Cognition

What is Cognition?

Cognitive Psychology

This short animation sings the praises of cognitive psychology. Or does it? Several of the comments on the clips YouTube page say that while they found the video funny, it wouldn’t help them study for their exams. Is there anything to be learned about cognitive psychology from this video, other than that the creator really likes it? Is there anything that can be learned from the visuals the creator chose?

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Cognitive Psychology Godfathers

In this student project, a voice over discusses Albert Bandura, Walter Mischel, the BoBo Doll Experiment, the Marshmallow Experiment, and “words to know” over a montage of pictures. Do you agree that these are the “godfathers” of cognitive psychology? If you were making a list of the most important psychologists to study in the field of cognitive psychology, who would you include?

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Cognitive Psychology Student Project

Another student project, this clip visually discusses the multi-store model, the working memory model, and several concepts in cognitive psychology. Do you have a better understanding of the concepts discussed after watching the video? Without using sound, how might you improve upon this video to maximize the amount of information being relayed?

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Sherlock Holmes – A Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet is the first story to feature the iconic detective Sherlock Holmes. In this clip, he is shown inspecting the scene of a murder. After a careful yet brief assessment of the situation, he is able to tell the police a great deal of information about the perpetrator. Holmes’ deductive feats are a remarkably complex mental act. What is deductive reasoning? What is inductive reasoning? Does Holmes use both in this scene? How?

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The Frontal Lobes: Cognition and Awareness

This clip explains the importance of the frontal lobe in human functioning, and covers brain function, diagnostic assessment, cognitive function, evolution, and comparative behavior. We are introduced to Bill Mizall, who had a stroke caused by an aneurism in his frontal lobe. One of the biggest effects of this condition is that Bill has lost the ability to problem solve. What kind of effects would you expect if the aneurism had occurred in the parietal, occipital, or temporal lobes?

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Charlie Rose – Stephen Hawking

Despite being almost completely paralyzed by ALS, Stephen Hawking remains one of the world’s foremost theoretical physicists and has contributed greatly to our understanding of the universe. Hawking has suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease since the age of 13, and has almost no control over his body. What does Stephen Hawking’s story say about the power of thought and cognition?

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Concepts and Imagery

The Uncanny Valley

This “Science of YouTube” video explains “the uncanny valley”. This theory, first introduced by Masahiro Mori in 1970, proposes that things that look and act too much like humans can seem creepy. The clip shows some familiar robots from films and animation. How does our brain perceive each of these images? Why is it that we have a different reaction to each of them? How do some of the more advanced creations conflict with our mental image of what a human is?

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Mental Imagery

This clip presents a lecture on what eye-tracking reveals about mental imagery. It was presented at conferences and published in scientific journals. The scientists explain that mental images are something we experience when we think about things – they are pictures in our minds. What are your thoughts about the debate discussed here? What format do these mental representations have?

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Tricks of the Eye

This video presents several “tricks of the eye,” beginning with the idea that if words are scrambled, as long as the first and last letter of each word remains the same, you will still be able to read it. It follows with a slide presenting the Stroop effect, then several optical illusions. What is the Stroop effect? Were you able to read all of the text at the beginning of the video?

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What is Lymbix

Lymbix is developing a database and suite of tools allowing companies to assess the connotative meanings of incoming and outgoing messages, live tweets on Twitter, and any piece of writing. In this add, Jack is fired because he could not communicate clearly with his customers. What is the difference between denotative and connotative meaning? Is there anything to be learned by a situation where a computer understands meaning better than a person?

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Problem Solving

Calculating Prodigy Shakuntala Devi

Shakuntala Devi, who is known as the human calculator and is able to make complex calculations in her head within seconds, is interviewed by Russia Today. She once set a world record for mental calculation by multiplying two 13-digit numbers – 7,686,369,774,870 times 2,465,099,745,779 – in her head, giving the answer in 28 seconds. (The answer is 18,947,668,104,042,434,089,403,730.) What do problem solving skills like hers say about the power of the human brain?

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McGyver Mastercard

In this Mastercard commercial from the “Priceless” campaign, action television character MacGyver escapes using a car air freshener. He uses a tube sock to slide down a line, and starts a stalled truck with a paper clip, ballpoint pen, rubber band, tweezers, nasal spray, and turkey baster. How do the actions of television character MacGyver relate to the concept of functional fixedness?

