Cognitive Approach (3)
Strengths:A main strength of cognitive psychology is that this approach has tended to use a scientific approach through the use of laboratory experiments. A strength of using laboratory experiments is that they are high in control therefore researchers are able to establish cause and effect. For example Loftus and Palmer were able to control the age of the participants, the use of video and the location of the experiment. All participants were asked the same questions (apart from changes in the critical words), and the position of the key question in the second was randomised. Furthermore, such standardised experiments are easy to test for reliability. However, as many cognitive studies are carried out in laboratory settings they can lack ecological validity. When cognitive processes such as memory and theory of mind are studied in artificial situations it may be difficult to generalise the findings to everyday life. A further strength of the cognitive approach is the useful contributions that have arisen from this approach. For example, many modern types of therapy are based on the cognitive approach. Understanding cognitive processes allows us to help people to improve their cognitive processes such as memory and language. The Baron-Cohen et al. study enables us to better understand the behaviour of people with autism, Loftus and Palmers’ study highlights the limitations of eye-witness testimonies and the ape research may offer strategies to help children with language difficulties to develop language or to use strategies such as the lexigram system. Furthermore the cognitive approach has become the dominant approach in psychology particularly since it has become allied with neurology. The cognitive approach nowadays is often called cognitive science and is able to provide a very sophisticated understanding of how the brain processes information.