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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…

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2. 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…

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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…

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was conducted in a hospital ward), but as many controls and variables are manipulated as possible.

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…

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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



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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…

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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.…

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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…


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