AP Psychology

Unit 7: Cognition

In this unit students learn how humans convert sensory input into kinds of information. They examine how humans learn, remember, and retrieve information. This part of the course also addresses problem solving, language, and creativity.

AP students in psychology should be able to do the following:

Throughout history, we humans have both bemoaned our foolishness and celebrated our wisdom. The poet T. S. Eliot was struck by "the hollow men ... Headpiece filled with straw." But Shakespeare's Hamlet extolled the human species as "noble in reason! ... infinite in faculties! . .. in apprehension how like a god!" In the preceding units, we have likewise marveled at both our abilities and our errors.

Elsewhere in this text, we study the human brain-three pounds of wet tissue the size of a small cabbage, yet containing circuitry more complex than the planet's telephone networks. We appreciate the amazing abilities of newborns. We marvel at our sensory system, translating visual stimuli into nerve impulses, distributing them for parallel processing, and reassembling them into colorful perceptions. Little wonder that our species has had the collective genius to invent the camera, the car, and the computer; to unlock the atom and crack the genetic code; to travel out to space and into our brain's depths.

Yet we have also seen that our species is kin to the other animals, influenced by the same principles that produce learning in rats and pigeons. We have noted that we not-so-wise humans are easily deceived by perceptual illusions, pseudopsychic claims, and false memories.

In this unit, we encounter further instances of these two images of the human condition-the rational and the irrational. We will ponder our memory's enormous capacity, and the ease with which our two-track mind processes information, with and without our awareness. We will consider how we use and misuse the information we receive, perceive, store, and retrieve. We will look at our gift for language and consider how and why it develops. And we will reflect on how deserving we are of our species name, Homo sapiens - wise human.

 31Studying and Building Memories
 32Memory Storage and Retrieval
 33Forgetting, Memory Construction, and Memory Improvement
 34Thinking, Concepts, and Creativity
 35Solving Problems and Making Decisions
 36Thinking and Language

PowerPoint: Chapter Slides 7A | Chapter Definitions 7A
PowerPoint: Chapter Slides 7B | Chapter Definitions 7B
Study Guide 7A (and Answers 7A)
Study Guide 7B (and Answers 7B)
Textbook (sort of an "e-book")