Author Archives: Tyler Metros

Deductive Reasoning Vs. Inductive Reasoning

To define them:

* Deductive reasoning is defined as logical process in which a conclusion is based on the concordance of multiple premises that are generally assumed to be true. This is sometimes referred to as top-down logic.

* Inductive reasoning is defined as reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying strong evidence for the truth of the conclusion. This is sometimes called bottom-up logic.

Philosophy plays a major role in the origins of both of these styles of reasoning. The history stretches back as far as to the iconic philosopher of ancient Greece, Aristotle.Although confusing, much thought has been dedicated to understanding these two concepts and their roles in our daily lives, as well as their neurological bases.

A flaw of inductive reasoning is that it does not guarantee for statements to be true, but it is the in the basis of much of human cognition. It is a matter of hypothesis selection based upon certain criteria of relevance. Inductive reasoning is oftentimes linked to heuristics and most definitely the Representative Heuristic, which is a heuristic that tempts one to us to judge something entirely off of how many features it has in common with something else. This can be very faulty and is definitely not necessarily true. In my own life, I very frequently fall for the lure of inductive reasoning and see that my judgment may have been valid, but certainly was not true, like in the case of when I tried to befriend someone many years ago that I felt sorry for. They struck me as friendly, but ended up being very horrible in the end and I have not spoken to them in years. Such is inductive reasoning – associating something with a characteristic or group because it appears to resemble them, but in truth it isn’t part of them.

There are different types of syllogisms that exist that are used to study reasoning. Such examples are categorical syllogisms and conditional syllogisms. Categorical syllogisms showcase premises and conclusions, demonstrating the correlations between categories, and making use of quantifiers such as “all,” “none,” or “some.” Contrasting, with conditional syllogisms, the first premise has the form “if/then.” Many people have a hard time understanding the difference between truth and validity. Just because something is valid does not make it true and just because something is true does not make it valid. These two things are often confused, being used interchangeably, when they are not truly mutual.
Rationality itself is a very complicated thing that few people truly understand. “Why is the sky blue?” some ask, but there are the overwhelming majority that just don’t care why it is blue, and there are some that will claim it is green. In terms of decision making, either deductive reasoning or inductive reasoning can be used. It is probably better to use deductive reasoning though. Cognitive psychologists have divided the decision making process into five tasks: Set or revise goals, gather information, make plans, structure the decision, and the final selection. This is a complex task, but can be aided with the use of utility theory. Expected utility theory refers to the hypothesis that if humans have the relevant information, we will make decisions in a rational way and will chose options that result in the maximum possible expected utility. Benefits and costs are also factors that determine our decision making.
In my own life, I have used both forms of reasoning many times. An example of using deductive reasoning would be when I began signing up for classes this summer. I took a physiology class due to a requirement in my major. Naturally, with it being a biology class,I assumed that it would be very hard. “All biology classes are hard. Physiology is a biology class. Therefore, it must be hard…” In this case, it was both valid and true, because yes, the CLASS IS VERY HARD!!!!!! As a gay man, an example of inductive reasoning in my life was when I first met my boyfriend and mistook him for straight when in fact, he is gay. He is very masculine and handsome, not being feminine acting or sounding at all. He is athletic and has a strong German accent and is very rugged in his features, being 6’5 in height and fairly muscular. I was instantly attracted to him, but I shot down my own hopes by telling myself “He’s gotta be straight…” To my shock later on, I found out quite the contrary and that he liked me back… I, myself, am not feminine or stereotypically gay acting at all, so I should’ve known better, but I didn’t. Using the representative heuristic, I made that initial error in judgement, but it turned out that despite strongly resembling a straight guy, he is gay… and European 😉

References
Wede, J. (2017) Lesson 14: Reasoning and Decision Making. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site:
Goldstein, B. Sensation and Perception. 1980.

Episodic and Semantic Memories

Episodic memories and semantic memories are different types of memories. The former refers to events we participated in and are capable of being something as extravagant  as one’s own wedding or high school graduation, but may also be as forgettable as what one ate for dinner two weeks ago on a Friday evening. To summarize, episodic memories are an autobiographical recollection of one’s own  experiences which did occur upon any place or time. Researchers theorize that these memories are held within a temporal manner inside the brain. They are, in general, facts about ourselves that we can recall.

