hard to shift visual attention.

Base-rate information: the relative frequency of an event within a population.

Basic cognitive interview: an approach to improving the memory of eyewitnesses based on the assumption that memory traces contain many features.

Basic level: an intermediate level of abstraction in a conceptual hierarchy, usually corresponding to a maximally informative category, like chairs and desks (see superordinate level and subordinate level).

Between-category similarity: the similarity of categories to one another, organised by some superordinate concept (see within-category similarity).

Bias: used in reasoning research to indicate a tendency to respond in a certain way that is often, in some sense, incorrect.

Biconditional: the logical operator that is sometimes notated as "if' or "if and only if', as in the statement "if and only if there is a circle there is a triangle".

Binding problem: issues arising when different kinds of information need to be integrated to produce object recognition.

Binocular cues: cues to depth that require both eyes to be used together.

Blindsight: the ability to respond appropriately to visual stimuli in the absence of conscious vision in patients with damage to the primary visual cortex.

Blobs: areas in the primary visual cortex forming part of the P pathway and responding strongly to contrast and to colour; see interblobs.

Bottom-up processing: processing that is directly influenced by environmental stimuli; see top-down processing.

Bridging inferences: inferences that are drawn to increase the coherence between the current and preceding parts of a text.

Case grammar: a schema-like representation for relational concepts proposed by Fillmore (1968) which makes use of case-categories [e.g., Agent, Object, Recipient, as in hit(Agent, Recipient, Instrument)].

Categorical speech perception: classification of ambiguous speech sounds as representing specific phonemes in an all-or-none way.

Category-specific anomia: a condition in which there is selective impairment in the ability to name objects belonging to certain categories in spite of good access to semantic information about objects.

Central executive: a modality-free, limited-capacity, component of working memory.

Centre of moment: the reference point in the upper body around which the shoulders and hips swing.

Characteristic attributes: semantic features of a concept that are not necessary but merely occur in many instances of the concept (see defining attributes).

Chromatic adaptation: reduced sensitivity to light of a given colour after lengthy exposure.

Chunk: a stored unit formed from integrating smaller pieces of information.

Co-articulation: slight distortion in speech when the production of one speech segment is influenced by the production of the previous speech segment.

Code generation: the writing of computer programs.

Cognitive economy: the principle, mainly applied in categorisation theory, that human knowledge is organised to maximise the distinctions between categories while minimising the number of knowledge items to be stored.

Cognitive neuropsychology: it involves studying cognitive functioning in brain-damaged patients in order to increase our understanding of normal human cognition.

Cognitive neuroscience: it involves using various techniques to study the functioning of the human brain.

Cognitive science: it involves constructing computational models in order to understand human cognition.

Cohesion: a property of categories whereby their members seem to coalesce into a natural grouping.

Colour constancy: the tendency for any given object to be perceived as having the same colour under widely varying viewing conditions.

Combinatorial explosion: a description of how the number of possibilities in a task or problem increases rapidly as more items have to be processed or more decisions have to be made.

Competence: the idea that people have a basic ability in some task (e.g., linguistic competence or logical competence) that may or may not be realised in their performance of the task for a variety of reasons (e.g., working memory load).

Conceptual hierarchies: the inclusive relationships between categories at different levels of abstraction (e.g., that "living things" includes "animals" which, in turn, includes dogs and cats).

Conceptual implicit tests: memory tests on which the information provided is conceptually related to the studied information and conscious recollection is not required; see perceptual implicit tests.

Conceptual spaces: a domain of knowlege or set of ideas defined by some semantic parameters, often conceived of as a multi-dimensional space.

Conceptually driven processes: processes initiated by the individual in a top-down way; see data-driven processes.

Conditionals: the name given to if.. .then statements in logic and reasoning by deduction.

Confirmation: technique used in hypothesis testing that, according to Popper (1968), is logically incorrect, whereby one attempts to find supportive evidence for your hypotheses rather than falsify them.

Confirmation bias: memory that is distorted by being influenced by the individual's expectations rather than what actually happened.

Connectionism: the school of thought that propounds the use of connectionist networks or neural networks as computational models of the mind.

