Psychology Homework

Psychology Homework

1. Most current studies aimed at understanding human memory are conducted within a framework known as information-processing theory. This approach makes use of modern computer science and related fields to provide models that help psychologists understand the processes involved in memory. The general principles of the information processing approach to memory include the notion that memory involves three distinct processes. The first process, encoding, is the process of transforming information into a form that can be stored in memory. The second process, storage, is the process of keeping or maintaining information in memory. The final process, retrieval, is the process of bringing to mind information that has been stored in the memory (p.168). Two influential theorists concerning the information-processing theory are Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin. They characterized memory as three different, interacting memory systems: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Sensory memory is the memory system that holds information from the senses for a period of time ranging from only a fraction of a second to about 2 seconds. Sensory memory can take in an enormous amount of information, but it can only hold on to it for a very brief period of time (p.169).

Short-term memory is the component of the memory system that holds about seven (from five to nine) items for less than 30 seconds without rehearsal; also called the working memory. When short-term memory is filled to capacity, displacement can occur. In displacement, each new incoming item pushes out an existing item, which is then forgotten (p.170). Long-term memory (LTM) is the memory system with a virtually unlimited capacity that contains vast stores of a person’s permanent or relatively permanent memories. There are no known limits to the storage capacity of this memory system, and long-term memories can persist for years, some of them for a lifetime. Information in long-term memory is usually stored in semantic form, although visual images, sounds, and odors can be stored there as well (p.174).

2. The analogy heuristic involves comparing a problem to others you have experienced in the past. The idea is that if a particular strategy worked with similar problems in the past, it will be effective for solving a new one. Another heuristic that is effective for solving some problems is working backward, sometimes called the backward search. This approach starts with the solution, a known condition, and works back through the problem. Once the backward search has revealed the steps to be taken and their order, the problem can be solved (p.207). Another popular heuristic strategy is means-end analysis, in which the current position is compared with a desired goal, and a series of steps are formulated and then taken to close the gap between the two. When you adopt a heuristic strategy, it may or may not lead to a correct solution. By contrast, the algorithm is a problem-solving strategy that always lead to a correct solution if it is applied appropriately (p.208).

3.Research suggests that there are both advantages and disadvantages to learning two languages early in life. One of the pluses is that, among preschool and school-age children, bilingualism, fluency in at least two languages, is associated with better executive control skills on language tasks. Executive control skills enable bilingual children to suppress impulsive responses to verbal tasks and, as a result, think more carefully about them. Thus, executive control skills are important in learning to read and write. On the downside, even in adulthood, bilingualism is sometimes associated with decreased efficiency in memory tasks involving words. However, bilinguals appear to develop compensatory strategies that allow them to make up these inefficiencies. Consequently, they often perform such tasks as accurately as monolinguals, though they may respond more slowly. Researchers have found that there is no age at which it is impossible to learn a new language.

While it is true that those who begin earlier reach higher levels of proficiency, age is not the only determining factor (p.214). There is one clear advantage to learning two languages earlier in life, however. People who are younger when they learn a new language are far more likely to be able to speak with an appropriate accent. One reason for this difference between early and late language learners may have to do with slight variations in neural processing in Broca’s area, the area of the brain that controls speech production. Research suggests that bilinguals who learned a second language early rely on the same patch of tissue in Broca’s area for both of the languages they speak. In those who learned a second language at an older age, two different sections of Broca’s are are active while they are performing language tasks (p.215).

4. Charles Spearman observed that people who are bright in one area are usually bright in other areas as well. In other words, they tend to be generally intelligent. Spearman came to believe that intelligence is composed of a general ability that underlies all intellectual functions. Spearman concluded that intelligence tests tap this g factor, or general intelligence, and a number of s factors, or specific intellectual abilities. Spearman’s influence can be seen in those intelligence tests, such as the Stanford-Binet, that yield one IQ score to indicate the level of general intelligence. Howard Gardner also denies the existence of a g factor. Instead, he proposes a theory of multiple intelligences that includes eight important forms of intelligence, or frames of mind.