Semantic memories are the opposite… They are facts about the world around us. General knowledge such as the sky is blue and 2 + 2 = 4, etc.

It is believed that in the medial temporal lobe is where the episodic memories are created and stored (within the hippocampus), but evidence also suggests that the pr-frontal cortex plays an important role as well, believed to be such because of experiments showing that when it is damaged, episodic memories are not created as easily.

It is not yet known for how long memories are stored within the hippocampus. Some say for forever, laying dormant, but others feel that the storage is only temporary and that they are erased to make room for new memories (with only the one’s of significance being stored forever). Notoriously, Alzheimer’s Disease, which  is known to erode memories, has been found to cause great damage to the hippocampus prior to damaging other parts of the brain. Alzheimer’s, which killed my own grandfather, eventually destroys all memories and makes the person a hollow shell of who they once were, before killing them off permanently.

Semantic memories tend to be about general facts that everyone remembers or should remember. They tend to be pertaining to general facts about society and the world and how things work, Such examples are what the capital of Spain is, or what a cell’s interior looks like, or that the sky is blue. They typically involve non-personal memories and do not require the individual to “travel back in time: to recall them like an episodic memory does. Both memories are LTM.

In my own life, it is not hard at all for me to recall many episodic memories. A few examples of such are my graduation from high school, the first time I moved out on my own, the first concert I attended, etc. I feel that with episodic memories, it is not hard to recall them and when they happened, but with semantic memories, it can be just as easy to recall or even more difficult. An example would be me absolutely hating math and not being able to recall those “general” facts about how to solve equations that every student has hammered into their heads in high school. I was the type of kid that would study and study for a math test for many hours, still not remembering much at all and on the day of the the test, I  would blank.

Semantic and episodic memories play such a vital role in our lives everyday and we do not even realize it.

 

Wede, J. (2017) Lesson 6: Episodic Memories. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site.

Wede, J. (2017) Lesson 6: Semantic Memories. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site.

Bottom Up and Top Down Processing

Top down and bottom up processing refer to two different theories regarding how the brain processes information delivered via the senses. The former refers to the idea that the brain takes in the information as a whole and breaks it down to the tiniest, most minor aspects of itself. The latter refers to the idea that it all begins with individual elements that are taken in, one by one, and pieced together to get the entire structure as it truly is. Although it may not seem like there is much of a difference between the two, there actually is. Sensation and perception are complicated concepts that still have many unanswered questions surrounding them, such as those addressed in feature integration theory, which asks how exactly is information pieced together in a structure – is it just all one thing or is each individual aspect analyzed separately and the brain constructs it all together in the final product like that of a puzzle being assembled.

Regarding the actual processing itself, it all goes back to our senses. Years ago when I was a student at my former college, the University of Pittsburgh, and I took a class called Sensation and Perception, I realized that we don’t “see” through our eyes. What we actually “see” is our brain’s replication of what is before our eyes, via the use of electrical signals made from light after its transduction along our optical nerve. Likewise with our other senses such as auditory, it is our brain’s replication of a specific motion of sound waves. Top down processing and bottom up processing are two different arguments pertaining to how exactly this manner of information interpretation via our brain’s is done. Is it done from bottom to top, or top to bottom?

An example in my own life when I think of these processing methods is that of when one is approaching an object from afar and as the vision becomes clearer overall as ones nears said object, the details become more and more certain until one is close enough to see it in entirety and all of its details are clear as can be and one is fully aware of what is being viewed. This example of features being integrated from bottom up.

 

Wede, J. (2017) Lesson 4: Bottom Up Porcessing. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site:

Wede, J. (2017) Lesson 4: Top Down Processing. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site:

Goldstein, B. Sensation and Perception. 1980.

 

Feature Integration Theory

Feature Integration Theory is a confusing and important theory often studied in modern psychology. It aims to answer the question of how exactly humans, as well as other organisms, integrate the features of things in the visual field in the grand perception of an object. The question is often asked whether or not the entirety of the object is placed together as a single subject or if it is individually placed together as one via the various features such as size, color, texture, etc.?