Connectionist networks: a computational modelling technique, based on an analogy to neurons, which uses elementary units or nodes that are connected together; each network has various structures or layers (e.g., input; intermediate or hidden; output); also called neural networks.

Contrast sensitivity function: an assessment of an individual's ability to detect targets of various spatial frequencies.

Control knowledge: knowledge about the subgoal structure of a problem, knowledge about how a problem is to be solved.

Convergence: one of the binocular cues, based on the inward focus of the eyes with a close object.

Covert attention: attention to an object or sound in the absence of overt movements of the relevant receptors (e.g., looking at an object out of the corner of one's eye).

Creativity: the product of a thinking process that is, in some sense, novel and productive, in that it goes beyond what has been previously knownby an individual or group of people.

Cue-dependent forgetting: forgetting in which the information is stored in memory but cannot be retrieved because of inadequate retrieval cues; see trace-dependent forgetting.

Darwinian algorithms: rules proposed to be used in reasoning about social contract situations that enable one to maximise one's goals, and are considered to have adaptative significance.

Data-driven processes: processes triggered directly by external stimuli in a bottom-up way; see conceptually driven processes.

Declarative knowledge: it is concerned with knowing that something is the case (e.g., that London is the capital of England). It covers episodic memory and semantic memory; see procedural knowledge.

Deduction: deduction or deductive reasoning concerns the reasoning to a conclusion from some set of premises, where that conclusion necessarily follows from the assumption that the premises are true (see induction).

Deep dysgraphia: a condition in which there are semantic errors in spelling and non-words are incorrectly spelled.

Deep dyslexia: a condition in which reading of unfamiliar words is impaired, and there are semantic reading errors (e.g., reading "missile" as "rocket").

Deep dysphasia: a condition in which there is poor ability to repeat spoken non-words and there are semantic errors in repeating spoken words.

Defining attributes: semantic features of a concept that are necessary and sufficient to instances of the concept (see characteristic attributes).

Demand characteristics: those aspects of the experimental situation leading participants to draw inferences about the behaviour expected of them.

Denial of the antecedent: an invalid argument form in conditional reasoning where one concludes not-Q, given the true statements If P then Q and not-P.

Differential motion parallax: the perception that objects nearer than the point of fixation are moving in the opposite direction to those beyond the point of fixation.

Directed retrospection: a method of studying writing in which writers are asked to categorise their immediately preceding thoughts while writing.

Discourse: connected text or speech.

Divided attention: a situation in which two tasks are performed at the same time.

Domain-specific knowledge: a relatively self-contained collection of knowledge about a particular topic; e.g., knowledge of car engines or of the solar system would be distinct domains of knowledge.

Domain-specific strategy: a problem-solving method that can be used in many different domains of knowledge.

Double dissociation: the finding that some individuals (often brain-damaged) do well on task A and poorly on task B, whereas others show the opposite pattern.

Dual-space search: the theoretical proposal that in scientific discovery there are two distinct problem spaces, one that is searched for hypotheses and one that is searched for experiments.

Dysarthria: a condition caused by brain damage in which the patient has a severe motor speech impairment; see anarthria.

Dysexecutive syndrome: a condition in which damage to the frontal lobes causes impairments to the central executive component of working memory.

Ecological approach: perspective in vision research proposed by Gibson, that the environment supplies many factors that simplify the processing problems faced by humans.

Ecological validity: the extent to which the findings of laboratory studies are applicable to everyday settings.

Elaborative inferences: inferences that add details to a text that is being read.

Elaborative rehearsal: processing that involves a deeper or more semantic analysis of the learning material; see maintenance rehearsal.

Empiricism: philosophical perspective which maintains that most knowledge is acquired through experience in the world (see Locke, Hume, and Berkeley); the "nurture" part of the nature versus nurture debate, often contrasted withnativism.

Encoding specificity principle: the notion that retrieval depends on the overlap between the information available at retrieval and the information within the memory trace.

Enhanced cognitive interview: an approach to improving the memory of eyewitnesses based on developing the basic cognitive interview to improve its effectiveness.

Episodic memory: a form of long-term memory concerned with personal experiences or episodes that happened in a given place at a specific time; see semantic memory.