The eight frames of mind are linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. In recent years, he has proposed a ninth type of intelligence, one that he calls existential intelligence, deals with the spiritual realm and enables us to contemplate the meaning of life. He first developed his theory by studying patients with different types of brain damage that affect some forms of intelligence but leaves other intact. The most controversial aspect of Gardner’s theory is his view that all forms of intelligence are of equal importance. In fact, different cultures assign varying degrees of importance to the types of intelligence (p.216-217).

5. I would perform a fixed-ratio (FR) schedule, in which a reinforcer is given after a fixed number of correct, non reinforced responses. So, if my dog knew that after rolling over correctly ten times without getting reinforced meant that she would get a reinforced after those ten times, she would then learn that after rolling over ten times correctly, she would be reinforced (p.147). In fixed-rate schedules response rates are very high, and the higher the ratio, the more resistant to extinction (p.148).

6. Psycholinguistics is the study of how language is acquired, produced, and used and how the sounds and symbols of language are translated into meaning. Psycholinguists use specific terms for each of the five basic components of language. The smaller units of sound in a spoken language-such as b or s in English-are known as phonemes. Three phonemes together form the sound of the word cat: c (which sounds like k), a, and t. Combinations of letters that form particular sounds are also phonemes, such as the th in the and the ch in child. The same phoneme may be represented by different letters in different words; this occurs with the a in stay and the ei in sleigh. And the same letter can serve as different phonemes. This letter a, for example, is sounded as four different phonemes in day, cap, watch, and law. Morphemes are the smallest units of meaning in a language. A few single phonemes serve as morphemes, such as the article a and the personal pronoun I.

The ending -s gives a plural meaning to a word and is thus a morpheme in English. Many words in English are single morphemes-book, word, learn, reason, and so on. In addition to root words, morphemes may be prefixes (such as re- in relearn) or suffixes (such as -ed to show past tense, as in learned). The single morpheme reason becomes a dual morpheme in reasonable. The morpheme book (singular) become two morphemes in books (plural). Syntax is the aspect of grammar that specifies the rules for arranging and combining words to form phrases and sentences. The rules of word order, syntax, differ from one language to another. For example, an important rule of syntax in English is that adjectives usually come before nouns. So English speakers refer to the residence of the U.S. president as “the White House.”

In Spanish, in contrast, the noun usually comes before the advective, and Spanish speakers say “la Casa Blanca,” or “the House White.” Semantics refers to the meaning derived from morphemes, words, and sentences. The same word can have different meanings depending on how it is used in sentences: “I don’t mind.” “Mind your manners.” “He has lost his mind.” Or consider another example: “Loving to read, the young girl read three books last week.” Here, the word read is pronounced two different ways, and in one case, is the past tense. Pragmatics, is the term psycholinguists use to refer to aspects of language such as intonation, the rising and falling patterns that are used to express meaning. For example, think about how you would say the single word cookie to express each of the following meanings: “Do you want a cookie?” or “What a delicious looking cookie!” or “That’s a cookie.” The subtle differences reflect your knowledge of the pragmatic rules of English (P.210-211).

7. An intelligence test is a measure of general intellectual ability. An individual’s score is determined by how his responses compare to others of his or her age. Thus, intelligence tests are norm-referenced. All psychological tests, including all the various types of tests that measure cognitive ability, are judged according to the same criteria.They must provide consistent results. An intelligence test must have reliability; the test must consistently yield nearly the same score when the same person is tested and then retested on the same test or an alternative form of the test. The higher the correlation between the two scores, the more reliable the test. Tests can be highly reliable but worthless if they are not valid. Validity is the ability or power of a test to measure what it is intended to measure. Once a test is proven to be valid or reliable, the next requirement is norm-referenced standardization. There must be standard procedures for administering and scoring the test.

