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Tutor profile: Ted J.

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Ted J.
Former Professor of Psychology, now Full-Time Researcher
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Questions

Subject: Psychology

TutorMe
Question:

Sensation and perception is an important part of the field of Cognitive Psychology, but it also has strong implications on other parts of psychology. Discuss how the concept of "constructed perception" relates to social biases and stereotypes.

Inactive
Ted J.
Answer:

"Constructed perception", in the area of sensation and perception, refers to the idea that the brain is actively building your perceptual experience of the world around you by incorporating pre-existing "top-down" information from memory with your expectations about the world to help form your experience alongside "bottom-up" information from your senses. As as result, your actual experiences are not a faithful representation of the world, but rather a construct of your mind that is "good enough" to use. This is one of the many ways that the brain is "lazy" and avoids working harder than it needs to: rather than expend a lot of effort fully processing every sensory experience the brain just fills in details that are likely to be true. This use of memory and expectations in perception is conceptually similar to a stereotype - rather than learn everything about a person we use mental shortcuts to make assumptions about other people. While this is relatively mundane when it comes to sensation and perception (it's fine to remember a yellow firetruck as being red), when the brain applies the same strategy in social and interpersonal situations this can lead to negative outcomes in both interactions between individuals and in large social groups such as racial or gender stereotypes.

Subject: Statistics

TutorMe
Question:

Discuss the differences in application between a 1-sample T-test, a paired-samples T-test, and an independent samples T-test.

Inactive
Ted J.
Answer:

The three types of T-test listed above, 1-sample, paired-samples, and independent samples, each apply to different types of data and statistical analyses. A 1-sample test is useful when you are comparing a list of data points to a known value, essentially asking the question "is this list of numbers different from some other number?". An independent samples t-test the most basic way of comparing two lists of numbers. By comparing the means of each group relative to their variability, we can essentially answer the question "are these two groups different from one another?". Finally, a paired-samples t-test is similar to an independent samples test, except that we know of a relationship between items in each list. A good example is measuring two different things about the same object - both lists will have a score from each measurement, but we can match scores that came from the same object. Because we know of this paired relationship, we can treat the data differently and subtract the values in both lists. This new list, a difference score, is then treated like a 1-sample t-test and we compare it against a single known value (usually zero). The question answered here is "for each person, is the difference between our two measurements different from zero?".

Subject: Cognitive Science

TutorMe
Question:

Define the term "graceful degradation" as it relates to skills and memory and discuss how this observation informs our understanding of how information is stored in long-term memory.

Inactive
Ted J.
Answer:

Graceful Degradation refers to the observation that skills and memories, when forgotten, are not lost or completely forgotten all at once. Rather, what we see is that the quality of the memory reduces (or degrades) slowly over time. The loss of detail for particular aspects of the memory, but not the total loss of the memory, suggests that the information is not located in a single place in the brain. If it were, then forgetting any part of the memory would be the same as forgetting the whole memory. Rather, the information is most likely spread out across many brain areas, and the loss of parts of the memory (but not the whole) is instead due to changes in one part of the brain that do not necessarily effect other brain areas. In other words, information is distributed across the brain rather than represented as a single cohesive unit in a particular brain area. This is known as the distributed-representation theory of memory (and information processing), and is a key part of understanding how the whole brain works together to perform a variety of cognitive tasks.

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