Event-based prospective memory: remembering to perform some action when the circumstances are suitable; see time-based prospective memory.

Exemplar: an instance (or best example) of a category.

Experimental cognitive psychology: it involves carrying out traditional experiments on normal human participants, generally under laboratory conditions.

Expertise: the specific knowledge that an expert has about a particular domain; e.g., that an engineer might have about bridges, or a software engineer might have about programming (see domain).

Explicit memory: memory that involves conscious recollection; see implicit memory.

Explicit memory bias: the tendency to retrieve relatively more negative or unpleasant information than positive or neutral information on a test of explicit memory.

Extension: the set of entities in the world that are the members of a category (e.g., all the bachelors in the world making up the bachelor category; see intension).

External validity: the validity of research findings outside the situation in which they were obtained; see internal validity.

Extinction: a disorder of visual attention in which a stimulus presented to the side opposite the brain damage is not detected when another stimulus is presented at the same time.

Extrinsic context: context that does not affect the meaning of to-be-remembered information; see intrinsic context.

Face inversion effect: the finding that faces that are inverted (turned upside down) are harder to recognise than faces viewed in their normal orientation.

Falsification: the logically correct means by which science is meant to work, proposed by Popper (1968), whereby one proposes hypotheses from a theory and attempts to falsify them by experimental tests (see confirmation).

Family resemblance: Wittgenstein's term for the type of similarity that seems to hold between members of a category, later used to derive family resemblance scores by Rosch and Mervis (1975).

Feed-forward network: a type of connectionist model that has a large number of connected units organised in layers, which is usually trained with a learning rule (like back-propagation of errors).

Figure-ground segregation: the perceptual organisation of the visual field into a figure (object of central interest) and a ground (less important background).

Flashbulb memories: vivid and detailed memories of dramatic events.

Focus of expansion: this is the point towards which someone who is in motion is moving; it is the only part of the visual field that does not appear to move.

Focused attention: a situation in which individuals try to attend to only one source of stimulation while ignoring other stimuli.

Folk theory: a mental representation of a commonsense explanation of some aspect of the world (e.g., about how objects fall, bounce, or break) which may be at variance with what actually occurs; also sometimes called mental models or naive theories.

Frame: an organised packet of information about the world, events, or people, stored in long-term memory (also called a schema).

Framing: the influence of irrelevant aspects of a situation on decision making.

Functional fixedness: the Gestalt School's term for the inflexible use of the usual funcion of an object in problem solving.

Fuzzy categories: categories that do not have clear boundaries, derived from Zadeh's fuzzy logic.

Gestalt School: a largely German school of perception and thinking researchers from the early 20th century, who proposed theories that stressed the active, productive nature of cognition rather than its passive associationist nature.

Heuristic method: a rule-of-thumb technique for solving a problem, which does not guarantee the solution of the problem but is highly likely to solve the problem.

Hybrid model: a computational model that combines standard symbolic modelling techniques (e.g., production systems) with a connectionist modelling technique (like feed-forward networks).

Iconic store: a sensory store in which visual information is held very briefly.

Ill defined problem: a problem in which the definition of the problem statement is ill specified; it may not be clear what constitutes the initial state, goal state, and methods to be used to solve the problem (see also well defined problem).

Impasse: block or obstacle in achieving a goal in a problem-solving episode.

Implicit learning: learning complex information without the ability to provide conscious recollection of what has been learned.

Implicit memory: memory that does not depend on conscious recollection; see explicit memory.

Implicit memory bias: the tendency to show relatively better performance for negative than for neutral information on a test of implicit memory.

Impossibilistic creativity: a type of creative thinking, proposed by Boden (1991), which produces radically new ideas based on changing the fundamental conventions/rules in a particular domain of knowledge.

Improbabilistic creativity: a type of creative thinking, proposed by Boden (1991), which produces unlikely or low-probability ideas based on novel combinations of familiar ideas.

Incubation: a phase in creative thinking, proposed by Wallas (1926), in which a problem is left to one side, during which time some unconscious processing occurs that eventually yields an insight.