Exactly the same directions must be given, whether written or oral, and the same amount of time must be allowed for every test taker. But even more important, standardization means establishing norms, age-based averages, by which all scores are interpreted. A test is standardized by administering it to a large sample of people who are representative of those who will be taking the test in the future. The group’s score are analyzed, and then the average score, standard deviation, percentile rankings, and other measures are computed. These comparative scores become the norms used as the standard against which all other scores on that test are measured. Reliability, validity, and standardization are especially important with regard to intelligence tests because the kinds of decisions that are sometimes based on intelligence test scores can have grave consequences.

For example, a few years ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that is unconstitutional to execute individuals who have mental retardation. Thus, a psychologist who is charged with the responsibility of administering an intelligence test to a person who will or will not be subject to the death penalty at least partly on the basis of his or her intelligence test score must ensure that the test given is reliable and valid and has been properly standardized. Likewise, children’s scores on these tests are often used to place them in special school programs that, in a very real sense, change the course of their lives for years to come. In fact, such a goal was the impetus for the development of the first standardized intelligence test (p.219).

8. In memory loss there are two broad categories that involves this kind of memory loss, amnesia and dementia. Amnesia is a partial or complete loss of memory due to loss of consciousness, brain damage, or some psychological cause. Unlike the memory disorders that are experienced by some older adults, amnesia can be experienced at any age. In some cases, amnesia takes the form of an inability to store new information. This kind of amnesia is known as anterograde amnesia. Anterograde amnesia is the inability to form long-term memories of events occurring after a brain injury or brain surgery, although memories formed before the trauma are usually intact and short-term memory is unaffected. Some individuals with amnesia can form new memories, but they cannot remember the past, a disorder known as retrograde amnesia.

Retrograde amnesia is a loss of memory for experiences that occurred shortly before a loss of consciousness. These people often lack knowledge of themselves and/or the events surrounding the development of their memory loss. It is not unusual for a person to have both retrograde and anterograde amnesia with regard to the events that immediately preceded and followed a serious car crash or other traumatic event (p. 189). Another form of memory loss is dementia. Dementia is a state of mental deterioration characterized by impaired memory and intellect and by altered personality and behavior.

Dementia can result from such conditions as cerebral arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries in the brain), chronic alcoholism, and irreversible damage by a small series of strokes. Dementia is most common among older adults. However, diseases such as HIV/AIDS can cause dementia to develop in a younger person as well. About 50 to 60% of all cases of dementia result from Alzheimer’s disease. This is a progressive deterioration of intellect and personality that results from widespread degeneration of brain cells (p.190).

9. People reconstruct memories, piecing them together using schemas to organize fragments of information, a process that has both advantages and disadvantages. Information that fits with preexisting schemas can be efficiently remembered, but schemas can also introduce distortions into memory. Sir Frederick Bartlett’s research demonstrated how reconstructive processing changes memory over time (p.178). Most memories do not include source information, so memories for sources must be reconstructed. Source monitoring results in encoding of source memories. Flashbulb memories are different from others in that they always include source information, although the source information is subject to reconstruction changes over time (p.179). Autobiographical memories are reconstructed memories that include factual, emotional, and interpretive elements. They are subject to positive bias (p.180).

10. Bandura suspected that aggression and violence on television programs, including cartoons, tend to increase aggressive behavior in children. In several classic experiments, Bandura demonstrated how children are influenced by exposure to aggressive models. One study involved three groups of preschoolers. Children in one group individually observed an adult model punching, kicking, and hitting a 5-foot, inflated plastic “Bobo Doll” with a mallet, while uttering aggressive phrases. Children in the second group observed a nonaggressive model who ignored the Bobo Doll and sat quietly assembling Tinker Toys.

The children in the control group were placed in the same setting with no adult present. Later, each child was observed through a one-way mirror. Those children exposed to the aggressive model imitated much of the aggression and also engaged in significantly more nonimitative aggression than did children in either of the other groups. The group that observed the nonaggressive model showed less aggressive behavior than the control group. The researchers concluded that “of the three experimental conditions, exposure to humans on film portraying aggression was the most influential in eliciting and shaping aggressive behavior (p. 158-159).

