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Key terms
Information processing ­ what the cognitive approach is about, including input, processing
and output and how these work.
Memory ­ encoding, storage and retrieval, explained in different ways by different
Forgetting ­ not remembering which has more than one explanation.
Storage ­ how information is retained in the brain ready for retrieval.
Retrieval ­ getting stored information out of the memory.
Memory, forgetting, problem solving, perception, language and thought are all studied within the
cognitive approach.…read more

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Brains work like computers
Both brains and computers have input, processing and output.
Inputs for computers include: Keyboard, mouse, voice recognition etc.
Humans' inputs are the senses: touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing.
A difference between the two is that, a computer perceives all of the input, whereas the human
brain only perceives a small part.
Once the information has been input, both the computer, and human brain process the information.…read more

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Experimental research methods
Experimental methods are used to find out whether a specific factor has an effect on a specific
aspect of human behaviour or the mental process. For example:
Do children who take vitamin pills have a higher IQ than those who don't?
If women look at magazines with pictures of models does it lower their self esteem?
Does taking Prozac make people feel less depressed?
There are 3 types of experiment:
1.…read more

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Strengths ­
Takes place in a more natural environment, so has higher ecological validity.
Usually have as many controls as lab experiments, so cause and effect can be established and
the experiment can be replicated.
Weaknesses ­
Due to the natural setting, it is harder to control all the variables of the experiment, so there
may be some extraneous variables effecting results.
Natural circumstances can change, so it will be difficult to replicate the experiment in exactly
the same situation.
3.…read more

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Aims and hypothesis
Aim ­ a general statement regarding the purpose of an investigation
To investigate the relationship between food additives and hyperactive behaviour
To find out whether playing GTA makes boys more aggressive
Hypothesis ­ a precise, testable statement about the expected outcome of an experiment
The more additives a person eats, the more hyperactive they will be.…read more

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Other variables ­
Extraneous variables (outside variables). When these are uncontrolled they are called confounding
The two types are:
Participant (age, gender, mood)
Situational (temperature, noise, interruptions)
In an experiment, the researcher must control as many variables as possible (other than the IV). The
aim is to test whether a change in the IV results in a change in the DV. This means that it's important
to make sure that nothing else can affect results (such as participant or situational variables).…read more

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Experimental (participant) design
Independent groups ­
This involves separate groups of participants. Each group will be tested in a different condition to the
For example if a psychologist was doing an experiment on the effects of caffeine on reactions; one
group would be given caffeine and the other wouldn't. Both groups' reactions would be tested.…read more

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Participant variables ­ differences due to age, gender, health etc.
Remedy ­
Counterbalancing ­ participants are split into two groups; one group does condition A
followed by B, and the other group does condition B followed by A (ABBA).
Matched pairs design ­
Participants are matched, based on characteristics that are relevant to the experiment (IQ, age,
gender) and then they are separated into groups. This means that each group is as similar as possible.…read more


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