Cognitive Approach

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  • Cognitive Approach
    • Assumptions
      • Argues that internal mental processes should be studied scientifically
      • Investigated areas of the human brain that was ignored by behaviorists
        • Processes are private and can't be observed.
          • They are studied indirectly by making inferences about what is going on in peoples mind based on their behavior
    • Theoretical and computer models
      • Both theoretical and computer models are used to help understand the internal mental processes
      • Computer models are concrete whereas theoretical models are abstract
      • Information processing approach suggests information flows through the cognitive system in stages which includes input, storage and retrieval - MSM
        • Based on the way computers function but the computer model would involve programming the computer to see if instructions produce a similar output to humans. If they do then a similar process is going on in the human mind.
    • Role of schema
      • "Packages" of ideas and information developed through experience
      • Mental framework for the interpretation incoming information received by the cognitive system
      • Babies are born with simple motor schemas for innate behaviour
        • When we get older our schema becomes more detailed and sophisticated
          • Adults have a developed mental represenationof everything around us
      • Schema's enable us to process lots of information quickly and it is a mental 'short-cut' that prevents us from being overwhelmed by environmental stimuli
        • Schema's can distort our interpretations of sensory information which leads to perceptual errors
    • Emergence of cognitive neuroscience
      • Cognitive neuroscience is the scientific study of the influence of brain structures on mental processes
      • Brain imaging techniques (eg fMRI ) has enabled scientists to systematically observe and describe the neurological basis of mental processes
      • Scanning techniques have been proved useful in establishing the neurological basis of some mental disorders
      • Focus on cognitive neuroscience has allowed computer-generated models to "read" the brain.
        • Led to the developing of mind mapping techniques.
    • Evaluation
      • Scientific and objective methods
        • Highly controlled and rigorous methods of study to enable researchers to infer cognitive processes at work.
          • Use of lab experiments to produce reliable data
            • Study of the mind has established a credible scientific basis
      • Machine reductionism
        • Similarities between the human mind and the operations of a computer it has been criticized
          • Machine reductionism ignores the influence of human emotion and motivation on the cognitive system and how this may affect our ability to process information
      • Application to everyday life
        • Cognitive psychologists are only able to infer mental processes from the behavior that they observe in their research
          • Cognitive psychology occasionally suffers from being too abstract and theoretical in nature
            • Similarly experimental studies of mental processes are often carried out using artificial stimuli
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