Cognitive Psychology - Introduction

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  • Cognitive Psychology
    • Studies our mental processes, or, cognitions, including attention, perception, memory and thinking
    • Information received from our senses is processed by the brain
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    • The processing of information directs how we behave
      • Justifies how we behave the way that we do
    • Cognitive processes are an example of hypothetical constructs
      • We cannot directly see processes such as thinking but we can infer what a person is thinking based on how they act
    • Influenced by developments in computer science - analogies made between how a computer works and how we process information
      • Psychologists are interested in the way the brain inputs, stores and outputs information
    • Information processing - the way that information is taken in my senses, analysed and then responded to
    • Humans are more sophisticated than computers
      • Criticism of cog. psych. - it ignores the way that other factors such as culture, past experiences and emotions affect how we process information
    • Memory is a cognitive process
      • Memory - the capacity to encode, store and retrieve information
        • Learning could not take place without memory
      • Memory is a three stage process - encoding, storage, retrieval
        • Failure at any one of these stages could lead to forgetting
          • Encoding - how information is initially processed so that it can be converted into a format that can be stored
          • Storage - the maintenance of information without actively using it for a period after initial encoding
          • Retrieval - the process of locating and extracting stored information so that it can be recalled
      • Forgetting - the experience of not being able to recall information such as an event or another person's name


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