Cognitive Psychology

All the key terms needed to know for the cognitive psychology exam!!!

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  • Created by: Becca
  • Created on: 08-11-10 21:11


  • The process by which we store and retrieve information everyday of our lifes.
  • Psychologists think of the mind like a computer, because we input data and then process the data that was inputed. Afterwards there is an output which is the decision make during the processing.
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Information Processing

The processing where information is taken in by the senses (touch, taste, smell, sight and sound), analysed and then responded to.

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Levels of processing

Craik and Lockheart suggested three ways information is processed:

1) Structural Processing - processing the information about what things look like.

2) Phonetic Processing - Processing the information about what something sounds like.

3) Semantic Processing - Processing information about what something means.

Semantic processing is the deepest level of processing, as it involves more cognitive work and is more likely to be remembered. Where as Structural processing is the shallowest form of processing as its less likely to be remembered.

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  • Is when you experience not being able to remember a fact or event
  • some theorists say memories are permanently lost from the brain through trace decay
  • There are two main explainations of forgetting:

1) Cue-dependency

2) Repression

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Tulving (1972) says that forgetting takes place when have the information we need, but lack the cues to access the memory.

  • Cues can be thought of like the contents page in a text book, as they are pieces of information guiding us to the memories.
  • Also this is where the idea of 'tip of the tongue' comes from, as you know you have the information, but are unable to retrieve it.
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  • Freud (1894) says we forcibly forget facts or events that provoke anxiety or unhappiness, inorder to protect ourselves.
  • He also believed repressed memories were still active in the mind, but the individual is unaware of them.
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