# Core Studies - Cognitive Approach

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## Cognitive - Loftus & Palmer (exp 1)

Aim: To investigate the accuracy of memory and whether the phrasing of a question could influence the answers people give to questions about car accidents.

Method: Lab experiment; Independent measures design; 45 students (24 male, 19 female) Participants shown 7 film clips of different traffic accidents (originally made as part of a driver safety film). After each clip, the participants were given a questionnaire which asked them to describe the accident and then answer a series of questions.
In each questionnaire there was one critical question: 'How fast were the cars going when they -hit- eachother?' However only 9 participants were asked this and the other 4 groups were given the verb 'smashed', 'bumped', 'collided', or 'contacts' in place of 'hit'. Experiment lasted 1 hour 30 minutes.

Results: Participants given the verb 'smashed' gave a mean estimation of 10.46mph, whereas those given the verb 'hit' gave a mean estimation of 8mph

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## Cognitive - Loftus & Palmer (exp 2)

Aim: To find out if the verb 'smashed' affected a persons memory in other ways that just with speed estimations.

Method: 150 students, shown a 1-minute film which contained a 4-second car accident, then asked to fill in a questionnaire asking them to describe the accident in their own words. They were then asked specific questions about the accident.
The critical question asked was about the speed at which the vehicles were travelling. 50 p's were asked 'How fast were the cars going when they hit eachother?', 50 p's asked 'How fast were the cars going when they smashed into eachother?' and 50 p's were in a control group and not asked any question on speed.
One week later, p's returned and were asked more questions about the film without seeing it again. The critical question was 'did you see any broken glass?'

Results: 16 p's in the 'smashed' condition said yes to seeing broken glass, only 7 in the 'hit' condition said yes, and 6 in the control group.

It's believed for complex events, 2 kinds of information are stored in memory: Information from the original event, post-event information. When an event is remembered, we reconstruct it.

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## Cognitive - Baron Cohen (1997)

Background: Theory of mind - The ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from ones own. (i.e. put themselves in someone elses shoes)

Aim: To find out why adults with autism have problems with social relationships and to develop an advanced test for Theory of Mind with autism.
- Adults with Asperger Syndrome can't interpret states of mind from 'reading eyes'         - Females would perform better than males on Theory of Mind tasks.
- If participants had difficulty with Happe's Strange Stories they would also have difficulty with the new test.

Method: 16 p's with Aspergers Syndrome (13 male, 3 female) recruited using an advert in the National Autistic Society magazine; 50 p's with no history of psychiatric disorders and presumed to be of normal intelligence (i.e. 'normal' group); 10 adult patients with Tourettes syndrome (8 men, 2 women). All groups age-matched, p's with Tourettes were used because of the similarities between autism and TS (i.e. all developmental disorders experienced since childhood

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## Cognitive - Baron Cohen (1997)

Procedure: 'The Eyes Task' comprises photographs of eyes on 25 different faces (male +female). The photos were taken from magazines and standardised (same size, all black and white, all of same regions) Each picture was shown for 3 seconds, p's had to select between 2 terms printed under each picture - one mental state term and its 'foil' (i.e. concerned/unconcerned, friendly/hostile)
'Strange Stories Task' used on groups 1 and 3 to test the validity of the Eyes Task as a test of ToM. If it's a valid test then performance on the Eyes Task should correlate with it.
'Control Tasks' used to check whether difficulties with the Eyes Task might be due to other factors. P's in group 1 given 2 control tasks - gender recognition of Eyes Task (identifying gender of eyes used) and basic emotion recognition (asked to judge photos of whole faces displaying 6 basic emotions identified by Ekman)

Results: Autistic - mean 16.3 correct on Eyes Task, range 10, mean 24.1 on gender
Normal - mean of 20.3 on Eyes, range of 9, mean of 23.3 on gender.
Tourettes - mean of 20.4 on Eyes, range of 9, mean of 23.7 on gender.

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## Cognitive - Savage Rumbaugh

Aim: To study the language acquisition of 2 pygmy chimpanzees compared to 2 'common' chimpanzees. To describe the first instance in which non-humans have acquired language acquisition without specific training.

Method: Longitudinal case study of Kanzi and Mulika (pygmy - bonobo - chimps), and Sherman and Austin (common chimps).
Indoors, Kanzi used a battery-powered keyboard with symbols that brighten when touched, then a speech synthesiser speaks the words. Outdoors, Kanzi uses a laminated copy of the keyboard to point to.
A record was kept of Kanzis language development for 17 months from the age of 2.5 years. An automatic computerized record made from his keyboard use and notes from observers when outside.
Kanzis symbol use was recorded as 'correct', 'incorrect', 'spontaneous', 'imitation', or 'structured'. A record was kept of whether his behaviour matched his symbolic utterance.

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## Cognitive - Savage Rumbaugh

Results: Kanzi started using lexigrams from observing his mother. Mulika, started using them earlier but not appropriately. Kanzi acquired 46 words, Mulika acquired 37.

Vocabulary test - Kanzi matched 55/69 lexigram photos to symbols. Mulika matched 41/42. Sherman and Austin matched 30/30.
Kanzi matched 56/59 lexigram photos to English words and Mulika matched 36/41. Sherman matched 2/30 and Austin 3/30.

Kanzi and Mulika demonstrated a greater use of specific and untutored gestures.

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