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e-book Superior Memory (Essays in Cognitive Psychology)

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The authors argue that in some cases unusual memory ability is not dependent on the use of special techniques. They develop some objective criteria for distinguishing between subjects who demonstrate "natural" superiority and those "strategists" who depend on techniques. Natural superiority was characterised by superior performance on a wider range of tasks and better long-term retention. The existence of a general memory ability was further supported by a factor analysis of data from all subjects, omitting those who described highly-practised techniques.

This analysis also demonstrated the independence of initial encoding and retention processes. The monograph raises many interesting questions concerning the existence and nature of individual differences in memory ability a previously neglected topic , their relation to other cognitive processes and implications for theories concerning the structure of memory.

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Theories of intelligence

Katz actually agreed with much of the Gestalt-school approach to the study of perception. He also argued explicitly for a phenomenological approach, which analyses the perceptual phenomena that people actually experience. Phenomenological aspects of perception are no less important in touch than in vision, according to Katz. Surprisingly, amputees were able to recognise objects with the remaining stump, much as they would have done with the now amputated hand, even if not quite as accurately. Katz considered himself to be an empirical scientist rather than a theorist.

That may have contributed to his being one of the earliest psychologists to dispense with some time-honoured dichotomies that divided previous and many subsequent theories. The very title of his major work on touch, Der Aufbau der Tastwelt , attests to his agnostic attitude to rigid categories. Nevertheless, Katz used the German term for construction to describe the relation between simple and more complex tactual phenomena. Katz already emphasised the multisensory character of touch perception, although he did not use that term. Katz also suggested that most tactual phenomena depend on movement and involve kinaesthetic and proprioceptive inputs from muscles and joints.

Katz was also concerned with the relation between touch and vision. He described the tactile perception of elasticity and transparency that corresponded to colour phenomena that he had analysed earlier. It anticipates the notion of modalities as 1. Moreover, Katz, like Weber, distinguished between tactual impressions that we assign to external objects and those that we experience as subjective.

Tactual phenomena are essentially bipolar, according to him.

The subjective pole predominates for pain and in passive contacts that are not habitually used to identify objects. Katz stressed that sighted people often report using visual images in memory tasks and that shape is often perceived better by vision than touch. But he did not propose that spatial performance is impossible without vision.

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In his view, vision lacks the bipolarity of touch. Visual impressions are nearly always projected onto external space. The sighted cannot escape from visualising tactual impressions. Vision may thus underlie perception of external space, at least for the sighted.

Kinaesthetic inputs and movements in touching and grasping objects create haptic space, which parallels, but is not identical with, visual space. In his view, too, the primacy of shape perception suggested by the Gestalt school only applies to vision, and not to touch. In touch, it is the structure of objects, not their form, that is primary. Active touch produces a constructive synthesis of forms by successive exploration. Spatial aspects of touch are not in doubt. Moving hand and limbs relative to the body creates near or personal space.

Haptic space and perceived directions are built up largely from grasping and scanning multiple objects. Touch provides actual contact with the world of objects.

Human intelligence

Haptic perception involves creative aspects and cognitive functions. Geometric similarity is not the same as phenomenological identity. The fact that visual illusions are also found in touch is fortuitous. They are quite separate perceptual phenomena. The idea that the sensory modalities provide totally separate impressions seems to hark back to the empiricist philosophers, Locke, Berkeley and Hume see earlier. But Berkeley also proposed that visual perception is learned through touch. For example, the position of the eyes in the sockets, and the direction of eye movements relative to the head, are controlled by three sets of extra-ocular muscles.

Perception of the vertical direction depends on head- and body-tilts relative to gravity. They review studies of spatial orientation in humans and other animals, which include physical, anatomical and physiological as well as behavioural factors. The authors conclude p. Their book was primarily concerned with behaviour that is determined by the angular position of the body in relation to any stable external reference system.

Human intelligence

Gravitational force produces the most important constraint. The structures of the neuromuscular system evolved to keep the body upright against the forces of gravity.


  • Human intelligence | psychology | plicinniperu.ml.
  • CRC Press Online - Series: Essays in Cognitive Psychology?
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The mechanical structure of each joint determines the range and direction of a limb movement. But the orienting systems of the body, relative to the force of gravity, and relative to the supporting surface, are crucial for spatial behaviour to be adaptive. But adaptation to external constraints is important. Classical and operant conditioning are mentioned as the relevant mechanism for adaptation.

Spatial judgements usually involve several sensory modalities in various combinations. Inputs come from vision, from hearing, from visceral sources, and from receptors in joints and muscles that are involved in producing movements and in information from movements. The vestibular apparatus in the inner ear is particularly important. It consists of three semicircular canals and a sensing organ that register the force of gravity, acceleration, and linear and rotary motion relative to gravitational force.

Behaviourally, the information is necessary for discriminating movements and the position of the body and of body-parts and postures. The vertical direction of the mid-body axis in the upright posture is usually kept in line with the vertical direction of gravity Figure 1. It serves as an important reference axis.

Templeton , Human Spatial Orientation. Reproduced with permission of the author and the publisher copyright holder. Visible surrounds are important for locomotion and for reaching to a target. Plasticity in human sensorimotor coordination, and a role for corrective feedback from self-produced movements, was demonstrated in a series of studies by Held and his colleagues e. Experiments on viewing felt targets through distorting spectacles showed that people localised the target where they saw it, and not where it was felt e. It should be noted here that this is not always the case.

Consider sitting in a train prior to departure. Seeing another train apparently moving when you look out of the window will make you think your train has started, until you check whether you can feel it move. Howard and Templeton , p. Gibson , and E. Gibson They rejected the phenomenological approach of the Gestalt school.

But they were also completely opposed to the notion that perception is constructed from isolated sensations. They produced a great deal of empirical evidence in support of their theory. The business of psychology is to explain how an animal or human observer perceives the information that is available in everyday life. We see people, objects and scenes, not successions of light points, nor inverted retinal images. Gibson proposed that the sensory modalities are complex perceptual systems.

Single stimuli are rarely, if ever, sensed as such by the organism. The perceptual systems have evolved to detect information actively.