In terms of biology, different areas of the brain are specialized to process different things. Such is that of  vision, which is processed inside the occipital lobe, and human faces even have an area designated to their processing inside the temporal lobe. Interestingly enough, a part of the brain exists that is specifically designated with direction in terms of physical space and navigating the area to and from. Feature integration theory aims to discover just how exactly it is that the physical brain does this and how each individual piece is combined together, forming a single picture, which we perceive. Although it is a bit alarming, humans and all animals technically do not see through their eyes. Our visual perception is truly a replication of what is in front of us. Our brain is able to use color (which we perceive) for the sake of identifying light by its wavelength. All of this is how the brain is able to do such, but the exact mechanics are still not entirely understood.

Specialized neurons fire in the presence of light. Cells called cones and rods that rest upon upon the retina at our eyes’ back most wall fire in correspondence to the particular wavelength detected. Color is our mind’s manner of distinguishing different wavelengths form others after the light is transducted into chemical signals via the optical nerv, which is then expedited towards the visual cortex. Cones, which are specifically meant for brighter environments, have at least three different types and each of them correspond to either green, red, or blue color, respectively. Studies conducted via imaging techniques in laboratories have found that thirty two areas (at least) of the brain activate as this processing of the visual stimuli occurs once the light is transducted. This observation supports Feature Integration Theory’s belief that each individual aspect of an object is separately pieced together.

Treisman is the researcher who developed this theory. The experiment he performed to prove his point involving showing to numerous participants a picture that had four objects concealed via two numbers of black color. He flashed the portrayal for less than a second and proceeded via showing them a random dot masking field upon the screen for the sake of eradicating any and all “residual perception that might remain after the stimuli were turned off,” as he worded it. The instructions were for the participants to report which black numbers observed at each location where the shapes were prior seen. Treisman’s hypothesis was verified for it was found that during 18 percent of the time, the participants claimed to see shapes “made up of a combination of features from two different stimuli,” as Treisman worded it, and this was found true for the participants even as the stimuli had varied differences. This was dubbed “illusory conjunction” and is found to occur in real life scenarios at specific occasions. Feature Integration Theory justifies illusory conjunctions due to the fact that all features exist independently of one another as the early processing goes on and that if they are not apart of a specific object, the brain can make the error of falsely piecing them together.

In conclusion, the purpose of feature integration theory is that our brains somehow place together individual aspects of objects before our eyes. creating a single picture, which we perceive.

 

References:

Wede, J. (2017) Lesson 4: Feature Integration theory. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site:

Goldstein, B. Sensation and Perception. 1980.

Deductive Vs. Inductive Reasoning

 

Deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning are the topics I have decided to write this post on. Let’s start by defining them:
Deductive reasoning is a logical process in which a conclusion is based on the concordance of multiple premises that are generally assumed to be true. This is sometimes referred to as top-down logic. Inductive reasoning is reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying strong evidence for the truth of the conclusion. This is sometimes called bottom-up logic. Both of these styles of reasoning have deeply-rooted origins in philosophy, going as far back to Aristotle, perplexing philosophers throughout history. Inductive reasoning does not guarantee statements to be true. It underlies much of human cognition. The salience of it is hypothesis selection based on some relevant criteria. Inductive reasoning is tired to heuristics and particularly the Representative heuristic, which encourages us to judge something purely based off how many features it shares with something else. This can be very faulty and is definitely not necessarily true. . In my own life, I very frequently fall for the lure of inductive reasoning and see that my judgment may have been valid, but certainly was not true, like in the case of when I tried to befriend someone many years ago that I felt sorry for. They struck me as friendly, but ended up being very horrible in the end and I have not spoken to them in years. Such is inductive reasoning – associating something with a characteristic or group because it appears to resemble them, but in truth it isn’t part of them.

