Cognitive Psychology

The cognitive approach to psychology  - how we interpret the world

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The Cognitive Approach - Intro

- Cognitive Pscyhology is about how we think.
- Cognitive Psychologists try to explain behaviour by looking at our perception, language, attention and memory. 
- Computers/computer models are often used to explain how we think and behave. humans are treated as information processors and behaviour is explained in terms of information processing. Cognitive Psychology is sometimes called the information processing approach.
- Cognitive Psychology has limitations - research is often carried out in artificial situations(lab exp) - reduces ecological validity -  fails to take individual differences into account. 

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Cognitive Psychology developed as the Computer Age

- People began to see similarities in how computers and humans make sense of information.
- Computer terms are often used in cognitive psychology - the brain is described as the processor (makes things happen) -it has data input into it, and output from it. Some parts of the brain form networks (connections) - other parts work in serial or parallel.
- Cognitive pscyhologists use computers to create computational models of the human mind. 

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Cognitive psychology - Research Methods

Laboratory Experiments - scientific & reliable - great control over variables
                               LOW ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY

Field Experiments - natural situations (school environment) = MORE ecological validity
                               LESS CONTROL OVER VARIABLES

Natural Experiments - naturally occuring situations = high ecological validity

                                LESS RELIABLE - CANT CONTROL VARIABLES 

Brain Imaging - MRI scans - show blood flow in different areas of the brain

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Cognitive Approach - Case Studies

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