cognitive approach

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cognitive approach


1. the importance of information processing

active processes of information, interpret and evaluate events

cognitive processes: attention, perception, memory and language work together

schemas: illustrate how these processes work

cat: pay attention, acknowledge features, search memory, say its a cat

2. computer analogy

mind is liked to a computer

input (take in) - process (store or change) - output (recall)

hardware (brain), software (cognitive processes)

memory: info from senses, store in STM or LTM, recall 

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cognitive approach


attribution: explaining the behaviour of other people

attribution theory: set of ideas aiming to explain why we make certain attributions

heider: dispositional (internal): personality/ situational (external) attribution: environment and sitution

man gives money to charity: internally - kind/ external - pressured by others

kelley: co-variation model

consistency: behaving the same in all situations/ distinctiveness: behaving the same in different situations/ consensus: whether others are behaving in this way

high consistency, low in distinctiveness and consensus = internal/ high in all 3 = external

Rob laughs at friends, only at friends, everyone laughs at friends = friends is a funny show

fundamental attribution error: mistakes especially the dispositional, ignore environment

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cognitive approach


assumption: active processes, interpret and evaluate events

aim: replace unwanted faulty thoughts with positive thinking

link: focuses on a persons behaviour being influeced by how the person thinks


short term, once a week for 5-20 sessions, breaking down problmes into simple components

becks cognitive theory: dysfunctional automatic thoughts, negative view

dysfunctional thought diary, rate, rational response, re-rate

therapy during therapy: challenge thoughts by asking for evidence to support it

David & Avellino report: highest success rate, treat OCD, depressiona and eating disorders.

therapist must be qualified and client must see a problem and willing to change

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cognitive approach

Strength and weaknesses

+ practical applications

treating depression: replace negative thoughts,external validity, general to real life

loftus and palmer: used leading questions to see its effect on memory recall

+ lab experiments

loftus and palmer: artifical enviroment, objective, replicable, measured, check validity

- reductionist and oversimplifies behaviour

input/ process/ output - computer = passive/ human = active processors, forget, emotions

- ignores the role of genetics

CBT: depression is treated by encouraging positive thinking, ignores genetics limiting treatment

depression is linked to low levels of serotonin but this approach ignores this

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cognitive approach


lab experiments

pure science, objective, scientific, cognitive processes, manipulates the IV to see effects on DV

loftus and palmer: IV (verb) DV (speed estimate)

+ quantitative data, control extraneous variables

- demand characteristics, L&P: smashed and bumped

case studies of brain damaged patients

long term, damage in certain area- certain problems with cognitive functioning, clive wearing

+ rare opportunity, increase understannding of brain

- brain structure & cognitive functioning is highly complex, massive interconnections between areas

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