ThinkingThe frontal lobes of the brain areinvolved in thinking.Thinking is a cognitive process in whichthe brain uses information fromsenses, emotions and memory to createand manipulate mentalrepresentations, such asconcepts, images, schemas and scripts.
We will examine different building blocks ofcognition and the first ones are calledconcepts.The ability to categorize experiences andcertain objects into different mentalcategories and give them a label is one ofthe most basic features of thinking.The mental categories that we form this wayare called concepts. Concepts areunderstandings of different items or ideasretained into one’s mind from experience.
For example for the word power there are at least 5 different concepts, here are some examples: 1) An ability to do or act 2) Strength 3) A person or a thing having authority 4) A continuous multiplication of a number by itself 5) An electricity supply
Concepts can be mental representations for different items or ideas such as: Classes of objects: a table or a chair for example Activities: birthday party, a wedding Living organisms: animals, cat, dog Features of something: small, big Practices: how to wash your hands, how to tie your shoe laces It is difficult to observe concepts because they are mental structures but there are two ways of observing them indirectly. The first one is that you can study ones reactions to certain stimuli and see how many people react in the same way to different concepts. And the other one is to observe the brain activity.
Two kinds of concepts Natural concepts-”Mental representations of objects and events drawn fromour direct experience”-inprecise mental categories-based on prototypes Artificial concepts-”Concepts defined by rules, such as word definitions andmathematical formulas”-represent precisely defined ideas or abstractions ratherthan concrete objects
Concept hierarchies-”Levels of concepts, from most general to mostspecific, in which a more general level includesmore specific concepts” You organise declartive memory General to specific Concepts are arranged in hierarchy levels- For example animal – bird – blackbird Linked to many different concepts
Culture, concepts and thought Concepts are different in different cultures People think differently Everyone forms concepts
SchemasSchema can be defined as a cluster of relatedconcepts that provides a framework for thinkingabout objects, events, ideas, or even emotions.ExpectationsMaking inferences(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzbRpMlEHzM)HumorScripts/ event schemas
ImageryWhat shape are a German shepherd’sears?
Visual ThinkingVisual imagery adds complexity andrichness to our thinking, as do imagesthat involve the other senses(sound, taste, smell, touch)Cognitive map- a cognitiverepresentation of physical spaceCultural influences on cognitive maps
Thought and the brainEvent-related potentials are EEG patternsassociated with particular stimuliWith PET and MRI it is possible to find outwhich parts of the brain become activeduring various mental tasksVisual imagery drawn from memory arisesfrom the visual cortex, auditory memoryfrom auditory cortex etc
Prefrontal cortex takes on three different tasks:1.Keeping track of the episode2.Understanding the context3.Responding to a specific stimulus
Intuition...or sometimes called „common sense“allows us unconsciously to addemotional „hunches“ to our decisions inthe form of information about pastrewards and punishmentsWhen people make decisions theydraw on feelings as well as reason
What abilities do good thinkers possess?“Good thinkers not only have arepertoire of effectivestrategies, called algorithms andheuristics, they also know how toavoid the common impediments toproblem solving and decisionmaking.”
Problem solving1. Identifying the problem good problem solvers consider all the possibilities before committing to one solution2. Selecting strategy Algorithms =problem solving procedures of formulas that guarantee a correct outcome, if correctly applied. Designed formulas or procedures to solve particular kinds of problems. Step-by-step procedure that leads directly from the problem to solution
Does not work if…values are subjectivetoo many unknownstoo complex problems
Heuristics= Cognitive strategies or ”rules ofthumb” used as shortcuts to solvecomplex mental tasks. Does notguarantee a correct solution.require no specialized knowledge.
Heuristic strategies working backward-solving problem from finish to start searching for analogies-to solve problem by associating it with sametype of problem that it previously solved Braking a big problem into smaller problems
Obstacles to problem solvingKnowing different styles of strategies isessential to problem solving.Different situations require different methods.
Mental Set ”The tendency to respond to a new problemin the manner used for a previous problem. ”For example: when your computer shows somekind of error, you try to solve the problem byrestarting the computer.Functional-fixedness”The inability to perceive a new use for anobject associated with the different purpose.”Functional-fixedness is a form of mental set.In other words, this is when a use of familiarobjects becomes so fixed that you cannotthink any alternative ways of using it.
Self-imposed limitationsYou built up your own limitations, whensolving a problem.To illustrate this phenomenon, lets makea short test;
The 5 most common causes of poor judgment:1. The Confirmation Bias Ignoring and finding fault with information that doesn’t fit ones opinions Seeking information which one can agree with Common for everyone every once in a while, especially on issues we hold strong opinions on
2. The Hindsight Bias A.K.A. “I-knew-it-all-along effect” (Fischhoff, 1975; Hawkins & Hastie, 1990) After an event has occurred, people overestimate themselves by claiming to have been able to predict the past Can potentially flaw judgment of historians, jurors etc.
3. The Anchoring Bias A flawed evaluation of a problem Tendency of estimating problems based on completely unrelated quantities Based on Kahneman & Tversky´s experiment
4. The Representativeness Bias Derives from people’s prejudices Risk of underestimating diversity of individual cases and the complexity of human beings5. The Availability Bias People’s tendency to use examples from memory to judge probabilities of events
How to become a genius?Genius has to have a lot of imaginationRequires high knowledge on their ownfield
Five main things geniuses are Independent Intensely interested in a problem Willing to restructure the problem Preference for complexity A need for stimulating interactionImportance of high IQ: Able to become geniuswith low IQ, they are called savants. Their low IQdecreases creativity but they might have highdevelop skills.High IQ doesn’t mean that you will becomegenius, it just helps on it.Intelligence and creativity are whole separateabilities.