Unit 1 Cognitive psychology Edexcel

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Unit 1: Cognitive Psychology The Cognitive Approach
Key assumptions of Cognitive Psychology:
Cognitive psychology is concerned with internal mental processes, how we deal with information and how
we process information
It is also concerned with memory (how it works, its size, length, what information is stored, where is it
stored and when we lose information
Key assumptions of Cognitive Approach:
The brain might process information in a similar way to a computer
The information processing model and the Computer Analogy
Information processing model:
Processing is linear (information `flows' through the brain in a way that is logical)
Individual receives information from external environment, interprets it using existing memory and
then responds to it
The focus is on the process or interpretation
It is useful because: allows us to investigate cognitive events which can't directly be observed (e.g.
The Computer Analogy
Shows how the brain works by comparing it to the way something we already know works
Input (is limitless in human brain unlike computer) , storage and output (language or written word,
body language, emotions/ output is more complex in humans than a computer)
Keyboards (senses), hard drives (long term memories) audio outputs (talking)
It is useful because: helps clarify how the brain processes information since the brain is not yet
well understood
Theory on memory (1) ­ MultiStore Model of Memory
The MSM was proposed by Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968). It suggests that our memory can be understood in
terms of three different memory stores, using three cognitive processes (attention, maintenance rehearsal
and elaborative rehearsal) as follows:
Shortterm sensory store (STSS)/Sensory register ­ This receives information from the senses and is
held there for a short time (up to 2 seconds) and is modality specific (iconic, echoic and haptic). The
capacity of the STSS is surprisingly large, with some information being remembered in its entirety, but only
a small amount is attended to. Any information that is not attended to is lost.
Short term memory (STM) ­ Receives information from the STSS and in most cases stored as sound. It
has a limited capacity of 7 +/ 2 chunks and a limited duration of 30 seconds. It uses rehearsal to transfer
information to Longterm memory (LTM). Any information that is not rehearsed is lost from this store.
Longterm memory (LTM) ­ This store has the greatest duration and capacity nevertheless forgetting still
happens. Encoding in the LTM is semantic (stored on the basis of meaning). Information in this store is
maintained through rehearsal and organisation. Retrieval from LTM may use state and context cues.

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Unit 1: Cognitive Psychology The Cognitive Approach
Evaluation of Multistore model of memory
S ­ Baddeley (1966) provides evidence that encoding is different in STM and LTM. More acoustic encoding
was found in STM and more semantic encoding in LTM. Clive Wearing case is a psychological case study
that gives evidence for short term memory. The hippocampus may hold STM (Wearing's hippocampus is
damaged, so he can no longer build longterm memories).…read more

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Unit 1: Cognitive Psychology The Cognitive Approach
information and leads to better recall. The deeper the level of processing, the easier the information is to
Elaboration and Distinctiveness (Bransford et al) = (cheats to improve your memory according to LOP)
Evaluation of Levels of Processing Framework
S ­ Hyde and Jenkins (1971) show that adding meaning when processing information does mean better
recall and recognition (people remembered four times as many words when judging meaning).…read more

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Unit 1: Cognitive Psychology The Cognitive Approach
Evaluation of Craik and Tulving study
G ­ The sample size is small (only 24 participants) and can therefore not be generalised to the wider
R ­ The study was a lab experiment and had good controls and clear operationalized variables. The study
can therefore be replicated and findings are likely to be reliable.
A ­ The study reinforces the LOP framework (depth meaning a longer processing time).…read more

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Unit 1: Cognitive Psychology The Cognitive Approach
Theory on forgetting (2) ­ Cue Dependency Theory of forgetting (Tulving 1975)(accessibility
Accessibility theory = memories still exist but we have trouble retrieving them
Tulving suggested that cues are extra pieces of information that help locate a memory in the LTM.
These cues must be encoded at the same time as the memory itself
Encoding Specificity Principle = The greater the similarity between and retrieval event, the greater
the likelihood of recalling the original memory.…read more

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Unit 1: Cognitive Psychology The Cognitive Approach
Divers were tested 2 at a time and submerged 20ft underwater
They were played a taped recording of the word list through a diving communication device
The word list had 36 words and was presented twice
After a 4 minute delay, ps had to right down the words they remembered in any order, in 2 minutes
Learning and recall environment the same = 37% and 32%, Learning and recall environment
different = 23% and 24%
The…read more

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Unit 1: Cognitive Psychology The Cognitive Approach
Field experiment Fairly replicable because Hard to control all factors,
(carried out in the participants of experimental features which could make results
natural setting with as many More ecologically valid less valid
controls as possible and a than lab because they Hard to control because of
manipulated independent
take place in a natural natural setting, so may not
setting be replicable
Natural experiment IV occurs naturally, so it is Because the IV is naturally
(take place in…read more

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Unit 1: Cognitive Psychology The Cognitive Approach
Extraneous variables = any other variable apart from the IV that affects the DV
Independent variable = is changed or manipulated by the researcher
Dependent variable = is dependent on the IV, it changes as a result of manipulating the IV…read more


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