Cognitive approach in psychology

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  • The cognitive approach in psychology
    • Basic assumptions
      • Mental processes lie between stimulus and response
      • Humans are information processors
      • Humans actively manipulate and organise information from the environment
      • The mind operates in the same way as a computer - both encode, store and output data
    • Strengths
      • Focuses on internal mental processes unlike behaviourism
      • Uses scientific experimental methods, unlike humanistic psychologists
      • Models such as the information-processing approach have been effectively used to explain mental processes
    • Limitations
      • Cognitive models have been criticised as being over-simplistic -- ignoring the complexity of the mind
      • Humans are viewed as machines with the crude comparison of the mind to a computer (software and hardware)
      • Many cognitive theories are based on the performance of artificial laboratory tasks therefore unrepresentative of everyday behaviours
    • Information-processing model
      • Mind = software
      • Brain=hardware
      • Can be used to explain everyday behaviour
    • Computational and connectionist models
      • emphasis is now largely to do with the use of stimulations to study how human intelligence is structured
        • What is involved when info is processed rather than how much info is processed
      • Computational model seeks to explain how our cognitive system operates in terms of goals, plans and actions involved with performing tasks
      • Connectionist model uses neural analogy
        • mind is made up of neurones
          • Forms an activating pattern which represents a meaningful/learn association between 2 or more environmental stimuli
    • Applications
      • Eye-witness testimony


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