Induction: the name given to the process, which may be formalised logically or statistically, by which generalisations are formed from examples or sample phenomena (see deduction).

Infantile amnesia: the inability of adults to recall autobiographical memories from early childhood.

Innate: generally, an ability that is strongly genetically determined.

Inner scribe: according to Logie, the part of the visuo-spatial sketchpad which deals with spatial and movement information.

Insight: the experience of suddenly realising how to solve a problem or of understanding the structure of a problem (see incubation).

Intension: the definition of a concept usually characterised as a set of necessary and sufficient semantic features (see extension).

Interblobs: areas in the primary visual cortex forming part of the P pathway and responding strongly to contrast, location, and orientation; see blobs.

Internal validity: the validity of research findings within the research situation itself; see external validity.

Interpretive bias: the tendency to interpret ambiguous stimuli and situations in a threatening way.

Intrinsic context: context that influences the meaning of to-be-remembered information.

Introspection: examination or observation of one's own mental processes.

Isomorphic: a one-to-one correspondence between two entities or systems (e.g., our left and right hands are isomorphic to one another, one can be placed directly on top of the other to form a one-to-one correspondence).

Isomorphism: the assumption that the organisation of the mind closely matches that of the physical brain.

Jargon aphasia: a brain-damaged condition in which speech is reasonably correct grammatically, but there are great problems in finding the right words.

Kinetic depth effect: the accurate perception of three-dimensional structure when a two-dimensional image of an object is rotated.

Knowledge-poor problem: a problem that can be solved without the use of much prior knowledge, most of the information required is given in the problem statement (see also knowledge-rich problem).

Knowledge-rich problem: a problem that can only be solved through the use of considerable amounts of prior knowledge, e.g., problems requiring expertise in an area (see also knowledge-poor problem).

Knowledge state: a mental representation of a possible state-of-affairs either real or imagined.

Korsakoff's syndrome: amnesia (impaired long-term memory) caused by chronic alcoholism.

Landmarks: key public or personal events that can be used to date less significant political or personal events.

Lexical access: entering the lexicon with its store of detailed information about words.

Lexical decision task: a task in which participants have to decide as rapidly as possible whether a letter string forms a word.

Lexicalisation: the process of translating the meaning of a word into its sound representation during speech production.

Lexicon: a store of detailed information about words, including orthographic, phonological, semantic, and syntactic knowledge.

Logical operator: the name given to the basic functions in a logical system, usually including and, or, not, if. . . then and if and only if.

Loop-avoidance strategy: a problem-solving strategy that avoids repeating a step already taken in a problem, used to avoid repeating a sequence of solution steps over and over again.

Loss aversion: the tendency to be more sensitive to potential losses than to potential gains.

Magneto-encephalography (MEG): a non-invasive brain-scanning technique based on recording the magnetic fields generated by brain activity.

Maintenance rehearsal: processing that involves simply repeating analyses which have already been carried out.

Means-ends analysis: a heuristic method for solving problems based on noting the difference between a current and goal state, and creating a subgoal to overcome this difference.

Mental logic: the proposal that people use some form of proof-derivation system when they reason.

Mental model: a mental representation of a state-of-affairs in the world that may be descriptive (e.g., some characterisation of a set of individuals) or an explanation for a particular phenomenon (see also naive theory).

Mere exposure effect: an effect in which stimuli that have been presented before (even when not perceived consciously) are preferred to new stimuli.

Meta-analyses: statistical analyses based on data from numerous studies on a given issue.

Metacognition: a person's assessment of their own thought processes, e.g., their feeling-of-knowing how close they are to the solution of a problem.

Method of converging operations: an approach to psychology based on using a variety of methods to study any given issue.

Method of loci: a mnemonic technique in which the to-be-remembered items are associated with locations (e.g., places along a walk).

Microspectrophotometry: a technique that allows measurement of the amount of light absorbed at various wavelengths by individual cone receptors.

Modal logic: a type of logic that involves statements that take into account necessity and sufficiency (e.g., statements involving can and must).

Modularity: the assumption that the cognitive system consists of several fairly independent processors or modules.

Modus ponens: a valid argument form in conditional reasoning where one concludes Q, given the true statements If P then Q and P.

