Cognitive Psychology

on the AQA A spec for AS unit 1

my revision notes for cognitive psychology

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  • Created on: 05-01-13 18:01
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Cognitive Psychology
Milner et al (1957): Case Study of HM
Patient with severe epilepsy
Seizures based in the hippocampus
In 1953; doctors remove this part of the brain#
Results: reduces epilepsy but suffers memory loss. Unable to form new LTM. Could still talk
and use his procedural memory. Episodic memory and semantic memory more affected than
procedural memory.
Gardner and Gardner: Teaching ASL to a chimp
Baby chimp raised like a child and taught ASL
By the end of the 22nd month, The chimp knew 34 signs.
Conclusion: development of language in chimp followed that of a child. Language acquisition
seemed to require interaction with caregivers. However did not learn grammar.
Evaluation: Ethical considerations: chimp taken from wild and deprived of own kind.
External validity: not possible to accurately generalise.
Short Term And Long Term Memory
Differ in terms of 1) Duration ­ how long a memory lasts
2) Capacity ­ how much can be held in the memory
3) Encoding - transferring memory into code, creating a `trace'
STM -> limited capacity and duration
LTM -> unlimited capacity and permanent
Peter and Peterson (1959): STM and trigrams
Pps shown nonsense trigrams and asked to recall them after a set amount of seconds. During
pause, asked to count backwards in 3's from a given number ­ interference task
After 18 seconds, only 10% were recalled correctly
When rehearsal is prevented, very little can stay in STM for longer than 18 seconds
Reliable ­ lab exp ­ tight control. However trigrams artificial and lacks eco val. Meaningful
memories may last longer in stm. 1 type of stimulus used ­ duration may depend on stimulus.
Each pp saw many trigrams ­ led toconfusion.

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Bahrick et al 1975: LTM
392 pps asked to list their classmates (free recall). Then shown photos and asked to recall
names of people shown (photo recognition) or given names to match to the photo (name
Within 15 years, 90% of names and faces and 605 acuuracte on free recall. After 30, free
recall declines to 30%. 48 years, name recognition 80% accurate.
Shows evidence of VLTM in `real life'.…read more

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Multi-store model; Atkinson and shiffrin.
3 stores; sensory, short term and long term
Info from our environment initially goes into our sensory memory. Whatever you pay attention to
or think about will be encoded and passed into the STM
STM has a finite duration, but if info is processed, it can be transferred into the LTM. Info can
potentially remain there forever.
Primacy effect ­ pps show they can recall first few items of a list better than those in the middle.…read more

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Working Memory Model; Baddeley and Hitch 1974.
Their model proposes that STM is made up of different stores.
Central executive is the key component. Has limited capacity and controls the two slave systems:
Articulatory-phonological loop: holds speech based information. Contains a phonological
store (inner ear) and an articulatory process. (inner voice)
Visio-spatial sketchpad: deals with temporary storage of visual and spatial information.
Baddeley and Hitch based their models on results from studies using interference tasks.…read more

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Eyewitness Testimony
Evidence provided by people who witnessed a particular crime. Relies on recall from
Includes description of criminals and crime scenes.
Witnesses are often inaccurate in recollection. This has implications during police
Cognitive psychologists work to find out what factors affect the accuracy and how it
can be improved in interviews.
Loftus & Palmer: 1974
Two experiments.
1. Shown a film of a multiple car crash.…read more

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Valentine & Coxon (1997)
3 groups of pps (children, adults, elderly) watched a video of a kidnapping.
Then asked a series of leading and non leading questions
Elderly people and children answered more incorrectly to nonleading questions
Children misled more by leading questions
Age has an effect on accuracy of EWT
Implications in law when children or elderly questioned. Exp artificial and so wasn't as
emotional ­ study lacks external validity.…read more

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Indep. Groups ­ pps in cog would have been naturally less suspectible to leading qns
than other group
Strategies for Memory Improvement
1. Jenkins and Russel ­ studied recall of words lists. Contained words that were highly
associated. Found participants tended to group associated words together even if
they hadn't been together in the list.
2. Tulving (1962) ­ gave his pps a list of words to learn. Found that pps recall came
increasingly consistent.…read more


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