AS psychology, AQA, Unit 1

The document includes the whole material for Unit 1 in AQA psychology, summarised in 36 pages. It is the same order as in the specification and the Word document allows you to add or delete things that will make it more suitable for you. In general is good template for what you need to know. I apologise in advance for the spelling mistakes in the document, I fixed them as much as I could, however, what ever you don't like, feel free to correct. 

The materials used:

1. Exam revision notes, AQA (AS) Psychology by Jean-Marc Lawton

2. AS psychology (AQA) by Mike Cardwell and Cara Flanagan - second and third edition

3. AS psychology A (AQA) by Nelson Thornes


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  • Created on: 11-12-12 23:56
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Cognitive psychology
The nature of memory
Memory at its most basic consists of 3 important stores (sensory memory, short term memory and long term
memory) and 3 important processes (encoding, storage and retrieval).
1. Encoding ­ the way information is changed so that it can be stored in memory. Information enters the brain via
senses, e.g. eyes and ears, it is then stored in various forms:
Acoustic encoding: the sound of a stimulus.
Visual coding: the physical appearance of a stimulus.
Semantic coding: the meaning of the stimulus.
For example, the word `dog' could be coded as a visual representation of either the printed word or the pictorial
image. You could form an acoustic representation of the sound of the word by saying it under your breath.
Alternatively you could form a semantic representation, which depends on your personal meaning of the word.
It is not possible to ask people what codes they use because memory processes are often unconscious. Much of
the evidence about coding comes from studies into substitution errors. These occur when people confuse on item
for another, e.g. if they confuse letters that sound alike, it indicates that acoustic coding is being used. If letters that
look similar are confused, it indicates that acoustic coding is being used.
2. Storage once the information has been converted to a suitable format for the type of memory store, it has to be
placed in the store. Each store has a certain capacity and duration.
Capacity is a measure of how much can be held in memory in terms of bits of information such as number or digits.
Duration is a measure of how long a memory lasts before it is no longer available.
3. Retrieval refers to the process of accessing the information that has been stored in memory. Each store differs in
the way this is achieved and the effect it has on the information itself. Retrieving information from long term memory
can actually alter the information and is a key factor that explains how memories for events may be very inaccurate.
The multistore model of memory
Multistore model was proposed by Atkinson and Shiffrin, who envisaged memory as a flow of information through
an informationprocessing system.
According to the multistore model of memory can be explained in terms of the three stores: sensory store, short
term store and long term store, and the processes of attention and rehearsal.
Information first enters the sensory store directly from the senses. It remains in the sensory store for a maximum
duration of around 2 seconds before it decays and is replaced with new information. If attention is paid to the
information in the sensory store then it can be passed to the short term store. STM has very limited capacity and
information is quickly lost through decay or displacement. Transfer from the short term store to the long term store
is achieved by a process called elaborative rehearsal. The capacity of the store is potentially unlimited, and encodin
is primarily in a semantic format (information is stored by its meaning). Forgetting can occur due to problems with
retrieving the memory trace among numerous similar memories.
Evidence for the separate memory stores in the multistore model
1. Sensory memory
Sperling provided evidence to support the limited duration of the sensory store. He used a chart containing three
rows of four letters, which he displayed for 50 milliseconds to his participants. Participants were immediately asked
to recall as many of the letters as possible and could usually recall only about four or five. However, they frequently
reported having been aware of more letters even though they could no longer recall them. Sperling decided to test

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He trained participants to distinguish between three tones, which he played
after the exposure of letters. He then exposed the chart for the same amount of time (50 milliseconds) but, this time
played different tone as soon as the chart had disappeared. Participants were instructed to recall each row of letters
in response to tone. Under these circumstances, participants were able to recall, an average of three items from
which ever row had been cued by the tone.…read more

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MSM provides good frame work to understand how memory works, and act as a base for further researches. Also,
there are many evidence to support the existence of distinct memory stores:
1.…read more

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Baddeley and Hitch developed the working memory model as they did not agreed that STM is as simplistic as the
multistore model represented it, i.e. consisted of number of different stores rather than being a single one.…read more

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The task was
carried out on its own or simultaneously with one of the following:
Reciting the alphabet
Counting from 1
Alternating between letters and numbers (i.e. A1, B1, C3, D4, E5, F6 etc.)
The generated digit string became considerably less random in Condition 3 when participants had to switch from
alphabet to numbers at the same time. Baddeley concluded that both the random number generation task and the
alternation task were competing for the same executive resources.…read more

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The concept of the `central executive' is the most important, but it has reminded vague. It is also thought to have
limited capacity, which has not been quantified.
It may be that there are more components rather than single central executive, e.g. a patient who, after the removal
of brain tumour, was found to perform well on reasoning tasks, but not as well on decisionmaking tasks.…read more

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Research support for this theory and its relevance to eyewitness testimony can be found in a field experiment carried o
by Peters (1988) using participants who were visiting a health centre for routine injections. On arrival at the health cent
participants met a researcher who took their details and recruited them for the study. They then visited the nurse who
gave them their injections before theory went back home.…read more

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Ceci and Bruck theorise that one reason why children may be inaccurate in providing EWT is their lack of appropria
schema for the witnessed scene. This makes it difficult for them to encode the event accurately. However, Ceci and
Bruck acknowledged that there are times when a child can be more accurate than an adult. Adult's prior knowledge
and expectations may sometimes cause them to see things that are not really there.…read more

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The term `leading question' refers to a question that is worded in such a way that it might bias a respondent`s
Research undertaken by Loftus and Palmer showed that participants' recall is influenced by the questions they are
asked. They showed participants a film of a car accident and then asked them `How fast were the cars going when the
hit each other?' All participants were asked the same type of question, although the word `hit' was substituted with
`smashed', `collided', `bumped' or `contacted'.…read more

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Although much more information was recalled in the interview, error ratings were very similar. However, as this was
an artificial situation, the study can be faulted for its validity.
Fisher studied real interviews by experienced detective officers in Florida over a fourmonth period. They found that
witnesses were frequently bombarded with series of brief, direct and closeended questions aimed to elicit facts.
However, the sequencing of these questions often seemed to be out of sync with the witnesses' own mental
representation of the event.…read more


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