Slides in this set
The Cognitive Approach
Cognitive psychologists try to explain behaviour by looking at our
perception, language, attention and memory and is therefore
referred to as the information processing approach.
Limitations : Most research is done in laboratory
conditions and produces artificial results with low ecological
validity. However, it does enable psychologists to control
variables so experiments can be replicated to get reliable
results, which are representative and generalisable.
Psychologists also need to consider individual differences, especially in case studies, as
their results can not always be generalised.
Cognitive psychologists believe that the different types of memory are separate systems in
the brain. The case study of HM supports this by showing STM and LTM must be based in
different brain structures.
Milner et al 1957 - H.M.
HM was a patient with severe and frequent epilepsy. His seizures were based in the
hippocampus of the brain so doctors decided to remove part of his brain around this area. The
operation reduced the epilepsy but prevented him from forming new LTMs. Tests found that
his episodic memory (for past events) and semantic memory (for knowledge) was affected
considerably. However, he could still talk and show previous skills (procedural memory).…read more
Applying animal research to humans
Gardener and Gardener 1969 teaching American Sign Language (ASL)
to a chimp
A Chimpanzee was raised like a human child an taught ASL. By the end of the 22 nd month of
the project, he learnt 34 signs.
The development of language in chimpanzee appeared to follow the same pattern as
language development in children as she learnt language at a similar rate to children of her
Additionally, language acquisition seemed to require interaction with caregiver and
communication in everyday situations. However, she did not learn grammar.
Ethical considerations as the chimpanzee
was taken from the wild.
We can't generalise animal research to
humans because humans have higher
cognitive processes external validity.…read more
Introduction to Short and Long-Term
According to Reber 1985, memory has not been defined as a single process or
fact and several theories exist about its nature, character and structure.
Therefore, memory can be :
- A cognitive thinking process
- A way of retaining information
- A number of connected stores
Memory is generally thought to be made up of three parts:
- Sensory Register
- Short-term memory
- Long-term memory
Both short-term memory (STM) and Long-term memory (LTM) are studied in
terms of their ability to encode (make sense of) information, capacity (how
much information) and duration (how long information can be stored).…read more
Capacity of short term memory
Capacity refers to the amount of information that can be stored in the short-term
· Miller suggested that most people store about 7+-2 independent or discrete items in
short term memory. These items may be numbers, letters or words etc. Miller
referred to each of these items as chunks eg: 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 = Seven discrete chunks.
Miller further suggested that the capacity of the short term memory may be enlarged
by grouping items together by associations/links they have with each other eg; 1+1
2+2 3+3 4+4 5+5 6+6 7+7 = Seven discrete chunks but combined according to same
numbers therefore increasing capacity of short term memory.
Items are chunked according to the meanings they have in long-term memory. Miller
therefore suggested that about seven chunks of information may be stored in short
term memory whether in single or combined forms give or take one or two chunks,
"The magical number seven plus or minus two".
However, Simon 1974 found STM decreased as chunks got bigger.
· Participants were given 'sentences' of varying lengths that approximated 'true'
English. They were asked to recall words in the correct order given in the sentence.
The more sense the sentence made, in terms of grammar, the better the recall. This
suggests that the semantic (meaning) and grammatical structure, which is probably
stored in LTM, is used to help increase amount of information stored in STM by
combining items to create larger chunks. Participants still recalled about seven pieces
of information.…read more