The Cognitive Approach

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  • The main assumptions of the Cognitive Approach
    • mental processes/info processing can be studied scientifically
      • main areas studied within the cognitive approach
        • problem solving
        • language
        • forgetting
        • memory
        • thinking
      • different to behavioural approach
        • cognitive approach rarely uses animals, mainly people
      • similar to both biological + behaviourist approach
        • methods used to investigate are usually laboratory based
          • research = based on empirical data (been directly observed)
          • research = scientific
    • introspection can be a valid, scientific method of studying cognitive processes
      • criticisms
        • subjective
        • can we access all our thinking processes?
      • two ways of conducting modern introspection
        • ask participants to verbalise their thoughts whilst conducting an experiment or solving a problem
        • retrospective phenomenological assessment
          • ask people to reflect + report on thoughts and feelings
      • cannot really be observed (subjective)
        • inferred from experiments + what people say they thought about
    • conscious and non-conscious thought
      • both act as mediational processes between stimulus and respone
    • the brain and damage to the brain affects cognition and cognitive processes
      • cognitive neuropsychology
        • how the brain affects behaviour + associated cognitive functioning
      • localisation of function
        • brain damaged patients often used to investigate this
        • people often suffer damage to several areas of their brains
          • difficult to pinpoint an area solely responsible
        • the belief that certain parts of the brain are responsible for certain functions.
          • Broca's area is involved in language
          • Wernicke's area is involved in understanding speech
          • the hippocampus is involved in memory
    • the mind operates in a similar way to a computer
      • computer analogy is used to attempt to understand cognition
    • findings and methods used can be applied to other areas of psychology + have practical applications
      • The Psychology of Ageing
        • understanding dementia + Alzheimer's disease and advice given
      • Criminal Psychology
        • understanding of cognitive development + conditions such as dyslexia
      • Atypical Psychology
        • understanding mood disorders + schizophrenia and the associated treatments
          • rational emotive therapy
          • focusing
          • cognitive restructuring therapy
      • Criminal Psychology
        • issues relating to EWT and the cognitive interview


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