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“Cognition” Book by Ashcraft and Radvansky Report

Review of Chapters 1 and 2

Chapter 1 introduces cognitive psychology. It describes this form of psychology as a mental event that involves the recognition of varied objects, understanding phrases and sentences, and remembering names. It basically involves all the human mental events that are essential for the execution of practically every human activity. This form of psychology was derived from cognitive science, which is a multidisciplinary subject that incorporates the comprehensive study of languages, brain, and thought. Therefore, cognitive psychology blends the use of the three principles (Ashcraft & Radvansky 2010).

Memory has been widely mentioned as a key factor in cognitive psychology. This term has received different dimensions of definition. For instance, many can merely describe it as the ability to remember a thing. However, the perception of many about memory is not helpful, especially when seeking for a deeper meaning. Memory can be broadly described in three different ways. For instance, the remembering of past events is one indicator of the existence of memory. The second evidence of the existence of memory is the actual process of retrieving past events. This is normally experienced when an individual tries to recover past memories. The third description of memory is the retrieval of memory from the part of the brain where it is stored (Coxon, 2012).

Chapter 2, on the other hand, gives a comprehensive discussion on cognitive science. It is always important to make theoretical assumptions while in the process of coming up with meaningful researches. This plays an imperative role in formulating a roadmap for researchers to use during their studies. Additionally, this also helps them in coming up with the most viable variables to base their studies. The chapter expounds on the seven themes of cognition. These themes include attention, data-driven against conceptually driven thinking, implicit against explicit memory, representation, automatic against conscious thinking, the brain, and meta-cognition (Ashcraft, & Radvansky 2010).

Review of chapters 3 and 4

Chapter 3 is based on pattern and perception recognition. It is important to note that human perception is always the work done by the eyes. This chapter highlights all the parts of the human eye and explains their work in relation to the perception of objects and color. It explains unequivocally how the rods and cones contained in the retina play an exceptionally important role in perceiving all the images seen by the eye. Additionally, the chapter relates image perception by the eyes with its subsequent interpretation by the brain (Ashcraft & Radvansky 2010).

For a long time, people have perceived that images are processed by the eyes as static icons. However, the chapter explains how Haber, a psychologist, refuted this idea. He claimed that this notion was not particularly of use when it comes to an understanding of the manner in which the human eye processes relatively complicated visual fields. Instead of a static visual environment, he argued that people have a continuous visual environment that allows them to have a clear view of complicated visual fields (Coxon, 2012).

Chapter 4, on the other hand, covers attention. Attention has been used on a number of occasions to imply basic notions of alertness and arousal. It has also been used in other complex situations to imply awareness and consciousness. However, this chapter tries to bring a totally different notion of attention. From this chapter, we are able to note that attention is not only alertness but also a process that occurs within the cognitive system of humans (Coxon, 2012).

The chapter describes attention as a partial mental resource that is said to empower the brain to execute its activities. It is also said to be part and parcel of the brain. Despite playing an integral part in human thinking, attention is described in this chapter as finite. This is because there are occasions when people do not necessarily concentrate after being destroyed in one way or another.

Review of chapter 5

Chapter 5 gives a comprehensive discussion of short term working memory. Short term memory may be described as the part of our memory system that is meant to keep information for a maximum of 20 seconds. While putting into consideration this amount of time, we can deduce that only current and recently accessed data is held in this component. On some occasions, this type of memory is equated to consciousness or attention. The chapter also touches on working memory, which varies slightly from short term memory. As opposed to short term memory, the chapter explains working memory as a component where a number of conscious processes like a verbal rehearsal take place (Ashcraft, & Radvansky 2010).

The researches done by a number of psychologists, as indicated in the chapter, show that immediate memory can hold only limited and current data. The chapter gives an example of taking notes in class. On most occasions, students lose the information they had just been taught as new information is gained. However, the brain is usually able to store a grouping of information in its short-term memory. This grouping of information is referred to as a chunk, while the whole process of storing the information is called recoding (Coxon, 2012).

Chapter five also gives a broad discussion of the act of forgetting. It shows how the long time notion that forgetting is brought about by mental decay is refuted by a number of scholars. For instance, the psychologists deny the fact that people forget as a result of the decay of pieces of information in their brains. On the other hand, the scholars argue that this act results from the number of clashing information between the critical information and the less critical ones.

Review of chapter 6

Chapter 6 of this book incorporates a long discussion concerning the actions of learning and remembering. It is important to note that these two actions play an integral part in the lives of students. The chapter classifies learning and remembering as part of long term memory. This is because they both involve future retrieval and conscious reflection of the information stored. Tulving, a scholar, uses the term episodic memory in this chapter to refer to the part of long term memory where personal experiences are stored. He also uses the term semantic memory as a part of long term memory where general knowledge, including language and education, is stored (Ashcraft, & Radvansky 2010).

In learning, for instance, the chapter explains that all human beings use mnemonics when studying or getting ready for a test. A mnemonic device may be described as a strategic plan or rehearsal strategy normally applied in preparation for a test. The chapter further subdivides this device into smaller categories of formal and informal mnemonics. It explains that formal mnemonics are pre-established and are practices put in the place of pieces of information to be remembered in the brain. Informal mnemonics are, on the other hand, are explained here as less elaborate, memorable experiences created by oneself (Coxon, 2012).

The chapter has clearly stated the importance of mnemonic approaches. They include providing a clear structure for the process of learning and helping in the formulation of durable records in the brain, amongst others. The chapter further provides an extended overview of the origin of the scientific study of human memory. It explains the different views, and assumptions scholars and researchers had about the human brain (Ashcraft & Radvansky 2010).