Modus tollens: a valid argument form in conditional reasoning where one concludes not-P, given the true statements If P then Q and not-Q.

Monocular cues: cues to depth that can be used with one eye, but can also be used with both eyes.

Mood-state-dependent memory: the finding that memory is better when the mood state at retrieval is the same as that at learning than when the two mood states differ.

Naive theory: a mental representation of a commonsense explanation of some aspect of the world (e.g., about how objects fall, bounce, or break) which may be at variance with whatactually occurs; also called mental models orfolk theories.

Naming task: a task in which visually presented words have to be pronounced aloud as rapidly as possible.

Nativist: philosophical perspective that maintains that most knowledge is innate and given to the organism at birth (see Kant, 1787); the "nature" part of the nature versus nurture debate, often contrasted with empiricism.

Negative afterimage: the illusory perception of the complementary colour to the one that has just been fixated for several seconds; green is the complementary colour to red, and blue to yellow.

Negative priming: inhibited processing of a target stimulus when that stimulus was a distractor on the previous trial.

Neglect: a disorder of visual attention in which stimuli or parts of stimuli presented to the side opposite the brain damage are undetected and not responded to; the condition resembles extinction, but is more severe.

Normative theory: a theory about how a particular task is achieved, which is not necessarily a psychological theory; that is, it is not necessarily an account of what people actually do, but rather an abstract analysis of the task.

Omission bias: the tendency to prefer inaction over action when engaged in decision making. Operators: the mental representation of "actions in the mind" that can be carried out in a given cognitive act, usually in searching a problem space.

Optic aphasia: a condition in which there is a severe impairment in the ability to name visually presented objects even though their use can be mimed and they can be named when handled.

Optic array: the structured pattern of light falling on the retina.

Optic ataxia: a condition in which there are problems with making visually guided limb movements.

Optic flow pattern: the structured pattern of light intensity created when there is movement of the observer and/or aspects of the environment.

Optical trajectory: the flight path of an object (e.g., ball) as seen by an observer.

Orthography: information about the spellings of words.

Paradigm: according to Kuhn, a general theoretical orientation that is agreed upon by most scientists working in a given discipline.

Parietal cortex: part of the parietal lobe bordering the frontal lobe, concerned with integrating and interpreting sensory information from different modalities.

Parsing: an analysis of the syntactical or grammatical structure of sentences.

Pattern recognition: identification or classification of visually presented two- and three-dimensional objects.

Perceived causality: the impression that one object has caused movement of a second object.

Perceptual implicit tests: memory tests on which the stimuli that are presented are degraded versions of the stimuli presented at study, and on which conscious recollection is not required; see conceptual implicit tests.

Perfect pitch: the ability to name and sing specified pitches without being given any reference pitch.

Phonemes: basic speech sounds conveying meaning.

Phonemic restoration effect: the finding that listeners are unaware that a phoneme has been deleted from an auditorily presented sentence.

Phonological dysgraphia: a condition in which familiar words can be spelled reasonably well but non-words cannot.

Phonological dyslexia: a condition in which familiar words can be read but there is impaired ability to read unfamiliar words and non-words; see surface dyslexia.

Phonological loop: a component of working memory, in which speech-based information is held and subvocal articulation occurs.

Phonology: information about the sounds of words and parts of words.

Pragmatics: the study of the ways in which language is used, including a consideration of its intended meaning.

Pragmatic schema: rules or schemata that are proposed to be used in reasoning about situations involving permissions or obligations.

Predicate calculus: a type of logic in which predicates are used, i.e. statements consisting of a predicate relation and a number of arguments [e.g., red(x), put-on(book table)].

Prefrontal cortex: generally used to indicate the entire frontal lobes of the brain, concerned with the makeup of the individual's personality, resulting from the input of many cortical and subcortical sources, and specialisms in handling information needed to guide action.

Problem-solving set: the Gestalt School's term for the inflexible use of a particular problem-solving technique.

Problem space: an abstract description of all the possible states-of-affairs that can occur in a problem situation.

Procedural knowledge: it is concerned with knowing how, and includes the ability to perform skilled actions; see declarative knowledge.

