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Cognitive Theory

Cognitive Theory

Description:

In this lesson you will learn about the mechanisms of cognitive theory, a perceptual theory of communications.

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Tutorial

Source: Image of Floral Fabric, Creative Commons. http://gild-a-stock.deviantart.com/art/Floral-Fabric-16-60585963 Image of Watch, Creative Commons. http://opencage.info/pics.e/large_3697.asp Image of Digital Clock, Creative Commons. http://www.ipernity.com/doc/elvertbarnes/4321421 Image of Clock Tower, Creative Commons. http://www.flickr.com/photos/scazon/3036915245/ Image of Clocks, Creative Commons. http://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/432273311/

Video Transcription

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Hi and welcome everybody. My name is Mario and I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson which is going to be on cognitive theory. So today we'll talk about what cognitive theory is and then illustrate how it works. So as always, feel free throughout to pause, fast forward, and rewind as you see fit and when you're ready to go let's go.

So we'll begin today's lesson by defining cognitive theory. Cognitive theory is the theory which states that a viewer actively arrives at a conclusion through a series of many mental processes. So those series of many mental processes that we'll talk about individually are memory, projection, expectation, selectivity, habituation, and salience. So these will be what helps the viewer arrive at their conclusion.

But we'll start off with memory. And memory is when images are interpreted by the viewer's recall of all images ever seen. And this is a fancy definition, but it's a memory as we all typically know it. So for example I have this memory of my grandma and her clothes always being floral. And out of all the images I recall of my grandma I always see here in a long floral or some sort of flower patterned clothing. So that became one of the types of clothes or even pattern that I associate to her. It became one of those staples.

So then we have projection. Projection is when the viewer projects meaning based on mental state and personal interpretation. So there are a lot of good examples and I can actually recall an event that happened recently with a friend of mine who's a manager. We'll call her Cindy for this example.

And so they're looking to hire new assistant managers to eventually become managers. So a staffer confronts her, Cindy, and tells her that maybe she should have someone else by manager and that she's been manager for way too long. How does Cindy take this? Cindy might be feeling insulted and a little insecure about her management abilities now, so when someone asks about potential candidates or recommends them maybe she might be keen to bark out and let them know that she's a way better manager. And at this point she's now projecting her own feelings and insecurities about new potential staffers being promoted.

Another good, simple example is when you tell someone, hey, you look great today. If they're in a good mood they'd be inclined to thank you, but if they had the worst day of their life they're going to project those negative experiences and feelings and be inclined to think, well I look good today? Don't I look good other days?

So next we have expectation. Expectation is when the viewer has preconceived notions sometimes leading to false perceptions. I think we all know about this one. Valentine's Day, which was not too long ago, so maybe you've been interested in someone and you've both been really close and hitting it off and Valentine's Day comes around and you're excited to finally tell him or her, give them a nice card or something, and then lock your eyes and finally be united together forever. But then you actually go through with this decision with him or her and it just doesn't feel the same or maybe it's just becomes really awkward because you've set up certain expectations that weren't met.

Moving on to selectivity. Selectivity is when the viewer filters out irrelevant detail and only focuses on what is relevant at the time. So let's say you're running late to class and all you can think about is the time. You're going to filter out everything and start looking at your watch or pull out your cell phone and maybe not even want to look at the time anymore because you're so nervous. But then out of no where you see clocks. There's clocks on the side of buildings, there's clocks at the top of buildings, and you finally make it to where you need to be and there's even clocks in the building. There's just clocks everywhere. And it's kind of the same thing, you ever notice how when you finally get yourself a car and start driving you can't stop noticing other people driving the same car on the road?

So then we have habituation. And habituation is when the viewer ignores the familiar to protect from over stimulation. So an example would be, let's say there's a bully at school. And when you walk down the hallway past your lockers on your way to class he always gets in your face and tries to intimidate you. Now normally you'd back away or get scared, but after a while you learn he's not really going to hurt you and that he's just being annoying. So when you're having one of those days where there's just way too much going on and you're over stimulated you just completely ignore the situation. And I think this is often common with parents. Sometimes you have just way too much going on and your kids are asking questions and saying things and going crazy and you just kind of zone them out to keep you sane while you're doing whatever it is you're doing that's important.

Last we have salience. And salience is when the viewer gives notice to that which has meaning to them. So I can think of an example where this has happened to me. And I went in for a job interview that happened to be a group interview, which I hate. And when I sat down to join the group I realized I'd forgotten my resume. Everyone else had a resume so that's what I was noticing. I was consistently noticing and thinking about resumes. And there's many occurrences like this quite often. You're at dinner and you're hungry and you notice everyone has food but you. Or maybe you're at prom or some event like that and everyone came in limos but you. You notice things that have meaning to you for one reason or another.

So that wraps up this lesson for cognitive theory. Here are our key terms once more, cognitive theory, memory, projection, expectation, selectivity, habituation, and salience. My name is Mario. I hope you've enjoyed this lesson today in cognitive theory and I will see you all next lesson.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Salience

    The viewer gives notice to that which has meaning to them.

  • Habituation

    The viewer ignores the familiar to protect from overstimulation.

  • Selectivity

    The viewer filters out irrelevant detail and only focuses on what is relevant at the time.

  • Expectation

    The viewer has preconceived notions sometimes leading to false perceptions.

  • Projection

    The viewer projects meaning based on mental state and personal interpretation.

  • Memory

    Images are interpreted by the viewer's recall of all images ever seen.

  • Cognitive Theory

    A theory which states that a viewer actively arrives at a conclusion through a series of many mental processes.