Psychology- Unit 1 (Research studies)

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Psychology Unit 1 Research Studies
Milner et al (1957) Case study of HM (support for Cognitive Approach)
Cognitive psychologists believe different types of memory are separate systems in brain.
Case study of HM supported this by showing STM and LTM must be based in different
brain structures.
HM was patient with severe and frequent epilepsy.
His seizures based in brain structure called hippocampus.
In 1953, doctors surgically removed part of the brain around this area.
Operation reduced epilepsy, but led to memory loss.
Could still form STM's but unable to form new LTM's.
For example
could read something over and over without realising he'd read it before
also moved house and had difficulty recalling new route to his house
however, could still talk and show previous skills (procedural memory)
From tests, found that his episodic memory (for past events) and semantic memory (for
knowledge, eg. word meanings) more affected than procedural memory
Case studies can be used to test a theory
Difficult to generalise to `normal' individuals
Individual differences someone else might have responded differently
Gardner and Gardener (1969) ­ teaching ASL to a chimp (applying animal research
to humans)
Washoe, a chimpanzee, was raised as a human child and taught ASL (American Sign
By end of 22nd month of project, Washoe learnt atleast 34 signs
Development in chimp, appeared to follow same patterns as language learnt in
development in children (both speaking and those using ASL)
Washoe learnt language at similar rates to children of same age
Language acquisition seemed to require interaction with caregivers and communication
in everyday situations

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However, she did not learn grammar
Can be applied to human cognitive abilities helps develop theories on how humans
learn language
Ethical considerations Washoe taken from wild and deprived of other chimps for
External validity not possible to accurately generalise results from chimp to human
Peterson and Peterson (1959) ­ Duration of STM (using Nonsense Trigrams)
Ppts shown nonsense trigrams (3 random consonants, eg.…read more

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Shows evidence of VLTMs in `real life' setting
Recognition better than recall may be a huge store of information but not always easy
to access it all (may need a cue to get to it)
High ecological validity field experiment
Better recall than other studies on LTM shows meaningful information stored better
Less reliable hard to control variables (no way of knowing exactly why they recalled
Can't be generalised to other types of info held in LTM this type of info could…read more

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Independent groups design
Ppts given four sets of words that were either
Acoustically similar (eg. man, mad, mat)
Acoustically dissimilar (eg. pit, cow, bar)
Semantically similar (eg. big, large, huge)
Semantically dissimilar (eg.…read more

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According to WMM, both these tasks use the phonological loop (has limited
capacity) and can't cope with both tasks. Performance on one or both tasks will
be affected
However, if two tasks involve different systems, performance isn't affected on
either task. (eg. saying "the, the, the" whilst tracking moving object)
Shallice and Warrington (1974) provide support for WMM through case study of KF
KF was a brain damaged patient who had impaired STM.…read more

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Shows there are implications in police interviews when it comes to EWT
Artificial experiment watching a video is not as emotionally arousing as a real life
event. In fact, a later study found that witnesses who thought they'd witnessed a real
robbery gave a more accurate description of robber.
Demand characteristics reduce reliability and validity (eg.…read more

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Psychologists believe small increases in anxiety and arousal may increase accuracy of
memory, but high levels have negative effect on accuracy. In violent crimes (where levels
likely to be high), witnesses focus on central details (eg. weapon) and ignore other
peripheral details.…read more

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Staged situation of intruder carrying blue rucksack entered classroom and stole a slide
2 days later, ppts were question about event
Independent groups design
Either questioned using standard interview or using cognitive interview
Early in questioning, ppts were asked "was the guy in the green rucksack nervous?"
Later in interview, ppts were asked what colour the man's rucksack was.…read more


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