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Cognitive Science

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  1. Introduction
  2. The human brain
  3. Mind and brain
    1. A generally accepted view of the mind
    2. The neural net profile
  4. Energy and information
  5. Information processing
  6. Attention
    1. Definition
    2. Early conceptualizations of attention
    3. Selective attention
    4. Attention capacity
    5. Optimal performance
    6. Sustained attention
  7. Forms od representations
  8. Sensation and perception
  9. Memory systems
  10. Conclusion
  11. Basic references

The fields relevant to this overview are a part of the interdisciplinary studies of cognitive science, which includes anthropology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, psycholinguistics, artificial intelligence and computational science, and neuroscience. Each of these disciplines provides an important and unique perspective on how to understand the human psyche. Biological, psychodynamic, and social psychiatry can find a common home and language within cognitive science. The common divisions of nature versus nurture and biology versus psychology disappear when the origins of mental processes are examined.

[...] The cooperative communication of infant-caregiver attachments is thought to provide the building blocks for emotional development as well as for abstract reasoning and cognitive abilities. The patterns of interaction between child and caregiver have a direct impact on the way the brain develops and the mind of the child functions. Thus, cognitive processes need to be considered as the way in which the mind emerges from within the genetic, physiological, and experiential factors that shape the development and maintenance of mental function. [...]

[...] More recent views have considered the concept of general cognitive resource capacity, which limits the stimuli processed. These perspectives have been applied to understanding various psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Selective Attention One aspect of attention is that it focuses a metaphorical spotlight on external stimuli or internal mental representations. In Broadbent's conceptualization, selectivity has three dimensions: filtering, focusing on specific attributes (e.g., large squares versus small squares); categorizing, based on stimulus class (e.g., attending to letters in whatever script they are written); and pigeonholing, reducing perceptual information needed to place a stimulus into a specified category (e.g., using only long hair to classify individuals as female). [...]

[...] Cognitive processes that can group bits of information into large chunks (chunking) can increase the capacity of working memory by making each unit more information-rich. Representations are then processed and placed within long-term memory where they can be retrieved for future use. A process called cortical consolidation is thought to involve some form of rehearsal and perhaps rapid eye movement sleep in which items in long-term memory are further processed and placed within permanent memory storage. ATTENTION Attention is the process that controls the flow of information processing. [...]

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