11. Experiencing hunger pangs when you smell your favorite food is an example of classic conditioning.Your stomach rumbles when you smell your favorite food because smell and taste are so closely linked that food odors, functioning as conditioned stimuli, can actually make you think you are hungry even if you have just finished a large meal. The conditioned stimulus (CS) would be the presence of the smell of your favorite food which brings about the unconditioned stimulus (US) hunger pangs. Because humans do not need to be taught to be hungry for food, the act of feeling hungry would be the unconditioned response (UR). The conditioned response (CR) would be knowing that you will get hungry when you smell your favorite food (p.143).

12. Critics argue that therapists using hypnosis and guided imagery to help their patients recover repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse are actually implanting false memories in those patients. They are especially critical of claims of recovered memories in the first three years of life, because the hippocampus and areas of the cortex are not well developed enough to store long-term memories. Therapists who use these techniques believe that a number of psychological problems can be treated successfully by helping patients recover repressed memories of sexual abuse. These therapists believe that a process called repression, a form of motivated forgetting, can cause traumatic memories to be so deeply buried in an individual’s unconscious mind that he or she has lost all awareness of them (p.192-193).

13. Writing notes, making lists, writing on a calendar, or keeping an appointment book is often more reliable and accurate than trusting to memory. But if you need information at some unpredictable moment when you don’t have aids handy, several mnemonics, or memory devices, and study strategies have developed over the years to aid memory. Mnemonics, or rhymes are a common aid to remembering material that otherwise might be difficult to recall. As a child, learning to recite “i over e except after c” when you were trying to spell a word containing that vowel combination is an example of a mnemonic.

The method of loci is a mnemonic device that be used to when you want to remember a list of items such as a grocery list. Select a familiar place – your home, for example – and simply associate the items to be remembered with locations there. For example, visualize the first item you want to remember in its place on the driveway, the second in the garage, and the third at the front door, and so on until you have associated the item you want to remember with a specific location. Overlearning is another method of improving memory. Overlearning is practicing or studying material beyond the point where it can be repeated once without error. It makes material more resistant to forgetting (p.173).

14. Bandura proposed that four processed determine whether observational learning will occur: Attention: The observer must attend to the model. Retention: The observer must store information about the model’s behavior in memory. Reproduction: The observer must be physically and cognitively capable of performing the behavior to learn it. In other words, no matter how much time you devote to watching Serena Williams play tennis or listening to Beyonce sing, you won’t be able to acquire skills like these unless you possess talents that are equal to theirs. Reinforcement: Ultimately, to exhibit a behavior learned through observation, an observer must be motivated to practice and perform the behavior on his own (p.156).

15. In some cases, we are hampered in our efforts to solve problems in daily life because of functional fixedness, the failure to use familiar objects in novel ways to solve problems. Objects you use everyday such as, tools, utensils, and other equipment are what help you perform certain functions. Although, you probably do not think to use the normal functions of such objects in new and creative ways. Suppose you wanted a cup of coffee, but the glass pot for you coffeemaker was broken. If you suffered from functional fixedness, you might come to the conclusion that there was nothing you could do to solve the problem at that moment. But, rather than thinking about the object you don’t have, think about the function that it needs to perform. Another impediment to problem solving is mental set, the tendency to continue to use the same old method even though another approach might be better.

Perhaps you hit on a way to solve a problem once in the past and continue to use the same technique in similar situations, even though it it not highly effective of efficient. The cognitive process that underlies both functional fixedness and mental set is confirmation bias, the tendency to selectively pay attention to information that concerns preexisting beliefs and ignore data that contradict them. For example, when faced with an operating system “crash,” most computer users know that the first line of defense is to reboot. Every time rebooting solve the problem, confirmation bias in favor of rebooting as a solution for computer problems becomes stronger. As a result, when a problem arises that proves resistant to rebooting, most of us try rebooting a few more times before we confront the reality that rebooting isn’t going to solve the problem (p.209).

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