Cognitive Psychology Notes

Detailed notes on the cognitive pyschology unit; hope they help :) x

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Cognitive Psychology
Thinking -
Problem Solving
Decision Making
Memory - This involves three processes encoding, storage and retrieval; which is similar to a
computer (input process output), the only difference being we as humans are influenced by our
perspective of things whereas computers save it and retrieve data as it is entered.
External and internal factors can affect this method (encoding storage retrieval) of memorising
External Internal
Environment ­ Social & Geographical Emotions
Level of Concentration Health - Medical Condition/Disability/Cold Etc
Amount of Information Hunger & Tiredness
There are three types of memory:
Sensory Memory
Short Term Memory
Long Term Memory
Short and long term memory is described using three things: capacity (how much you remember),
duration (how long you remember it in seconds of minutes) and encoding (what way you remember
the information - visual, auditory or semantic).
Sensory Memory

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Cognitive Psychology
Sperling (1960) carried out a study to discover the duration of information in sensory memory. He
used what is called a partial report method, in which participants were presented with an array of
letters in a 4 x 3 matrix:
This information was presented through a tachistoscope. The seconds for which the slides were
presented was varied. The participants were then asked to recall a particular line.…read more

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Cognitive Psychology
Aims: Peterson and Peterson aimed to study how long information remains in short term
memory without rehearsal.
Procedure: Participants were shown trigrams consisting of three consonants (e.g. hwr, jrq, klp).
Recall of these trigrams was required after a delay of 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, or 18 seconds. Between
the presentation of the trigram and the time asked to recall it participants were asked to count
backwards in threes from a random 3 digit number (e.g.…read more

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Cognitive Psychology
The studies of memory are not ecologically valid. Experiments are carried out in a lab are not
meaningful and they have no mundane realism therefore we can't generalise because of other
Long Term Memory (LTM)
It is impossible to measure and may be limitless.
Whitinger (1975) -
Aims: To find out how long LTM is.
Procedure: He carried out a study on very long LTM using photographs from high school books.…read more

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Cognitive Psychology
Theory of Memory No.…read more

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Cognitive Psychology
Evidence FOR Multi-Store Model of Memory
Peterson + Peterson (1959) - STM Duration, Trigrams, Count Back in 3's, Showed
That Information Had To Be Rehearsed To Go Into LTM.
Atkinson (1970) - Primacy + Recency Effect - Recency Effect Is Evidence For STM
Baddeley Study (1966) - Words That Sounded Similar In STM Were Confused
Because In STM The Brain Encodes Information Acoustically, Therefore We Have An STM.…read more

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Cognitive Psychology
information was kept in STM. Therefore, people have different ways of organising
information in STM and recall doesn't depend on rehearsal but on what you do with the
information in STM.
Evaluation of Multi-Store Model of Memory
Good evidence of the existence of two stores - STM & LTM.
Assumes there is one type of LTM.
It is over simplified; it assumes that the transfer of information is simply through rehearsal.…read more

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Cognitive Psychology
of the letter pair that followed it, (e.g. A is followed by B: BA). At the same time, they had to
do a task that involved the phonological loop or the central executive as well as the
phonological loop. The reasoning performance slowed down with the additional task when it
involved the central executive, but not when it involved the phonological loop. However this
study lacks mundane realism because we don't often have to do this kind of task in real life.…read more

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Cognitive Psychology
Children up to the age of 13 were more likely than adults to make an identification when the
culprit wasn't there.
Bronfenbrenner (1988) presented different age groups with misleading information about an
incident; 2 days later, their memory was tested. He found memory was only slightly affected by age
when no misleading information was presented. Memory accuracy was much lower in younger than in
older children when misleading info had been given.
Anxiety can affect a person's eye witness testimony.…read more

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Cognitive Psychology
Bartlett (1932) came up with the idea of `schemas' he believed that recall is subject to personal
interpretation dependent on our learnt or cultural norms and values. Schema simply means an
organized packet of information which is stored in long term memory. Bartlett also believed that our
reconstructive memory uses schemas (we fill in the gaps based on what we think might happen -
Bower, Black & Turner (1979) showed that most people share similar schemas.…read more


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