• Cog-A: Resolving Ambiguities: Studies Across Cognition

    (Tanya Scott, College at Staten Island)

    This seminar is availabel to all students. it is intended for those interested in cognitive processes of various kinds

    The objective of various cognitive mechanisms is to interpret the world in one and one way only (give it only one meaning) when the reality presents us with options for interpretations.  Cognitive processes for discussion: Attention (1 lecture); Perception (2 lectures); Memory (1 lecture); Language (conceptual knowledge; mental lexicon, linguistics: 2 lectures)

    Theses
    (a) Perception is impossible without attention, Memory is impossible without perception> Memory is knowledge. Language and lexical knowledge is part of knowledge. Cognitive processes are interrelated (under a stronger view: cognitive processes are all aimed at the same goal; thus differentiation is vague and/or superficial). 
    (b) All input information represents polysemy: basic examples from all of the above (perception, attention, language):  Rat-Man, Monkey Business, False Memory, Semantic and Grammar ambiguities

    Lecture 1: Cognition uses several mechanisms to make sense of the surroundings. There are ways of studying how the mind processes input information.

    Lectures 2 and 3: PERCEPTION: Ambiguous Figures;  Ambiguous perception: Ambiguous Figures (Gestalt principles vs. Cognitive Science advancement) take-home experiment : Take the experiment (TBD) describe your own results and conclusions

    Lecture 3:  PERCEPTION: Illusions “Dessert” Discussion; Visual and Audio Illusions: Mach Bands, Ponzo Illusion, Phonological Illusions;  “What about this damned dress?"  Assignment: Read two different studies on the explanation of the “dress” illusion: physiological (neuroscience and psychological: cognitive science)

    Lecture 4: ATTENTION: The Monkey Business; Inattentional and Change blindness: insensitivity to changes in the environment as a part of making sense of the world around us and keeping it stable. Special Treat: movie change blindness bloopers (both US and Russian video excerpts are available) Assignment: attention experiment – and connecting to memory

    Lecture 5: MEMORY: false recall and recognition: semantic priming and recognition of ambiguous ietms; Classic False Memory Experiment;  Decreased Recall of Polysemantic items on the list;  Demonstration and assignment: Experiment: recall of ambiguous lexical items (multilingual option available).

    Lecture 6: LINGUISTICS: Semantic Ambiguities Resolution

    READING: Pinker, S. “The language instinct”;  “Lexical Ambiguity”, Small, Cottrell, and Tanenhaus (eds.) Selected chapter readings

    • Note: Lectures 5 and 6 are connected and look at the same issue from different approaches: cognitive psychology and linguistics.

    Lecture 7:  LINGUISTICS: Structural Grammar Ambiguities;  Discussion of Classical Structural Constituent Ambiguities;  Linguistic Analysis and Explanations;  Explanations in the View of other non-linguistic related cognitive processes: unifying approaches to studies of ambiguity resolution

    Lecture 8: CONCLUSIONS: Cognitive Dissonance: beyond Festinger

    Workshop type lecture: Discussion of Cognitive Dissonance in the view of all the lectures: extending from Social Personality approach to Cognitive Science in general.