There are different types of syllogisms that exist that are used to study reasoning. Such examples are categorical syllogisms and conditional syllogisms. Categorical syllogisms showcase premises and conclusions, demonstrating the correlations between categories, and making use of quantifiers such as “all,” “none,” or “some.” Contrasting, with conditional syllogisms, the first premise has the form “if/then.” Many people have a hard time understanding the difference between truth and validity. Just because something is valid does not make it true and just because something is true does not make it valid. These two things are often confused, being used interchangeably, when they are not truly mutual.
Rationality itself is a very complicated thing that few people truly understand. “Why is the sky blue?” some ask, but there are the overwhelming majority that just don’t care why it is blue, and there are some that will claim it is green. In terms of decision making, either deductive reasoning or inductive reasoning can be used. It is probably better to use deductive reasoning though. Cognitive psychologists have divided the decision making process into five tasks: Set or revise goals, gather information, make plans, structure the decision, and the final selection. This is a complex task, but can be aided with the use of utility theory. Expected utility theory refers to the hypothesis that if humans have the relevant information, we will make decisions in a rational way and will chose options that result in the maximum possible expected utility. Benefits and costs are also factors that determine our decision making.
In my own life, I have used both forms of reasoning many times. An example of using deductive reasoning would be when I began signing up for classes this summer. I took a physiology class due to a requirement in my major. Naturally, with it being a biology class,I assumed that it would be very hard. “All biology classes are hard. Physiology is a biology class. Therefore, it must be hard…” In this case, it was both valid and true, because yes, the CLASS IS VERY HARD!!!!!! As a gay man, an example of inductive reasoning in my life was when I first met my boyfriend and mistook him for straight when in fact, he is gay. He is very masculine and handsome, not being feminine acting or sounding at all. He is athletic and has a strong German accent and is very rugged in his features, being 6’5 in height and fairly muscular. I was instantly attracted to him, but I shot down my own hopes by telling myself “He’s gotta be straight…” To my shock later on, I found out quite the contrary and that he liked me back… I, myself, am not feminine or stereotypically gay acting at all, so I should’ve known better, but I didn’t. Using the representative heuristic, I made that initial error in judgement, but it turned out that despite strongly resembling a straight guy, he is gay… and European 😉

References
Elbich, D. (2016) Lesson 14: Reasoning and Decision Making. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site:
Goldstein, B. Sensation and Perception. 1980.

Episodic and Semantic Memories

Episodic memories are memories of events in which we participated. They can be of something as monumental and unforgettable as one’s own wedding or college graduation, or they can be as simple and forgettable as what one ate for dinner last night. In summary, they are an autobiographical recollection of past experiences that occurred at any given time or place and it is believed that they are stored in a temporal manner. Episodic memories are associated with a point in time and whether or not we can recall it.

The medial temporal lobe is where episodic memories are formed and stored (particularly in the hippocampus), but it is also believed that the prefrontal cortex is important in this procedure, as well, due to experiments that have shown that when it is damaged, episodic memories have a harder time being created. Researchers debate how long memories are stored in the hippocampus. Some believe that they are forever there and lay dormant when not remembered, while others believe that they are only temporarily there and are replaced as new memories are made with only the significant memories being saved. Alzheimer’s Disease, which erodes away memories, tends to damage the hippocampus significantly before damaging other brain areas. This disease, which killed my own grandfather, deteriorates all the memories and thus, all the sanity of a person, leaving them only with a shell of their former self before their brain finally shuts down from all the corrosion.

Contrarily, semantic memories are the opposite yet they are similar. They typically are memories we have in regards to the world around us and general facts about it. Examples can include what the capital of France is, or what the inside of an atom looks like, or what color the sky is. Semantic memories are not usually of a personal nature, unless it was something like one’s own hair color, and do not require that we mentally “travel back in time” to recall them happening to us, like we would with a high school graduation or a wedding. Semantic memories, like Episodic memories are LTM. Because of this, some question the necessity to even distinguish the two of them.

In my own life, I can identify many episodic memories such as my high school graduation, when I met my surrogate parents (I like to think of them as my parents because my real parents and I don’t get along at all), when I first discovered my most favorite music group, and when I realized that I wanted to earn a double doctorate in Chemistry and Psychology. I find that with episodic memories, I can remember them eloquently and without difficulty, whereas with semantic memories, depending on what it is, I can have trouble memorizing them. For example, I absolutely hate math. I would study and study for a math test for countless hours and still not remember any of it when the test came. Both episodic and semantic memories are in our daily lives everyday yet we, as people, fail to realize or understand what they are and how much of a vital part of our existence they are.

 

Elbich, D. (2016) Lesson 6: Episodic Memories. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site.

