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COG101 WEEK 1 LECTURE

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COG101 WEEK 1 LECTURE: INTRODUCTION TO COGNITIVE SCIENCE
Topics:
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Agnosia
Amnesia
Aphasia
Autism
Delusions
Disorders of the self
• Dyslexia
• Modelling delusions with hypnosis
• Schizophrenia
• Specific language impairment (SLI)
Disorder:
 abnormal low performance level on some task (eg. Dyslexia)
 Unusual perceptual experience, OR an AVERAGE experience in the population (eg. Synaesthesia,
schizophrenia)
Acquired disorder: occurs in people that have brain damage or injury later in life as they lost the
ability to perform a particular skill normally. It can be sudden or transitional.
Developmental disorder: occurs in someone (child) that have never acquired a particular skill
normally in the first place and it transitions into adulthood.
Cognitive approach to understand disorders:
Levels of description
 BILOGICAL/NEURAL: genetic abnormality, damage to left temporal pole
 BEHAVIOURAL: what we can observe, e.g. poor word reading, unable to produce
long sentences
 COGNITIVE (middle spectrum): abnormal functioning of mental processes. e.g.
impairment in memory, language ability, belief evaluation.
 Provides an important explanatory link between brain and behaviour
 Explains what the biological approach is trying to achieve in FUNCTIONAL
terms (not structural)
COGNITIVE MODELS
The best theories are represented as EXPLICIT models, which specify the sequence of
processes involved in performing some cognitive task
Study cognitive disorders in
 CASE STUDIES: allows to look at rare condition, case studies are pure and selective
and helps to understanding the process in detail
 GROUP STUDIES: provide general impression of typical ways that the population
function
Across these two, there are also, experimental studies, longitudinal studies (mostly for
developmental cases), training
AIM OF COGNITIVE RESEACH:
[abnormal behaviour => models]
 Use selected data about abnormal cognitive ability to TEST and EXTEND or
DEVELOP theories about normal cognitive processing.
[models => abnormal behaviour]
 Use theories and models of cognitive processes to GUIDE assessment and
diagnosis, and the developmental of evaluation and intervention programs
 Use models of normal cognitive functioning to better UNDERSTAND and
EXPLAIN the patterns of cognitive abnormality
LEARNING FROM CASE STUDIES:
 Case example from acquired phonological dyslexia: disorder that is in some after a
brain injury
 Models of reading propose separate “sounding-out” and “whole word
recognition”
 Therefore, expect to see cases of SELECTIVE impairment.
 Led to identification of cases such as “Clive”: can sound familiar words but
can’t sound on non-sense words. He lost the ability to link sound with
words after the brain injury
Intensive study of cases (e.g. “Clive”) => refinement of theories of how reading works =>
develop treatment and remediation (of both acquired and developmental dyslexia)
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