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The Tower of Hanoi

This clip is a home video of a man solving a 6-ring Tower of Hanoi problem at the Haifa Science Museum. (Many other videos of how to solve this problem with up to 10 rings can be found on YouTube.) How could someone solve the tower of Hanoi problem strategically? Judging from what you have seen in the video clip, how would you explain the process to a friend who is unfamiliar with the Tower of Hanoi?

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Rachel Maddow Football Analogy

In this clip from the Rachel Maddow Show, she uses a football analogy to discuss the (at the time) upcoming presidential election. If you were to write out this analogy, how would you do so? Are there multiple analogies at play within the larger one? Does this analogy make understanding the situation easier? Why is the search for analogies a major heuristic for solving problems?

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The River-Crossing Problem

Robin Wilson, Gresham Professor of Geometry, gives a quick run-through of the origins of the river-cross problem and the basis of how to solve it. Many more explanations of various puzzles can be found on the Gresham College website. How do you get the fox, the goose, and the bag of corn across the river without any of them being eaten? Were the rules of means-end analysis applied to the solving of this problem?

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The Four Cube Problem

Another presentation by Robin Wilson, Gresham Professor of Geometry, this clip explains the four cube problem and how to solve it. Many more explanations of various puzzles can be found on the Gresham College website. How might solving a problem like this relate to the concepts of insight and trial and error? What is the Gestalt approach to problem solving?

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AOL Anagrams

In this promotional video for America Online (AOL), a group of actors perform skits based on anagrams of the company’s name. These anagrams include “eel in macaroni,” “I’m in race alone,” and “nice lo mein aar.” Can you think of any other possibilities? Can you come up with any interesting anagrams for “Cengage Learning”? How might you act them out?

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How To Connect/Solve the 9 Dots Problem

This short demonstration starts by several incorrect attempts to solve the classic “9 dots” problem, before finally showing one of the two possible correct answers. What is the other way to solve this problem? What is an unnecessary constraint and how does it relate to solving this problem?

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Reasoning and Decision Making

TutoringZone Lottery

A tutor delivers a short lecture on the concept of expected value. His first example uses a deck of cards. He does the same for the guessing penalty for standardized tests and for playing the lottery. The tutor ends the video with a remark: “The lottery is just a tax on people who are bad at math.” What is the meaning of his remark? In the case of lottery players, why do you think people continue to play despite negative expected value?

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Ransom: The Risky Decision

In the movie Ransom, starring Mel Gibson, his character makes a risky decision – he decides not to pay the ransom to his son’s kidnappers, but instead offer it as a reward to anyone who turns them in. Risky decision making involves making choices under conditions of uncertainty. What are some of the ways you can decide whether or not to make a risky decision?

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eBay Ratings: Largely Positive Records and Negative Feedback

An eBay customer scans the site for a laptop. Although the seller has a 98.3% positive feedback rating, there were twenty instances of negative feedback in the last month. To find the negative feedback left by buyers, any potential buyers will have to wade through multiple pages of positive feedback. It is argued that eBay uses this tactic, much like the availability heuristic, to manipulate buying attitudes and bidding behavior. How does eBay’s feedback system resemble the availability heuristic? What other examples of the availability heuristic have you encountered in your own life?

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$136 000 Roulette Gamble

In April 2004, Ashley Revell plopped down his entire life savings on a roulette table at the Plaza casino in downtown Las Vegas. This video clip is from the reality series that followed Ashley’s adventure. $136,000 was placed on Red, and the roulette ball stopped spinning on Red 7. According to the gambler’s fallacy, which do you predict will be the next roulette bet by those in the crowd? What equipment at most roulette tables encourages the gambler’s fallacy? How is the gambler’s fallacy demonstrated in other games of chance?

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Hurricane Destruction

This short clip demonstrates the destructive power of hurricanes. Far more people die every year from causes such as asthma, accidental falls, and tuberculosis, yet people still believe they are more likely to be killed in a hurricane. How does media coverage affect perceptions of the frequency of natural disasters?

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