Elbich, D. (2016) Lesson 6: Semantic Memories. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site.

 

Feature Integration Theory

Feature Integration Theory is a very important aspect of modern Psychology an Neuroscience in that it seeks to explain how human beings and other organisms integrate features of objects in the overall perception of said object. Is the entire object put together as one big thing or is it selectively and individually pieced together according to numerous features such as, but not limited to size, color, texture, etc.? This is interesting, especially in regards to complex structures that have a wide variety of components to them selves.
Biologically, different parts of the brain are used to process different things. An example is that vision is processed within the occipital lobe, faces are processed in the temporal lobe, etc. There is even a part of the brain that is specific for direction in regards to physical space and how to get to places. Feature integration theory seeks to understand how the brain does this and how it ultimately brings it all together into a single picture. An important thing to remember is that we technically do not see through our eyes. What we perceive visually is actually our minds replication of what is before us, using color as a means to identify light by its wave lengths. The brain somehow pieces together a perfect picture of all that is before us, with every individual object and all its features displayed prinstinely.
Specific neurons are fired according to various factors. The cones and rods upon our retinas in the backs of our eyes fire according to whatever kind of wave length they detect and color is made through this process once the light is transducted into chemical signals along the optical nerve and into the visual cortex in the occipital lobe. Cones, which function best in bright light, have at least three types that each correspond to either red, blue, or green color, respectively. Also, Studies have shown that at least thirty two areas of the brain become active during visual processing of a stimulus after the light is transducted, which seems to prove the point of feature integration theory that everything is pieced together individually before the final perception is made. The pre-attentive stage is when the object and all its features are analyzed and the focused attention stage is when everything is pieced together and thus, perception is achieved. Although scientists are not sure how all of this works, this seems to be the likely truth about how perception is achieved visually.
Experiments that seem to show that such have helped to pave the way in understanding. The man who pioneered this theory, Treisman, conducted an experiment to showcase it. He showed to numerous subjects a picture involving four objects concealed by two black numbers. The display was flashed for not even a second long and was succeeded by a random-dot masking field that appeared on screen to eliminate “any residual perception that might remain after the stimuli were turned off,” as he explained it. The subjects were to report the black numbers they saw at each location where the shapes had previously been. The results verified Treisman hypothesis. 18% of the time, subjects reported seeing shapes “made up of a combination of features from two different stimuli,” as he explained it even when the stimuli had great differences. Specifically, this result is called illusory conjunction and it is known to occur in various situations. The feature integration theory explains illusory conjunctions; because features are independent of each other during early processing and are not associated with a specific object, they can easily be incorrectly combined both in laboratory settings and in real life situations.

In my own life, vision is something I work with in my practice of gazing. I believe in alternative religion (AND NO, I’M NOT A DEVIL WORSHIPER!) and without going into much detail about my personal beliefs and overall practices, I will recollect one of them (the art of gazing into various substances such as a mirror, a black bowl filled with water, a crystal ball, etc.). The purpose of this and other practices, although not taken seriously by science or by most of the world for that matter, is to allow the mind to perceive insight into the future and the present with regards to various situations and all is made possible by metaphysics. Once one stares into the reflective surface, said one sees all that is reflected in it and all the features of said objects. Initially, they are firm and adamant and detailed with vigor, but as one lets their consciousness and vision fade away, the details begin to fade and one can still recognize some features, but not others. Within a short amount of time, the vision is totally blurred and one is left to the universe to show them what they are trying to gain insight to.  The point of me recollecting this experience (IS NOT TO FREAK EVERYONE OUT!!!!!) is to clarify that oftentimes when one lets their mind fade out gradually and as vision blurs, throughout the process, features also blur while others remain only to blur later on. This seems to support feature integration theory. This, obviously, is not something most people will understand or take seriously, but speaking from my experience as a Neo Pagan, it speaks truth to me.

In conclusion, feature integration theory seeks to explain how our brains piece together individual aspects of objects into one large picture that is what we see. No one is exactly sure of how this happens precisely, but this theory is a great start at uncovering the mystery.

References
Elbich, D. (2016) Lesson 4: Feature Integration theory. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site:
Goldstein, B. Sensation and Perception. 1980.