Review of chapter 7

Chapter 7 of the coursebook covers knowing. It perceives semantic memory permanent storage for human general knowledge. This is an implication that the human conceptual data like language is stored in the semantic memory. Numerous theories about semantic memory revolve around some fundamental assumptions. These suppositions include the manner in which semantic memory is structured and the actual process of recovering the data stored in the structures (Ashcraft, & Radvansky 2010).

The chapter 7 talks about the Collins and Quillian model which has a number of concepts that try to explain the theory of semantic memory. Intersection is one of the concepts. This concept tries to explain how people may find themselves hooked into a totally different node while in the process of reviewing another mode. It tries to explain why humans normally have thoughts that may be completely different from the actual topics they may be discussing at that particular moment (Coxon, 2012).

This chapter also highlights the Smith’s Feature Comparison Model that also tries to explain the theories of semantic memory. It challenges some assumptions in the previously mentioned model. Here, the illustration of structure is brought forward in a more simplified version while the retrieval process is elaborated more comprehensively than in the previous model. As opposed to Collins and Quillian, Smith assumes that the human memory comprises of lists instead of networks as purported by Collins and Quillian (Coxon, 2012).

Despite the fact that the two models tired to give a comprehensive explanation on semantic memory, they both faced a number of challenges in the process. For instance, Collins and Quillian were faced by a setback in the study of cognitive economy. Smith, on the other hand, was faced by a challenge on his emphasis on typicality (Ashcraft, & Radvansky 2010).

Review of chapter 8

The chapter 8 of the course book covers the application of knowledge in the concrete world. While trying to explain the human application of knowledge during their daily activities, this chapter brings to play seven instances when the human long term memory disappoints them. These instances include transience, absent-mindedness, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias and persistence. These are instances when people are let down by their minds which compels them to do things their instincts really do not want to be associated with (Ashcraft, & Radvansky 2010).

This chapter gives an example of Bartlett, a renowned psychologist, who found substantial evidence that proved that the memory meant for meaningful things is actually not productive. He unveiled that people do not come up with unique passages. They, however, reconstruct their memory in the process of trying to remember a thing. Bartlett’s study revealed that people have a tendency of omitting important information in their process of remembering things whose details they already knew before (Coxon, 2012).

Bartlett realized, in his study, that the human mind is good at content accuracy and not technical accuracy. Technical accuracy is where people should be able to remember the exact content of contained in a given piece of information. Content accuracy, conversely, entails recognizing the content of a subject as was experienced and not exactly how it appeared in the subject. Therefore, in as much as people are able to remember past information, they recall the experience and not the exact content (Ashcraft, & Radvansky 2010).

The chapter 8 also describes semantic integration. It describes it as the predisposition of storing related data in a unified manner. In this subtopic, the chapter introduces two psychologists, Franks and Bransford, who conducted an extensive study on how humans obtain and remember ideas (Coxon, 2012).

Review of chapters 9 and 10

The chapter 9 of the book covers language. This is one of the most universal features across cultures even though people may not be able to understand languages from different cultures. Its universality is evident by the fact that language forms part and parcel of the human life. Language is defined in this chapter as communication system. Linguistics, on the other hand, is defined as the academic discipline that converges attention on language (Ashcraft, & Radvansky 2010).

The chapter acknowledges the fact that languages have common and identifiable features. It gives a list of features that are universal to practically all the languages found in virtually every culture. The chapter distinguishes between competence and performance as far as language is concerned. Competence in language arises when an individual fluently speaks in a language while getting all the grammar and vocals right. Performance, on the contrary, is merely the generation of sounds and the ability to speak a language without much precision and fluency (Coxon, 2012).

The chapter 10, unlike chapter 9, covers the comprehension of both spoken and written language. The chapter highlights on the three levels used in the analysis of languages. These are semantic, phonological and syntactic levels. Despite the existence of language comprehension many years ago, this chapter indicates that there are still debates on whether people are able to retain the exact wording and meaning of an excerpt and how rapidly their verbatim can be recorded.

The chapter goes further to discuss the fine details of language including referencing skills and much more. It also gives a comprehensive discussion on inferences as used in languages. All these are aimed at vivifying the basics of different languages (Ashcraft, & Radvansky 2010).

Review of chapters 11 and 12

The chapter 11 focuses on judgments, decisions and reasoning. It gives a comprehensive discussion on the different types of reasoning. Additionally, it includes explanations on errors in reasoning. For instance, it contains an explanation on conditional reasoning, antecedent and its consequent outcomes. The errors that form basis of discussions in this chapter are form errors, memory related errors and search errors (Ashcraft, & Radvansky 2010).

The chapter 12, on the contrary, covers problems solving. Verbal protocols are normally used in the process of trying to come up with viable solutions to problems inconsiderate of their magnitude. In most occasions, investigators who carry out studies on different fields normally engage their subjects to come forward and openly talk about their views on matters in a bid to solve related problems (Coxon, 2012).

A number of researches done by different scholars indicated that the perception different animals have towards countering a problem is quite different. For instance, the study conducted by Wolfgang Kholer in the early 1990s had astonishing results. The chapter indicates that the study revealed how animal perception to a problem is not based on particular elements of a certain stimulus (Ashcraft, & Radvansky 2010). Their perception is, however, based on the different relations amongst stimuli.

The chapter illustrates a number of ways that may be adopted in the process of seeking solutions to a problem. For instance, it gives functional fixedness as one of the strategies for problem solving. This is tendency of making use of objects in their right specifications in order to come up with results. Negative set is also another approach for finding solutions to different problems as explained by the chapter. This entails solving specific problems in one particular way through adopting certain procedures (Coxon, 2012).


Ashcraft, M. H., & Radvansky (2010). Cognition (5th ed.). Boston: Prentice Hall.

Coxon, M. (2012). Cognitive psychology. London: Learning Matters.

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