Production systems: they consist of numerous IF.THEN rules and a working memory containing information.

Productive thinking: thinking behaviour that is based on prior knowledge which has been adapted or modified in some way to be applicable to a problem situation (see reproductive thinking).

Progressive deepening: a strategy used in chess for progressively looking farther and farther ahead in a set of moves, in determining the best move to take.

Proportional analogies: analogies often used in intelligence tests presented in the proportional form, A:B::C:D, described as "A is to B as C is to D" (e.g., Red is to Stop as Green is to Go).

Propositional calculus: a logic in which propositions are manipulated using a small set of logical operators (e.g., if... then).

Propositional representation: language-like mental representation that characterises the conceptual content of ideas (see analogical representation).

Prosodic cues: features of spoken language, such as stress and intonation.

Prosopagnosia: a condition caused by brain damage in which the patient cannot recognise familiar faces but can recognise familiar objects.

Prospective memory: remembering to carry out intended actions.

Protocol analysis: a method of studying cognitive processes in which tape recordings are made of a person's verbalisations, called the protocol, while carrying out some cognitive task (e.g., problem solving, writing).

Psychological refractory period: the slowing of response to the second of two stimuli when they are presented close together in time.

Pure word deafness: a condition in which there is severely impaired speech perception combined with good speech production, reading, writing, and perception of non-speech sounds.

Rationalisation: in Bartlett's theory, the tendency in recall of stories to produce errors that conform to the cultural expectations of the rememberer.

Reading span: the largest number of sentences read for comprehension from which an individual can recall all the final words more than 50% of the time.

Recency effect: the finding that only recall of the last few items in a list is severely impaired by introducing a short task between list presentation and recall.

Reminiscence bump: the tendency of older people to recall a disproportionate number of autobiographical memories from the years of adolescence and early adulthood.

Repetition-priming effect: the finding that stimulus processing is faster and easier on the second and successive presentations.

Representation: any notation or sign or set of symbols that "re-presents" something to us, usually in the absence of that thing (see propositional and analogical representation).

Representativeness heuristic: the assumption that representative or typical members of a category are encountered most frequently.

Repression: motivated forgetting of traumatic or other threatening events.

Reproductive thinking: thinking behaviour that is based on the rote-like use of prior knowledge (see productive thinking).

Resonance: the process of automatic pick-up of visual information from the environment in Gibson's theory.

Resource limitations: limitations on cognitive processing usually caused by the limited size of working memory.

Restructuring: the Gestalt School's proposed process by which perceptual scenes or problem situations were changed to produce some new interpretation of the perceptual or problem situation (see insight).

Retrograde amnesia: impaired memory for events occurring before the onset of amnesia.

Running spectral displays: visual displays of changes over time in the frequencies contained within the speech signal.

Savings method: a measure of forgetting introduced by Ebbinghaus, in which the number of trials for re-learning is compared against the number for original learning.

Schema: an organised packet of information about the world, events, or people, stored in long-term memory.

Scripts: a type of schema for representing typical events (e.g., going to a restaurant) proposed by Schank and Abelson (1977).

Search: the systematic mental exploration of a problem space during problem solving.

Self-reference effect: the finding that memory is especially good after self-reference judgements.

Semantic decomposition: the breaking down of a concept into its component semantic features or attributes.

Semantic features: the fundamental meaning units that constitute the basis of the meaning of all concepts (also called semantic markers, semantic primitives, and semantic attributes).

Semantic memory: a form of long-term memory consisting of general knowledge about the world, language, and so on; see episodic memory.

Semantic networks: they consist of concepts linked to other concepts by means of various kinds of relations (e.g., is-similar-to).

Semantic priming effect: the finding that word identification is facilitated when there is priming by a semantically related word.

Simultanagnosia: a brain-damaged condition in which only one object can be seen at a time.

Single-unit recording: an invasive technique permitting the study of activity in single neurons.

Sinusoidal gratings: patterns of alternating dark and light bars in which there are gradual intensity changes between bars.

Situated action: the proposal that a lot of cognition about how to act is held in the environment rather than in the head (akin to Gibson's ecological approach in vision research).

