Cognitive Approach

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  • Cognitive Approach
    • suggests all behaviour is preceded by a thought
    • argues internal mental processes should be studied scientifically
    • rather than being observed, internal and mental processes are studied indirectly by making inferences about what's going on in people's minds based on observable behaviour
    • schema is a mental framework of beliefs and expectations that influence cognitive processing
      • developed through experience
      • useful because it allows us to take shortcuts in interpreting vast amounts of information that is available in our environment
      • causes us to focus on things that confirm our pre-existing ideas / perceptions
    • there are 2 ways of explaining and making inferences about mental processes
      • theoretical models
        • models which represent how internal mental processes could work
      • the computer analogy
        • the idea that the brain works in the same way as a computer
      • there are 3 things that both these methods use
        • concept of a central processing unit (the brain)
        • coding (to turn information into a usable format)
        • stores (to hold information)
    • cognitive neuroscience is the scientific study of how brain structures affect mental processes
      • Paul Broca
        • used a post mortem to identify Broca's area in the frontal lobe which affects the ability to speak when damaged
    • fMRI and PET scans allow us to identify activity in specific areas of the brain responsible for specific behaviours and thoughts whilst the patient is still alive


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