Cognitive Psychology

Notes for Cognitive Psychology from AQA A AS Level

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Cognitive Psychology
STM duration
Peterson & Peterson: Recall tested with nonsense trigram; after this was shown PPs had to
count back in threes from a number, PPs remembered 90% at 3secs and 2% at 18secs.
Nairne: PPs asked to recall the same information, memory can last up to 96 sec.
LTM duration
Bahrick: PPs asked to recall high school photos, information can last a lifetime, 70% accuracy
after 48 years.
Shepard: 58% accuracy for memorable photos 4 months after event.
STM capacity
Jacobs: used digit span technique. Found average span for numbers was 9.3, for letters 7.3.
Suggested remembering numbers easier because there are 9 numbers and 26 letters.
George Miller: concluded span of immediate memory is seven for all digits, letters etc. Found
people remembered 5 words as well as 5 letters. (Magic number 7±2)
Simon: found shorter span for 8 word chunks than one syllable words.
Cowan: concluded STM limited to 4 chunks so not as extensive as first thought.
Vogel: capacity for visual information was about 4 items limit.
LTM capacity
Potentially unlimited
STM encoding
Baddeley: tested effects of acoustic and semantic similarity on STM. Gave PPs lists of
semantically/acoustically similar/dissimilar words. Found STM relied on acoustic and
sometimes visual.
Brandimote: found PPs encoded STM in visual code when prevented from verbal rehearsal,
so STM is also encoded visually.
Wikens: Also encodes semantically sometimes
LTM encoding
Baddeley: encoded semantically in LTM
Frost: LTM related to visual as well as semantic.
Nelson and Rothbart: found evidence of acoustic encoding.
Multi-store Model of Memory (MSM)
Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968)

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Sensory memory consists of environmental stimuli from eyes, nose, ears, tongue etc. Most receives
no attention and doesn't remain in SM for long. If attention is given data is transferred to STM.
Information here disappears quickly unless rehearsed, or if new information displaces it. STM has a
limited capacity. If elaborative rehearsal is given then the information will eventually be transferred
to LTM where it can potentially last for a lifetime.
Sperling: provided support for SM.…read more

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Baddeley and Hitch (1974)
Central Executive: Key component where all information goes, has a limited capacity, role is
to delegate tasks to its resources
Phonological loop: Deals with auditory information, made up of a phonological store (inner
ear) and articulatory process (maintenance rehearsal).
Visuo-spatial sketchpad: Deals with visual and spatial information, made up of visual cache
(store) and inner scribe (spatial relations).
Episodic Buffer: General store, relates to visual and acoustic information and hold items from
LTM.…read more

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Shows STM as an array on different kinds of memory, instead of just one store
It's not clear what exactly the central executive does. Some psychologists say its role is too
vague and some say it's the same as paying attention to a task.
EVR performed well in a task for reasoning, which suggests his central executive was intact
but had problems with decision-making, showing it was not entirely intact.…read more

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Yuille and Cutshall found when they interviewed witnesses of a real armed bank robbery;
witnesses had accurate recall 4 months after the event and even when leading questions
were used.
Acquisition or Retrieval?
Bekerian and Bowers showed that leading questions (post event information) affect recall of
information, not storage.
They showed a scene in order and found both groups (one control, one with leading
questions) had the same recall. Shows storage is unaffected.…read more

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The Yerkes Dodson law shows that EWT increases as emotional arousal increases until a
certain point but then decreases as emotional arousal increases further.
The weapon focus effect by Loftus: accuracy of EWT is affected negatively in violent crimes,
arousal may focus witness on central details and not peripheral. Method: after a discussion in
the next room a man enters with greasy hands and a pen in his hand ­ 49% accurate recall of
man.…read more

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Fisher and Geiselman found people remembered better when given retrieval clues. Based on
this they developed the cognitive interview, which replaced standard interview techniques.
Original CI had four components:
1. Report Everything: witness recalls everything, even if they think it irrelevant.
2. Mental reinstatement of original context: where witness mentally recreates the
3. Changing the order: alternative ways to recall through timeline (reverse order)
4. Changing the perspective: i.e. witness recalls by imagining how it would have
appeared to other witnesses.…read more

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Mnemonic techniques accelerate learning by actively linking the new information with
existing `memory hooks' created for this purpose. When these `memory hooks' are
presented, the associated new information can be recalled.
Elaborative Rehearsal
Mnemonic techniques make us elaborate the information to be remembered.
The amount of rehearsal is important (maintenance rehearsal) but the nature of rehearsal is
more important (elaborative rehearsal).
Dual-coding hypothesis
Paivio (1971) proposed that words and images are processed separately.
Concrete words, which can be made into images are double-encoded in memory.…read more


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