Size constancy: objects are perceived to have a given size regardless of the size of the retinal image.

Source amnesia: retention of a fact combined with an inability to remember where or how the fact was learned.

Spatial connectives: logical operators dealing with spatial relations (like on or above).

Spectrograph: an instrument that is used to produce visible records of the sound frequencies in speech.

Stereopsis: one of the binocular cues, based on the disparity in the retinal images of the two eyes.

Story grammar: a set of rules permitting the structure of any story to be generated.

Stroop effect: the finding that naming of the colours in which words are printed is slower when the words are conflicting colour-words (e.g., the word RED printed in green).

Subgoal: a subsidary goal that must be satistifed on the way to reaching the main goal of a problem.

Subordinate level: a low, if not the lowest, level of abstraction in a conceptual hierarchy, usually corresponding to a very specific category, like kitchen chairs (see basic level and subordinate level).

Sunk-cost effect: expending additional resources to justify some previous commitment (i.e., throwing good money after bad).

Superordinate level: a high level of abstraction in a conceptual hierarchy, usually corresponding to a very general category, like animals (see basic level and superordinate level).

Surface dysgraphia: a condition in which there is poor spelling of irregular words and non-words, but not of regular words.

Surface dyslexia: a condition in which regular words can be read but there is impaired ability to read irregular words; see phonological dyslexia.

Syllogism: a logical argument consisting of two premises and a conclusion, usually involving statements of the "all X are Y" or "some X are Z" form; syllogisms formed the basis for one of the first logical systems attributed to Aristotle.

Symbols: a sign that stands for something usually in the absence of that thing.

Synaesthesia: the tendency for one sense modality to evoke another.

Syndromes: labels used to categorise brain-damaged and other patients on the basis of co-occurring symptoms.

Time-based prospective memory: remembering to carry out a future action at the right time; see event-based prospective memory.

Top-down processing: stimulus processing that is affected by factors such as the individual's past experience and expectations.

Trace-dependent forgetting: forgetting that occurs because the information contained in memory traces has been lost; see cue-dependent forgetting.

Trait anxiety: a personality dimension concerned with individual differences in susceptibility to anxiety.

Truth tables: logical method for laying out the truth conditions of some logical statement, whereby all the logical possibilities are elaborated and shown.

Typicality gradient: the ordering of the members of a category in terms of their typicality ratings (e.g., that "robin" is a more typical instance of "bird" than "canary", and that "canary" is, in turn, more typical than "penguin").

Unilateral visual neglect: a condition in brain-damaged patients in which half of the visual field is neglected or ignored.

Universal weak method: a problem-solving technique that is domain-independent, which is "universal" because it can be applied in any domain and "weak" because it can be very inefficient.

Utility: subjective value of a given outcome.

Visual agnosia: a condition in which there are great problems in recognising objects presented visually even though visual information reaches the visual cortex.

Visual cache: according to Logie, the part of the visuo-spatial sketchpad which stores information about visual form and colour.

Visuo-spatial sketchpad: a component of working memory which is involved in visual and spatial processing of information.

Weapon-focus effect: the finding that eyewitnesses pay so much attention to some crucial aspect of the situation (e.g., the weapon) that they tend to ignore other details.

Well defined problem: a problem that is fully defined in its problem statement, in that the nature of its initial state, goal state, and methods to be used to solve it are clearly laid out (see also ill defined problem).

Within-category similarity: the similarity of instances within a category to one another (see between-category similarity).

Word-fragment completion: a task on which participants try to think of a word based on a few letters (e.g., f _ ag t); a perceptual implicit test.

Word-length effect: the finding that word span is greater for short words than for long words.

Word meaning deafness: a condition in which there is a selective impairment of the ability to understand spoken (but not written) language.

Word-stem completion: a task on which participants try to think of a word based on its first few letters (e.g., fra); a perceptual implicit test.

Word superiority effect: a target letter is more readily detected in a letter string when the string forms a word than when it does not.

Working memory: according to Baddeley, a system consisting of three components: central executive, phonological loop, and visuo-spatial sketchpad; also used more generally to refer to a general-purpose limited-capacity system by other theorists (e.g., Just & Carpenter).

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