Cognitive Approach

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  • Cognitive Approach
    • Schemas
      • A cognitive framework which helps us organise information in the brain
      • They are a package of knowledge built up from previous experiences
      • Help us take shortcuts when interpreting huge amounts of information
      • However, they can cause us to exclude anything that does not conform to our established ways of thinking
        • focuses on things that confirm our pre-existing beliefs and ideas
    • Theoretical Models
      • Includes Multi-Store Model and Working Memory Model
      • These are simplified models often represented with diagrams
      • They are informal, often incomplete and are frequently changed
    • Computer Models
      • Likens our memory to a computer e.g. information is stored in LTM which is like a hard disk
      • Information is inputted through the senses and encoded into our memory
      • Combined with previously stored information to complete a task and can be retrieved when needed
    • Emergence of Cognitive Neuroscience
      • Due to advances in science, neuroscientists have been able to study the living brain
      • Enables us to understand information about the brain structures involved in different kinds of brain processing
      • Neuroscientists use Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to see which parts of the brain are active during certain activities
    • Evaluation
      • Applied in many areas of psychology. In social psychology it has helped psychologists understand how we form impressions of other people due to our schemas. It therefore helps us to understand the errors and biases that we may make in our interpretations of others.
      • the cognitive approach to psychopathology explains how the dysfunctional behaviour shown by people can be traced back to faulty thinking processes. This has led to effective treatments such as CBT which is used to treat OCD, depression
      • Terms such ‘encoding’ and ‘storage’ are borrowed from the field of computing. However, there is a difference between the sort of information processing that takes place within a computer program and the information processing that takes place in the human mind eg computers do not make mistakes or forget things whereas humans do
    • Looks at information processing and how we extract, store and retrieve information that helps guide our behaviour


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