Psychology 1 - Cognitive

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Sensory Memory                         Short-Term.                                    Long Term.

Capacity: Limited                   Capacity: Limited                         Capacity: Unlimited

Duration: Very Breif               Duration: 7 Items +/-2                  Duration: Unlimited

Encoding: Visual, Auditory,    Encoding: Acoustic                      Encoding: Semantic                     Tactile coding

Distinction between STM & LTM - Glanzer and Cunitz (1966)

  • They gave their participants lists of words presented one at a time and then tested their free recall.
  • There were 2 conditions in their experiment:
  • In condition 1, participants were asked to recall the words immediately after they had been presented.
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Distinction between STM & LTM - Glanzer and Cunitz

  • In condition 2, participants were given, a distractor task after the words had been presented and had to count backwards in threes for 30 seconds before they were asked to recall the words.
  • In condition 1, Glanzer and Cunitz found the expected serial position curve.
  • However, in condition 2, they found that the distractor task had disrupted the recency effect and words from the last part of list were not well recalled.
  • They explained this by suggesting that the task of counting backwards in threes had displaced the last few words in the list (the recency portion) from the fragile STM but that the task had not affected the earlier words (the primacy portion) because they had already been rehearsed and passed into the robust LTM.
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STM - Conrad (1964).

  • Conrad showed participants a random sequence of six consonants.
  • He projected them in very rapid sequence on to a screen.
  • There were two conditions in his study.
  • The letters were acoustically similar (e.g B, G, C, T, D, V).
  • The letters were acoustically dissimlar (e.g F, J, X, M, S, R).
  • Immediately after the presentation, participants were asked to write the letters down in correct serial order.
  • RConrad found that participants requently made errors of recall.
  • The majoirty of errors involved the substitution of a similar- sounding letter (e.g a V for a D)
  • Participants found it more difficult to recall strings of letters that sounded the same than letters that sounded different.
  • The letters had been presented visually.
  • Conrad concluded that we must convert visually presented to an acoustic code in STM and that we then find it difficult to distinguish between words that sound the same, i.e there is acoustic confusion.
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LTM - Baddeley (1966).

  • Baddeley constructed a pool of short, familiar words for 4 categories.
  • Acoustically simolar words (e.g mad, map, mat, cad, cap, cat).
  • Acoustically dissimilar words (e.g pen, cow, pit, sup, day).
  • Semantically similar words (e.g tall, high, broad, wide, bag).
  • Semantically dissimlar words (e.g foul, thin, late, safe, strong).
  • For each category he presented a random sequence of five words and asked participants to write them down immediately after presentation in serial order.
  • He found that the words that sounded similar were much harder to remember than words in any of the other three categories.
  • He concluded that STM codes acoustically.
  • Baddeley then modified his experiment to test LTM.
  • He extended the length of the word lists from five words to ten and prevented the participant5s from rehearsing by interrupting them after each presentation.
  • Each list was presented four times and then recall was tested after a 20-minute interval.
  • Under these conditions he found that acoustic similarity had no effect on recall but that words that were similar in meaning were poorly recalled.
  • He concluded that LTM codes were mainly semantically.
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Strengths and Weaknesses


 Productive area for other researches to follow.

Looks at all areas of memory - SM, STM, LTM. Provides a unifying framework.


Doesn't explain how information changes codes from acoustic to semantic.

Stores are unlikely to be unitary - WMM better explains the various processing in STM. 

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Central Excecutive - Integrates material. Limited Capacity. 'The Boss'. 

Phonological Loop - Limited-capacity. Temporary memory system for holding verbal information in a speech-based form. Inner voice prepares material for speech & phonological store - inner ear holds sound based information. 

Visuo - Spatial Sketchpad  - Processing of colour, shape, objects in space, body movement.

Epesodic Buffer - Added in 2000, holds information for The Central Executive and links to LTM.

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Baddely and Hitch -WMM.

  • Devised the dual task method.
  • They asked participants to perform a reasoning task while stimultaneously reciting aloud a list of six digits.
  • They found that participants made very few errors on either the reasoning or the digit span task although the speed of verifying the sentances was slightly slower than when the task was done alone.
  • Baddeley and Hitch concluded that the short-term memorey must have more than one component and must be involved in processes other than simple storage, e.g reasoning, understanding and learning.
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Evidence for the phonological loop.

Baddeley, Thomson and Buchanan (1975) -

  • The researches gave visual presentations of word lists for very breif exposures and then asked participants to write them down in serial order.
  • In one condition, the lists consisted of 5 words taken from a pool of familiar, one-syllable English words came from a list of polysyllabic words, e.g organisation, university, association.
  • Average correct recall over several trials showed a marked superiority for the short words.
  • They called this the 'word length effect' and concluded it takes to say words rather than by the number of items.
  • They estimated this time to be 1.5 seconds.
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Strengths and Weaknesses.


Thorough explanation of STM. Explains rehearsel but recognises other ways of remembering it.  Explains STM deficits in different parts of processing. Helps us understand the link between different cognitive processes, with The Central Executive.


Little known about CE. It is thought to be to complicated to demonstrate experimentally. There may be a number of CE's for each processing mode, rather than just one. WMM doens'nt explain the relationship between the meaningfulness of information being processed and the tendency to better recall meaningful information.

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Misleading Questions.

Definition - The use of wording can change someones post event information.


  • Lotfus showed participants a film of the events leading up to a accident.
  • After they had seen the film, participants were divided into a control group and an experimental group. 
  • The control group were asked questions consistent with what they had actually seen. 'How fast was the white sports car going when it passed the stop sign?' 
  • The experimental group was asked a question that included misleadig information. 'How fast was the white sports car oing when it passed the barn while travelling along the countrynroad?'
  • There had been a stop sign in the original film but no barn. All the participants were then asked more questions on the accident. 
  • 17% in the experimentel group reported seeing a barn but only 3% of the control group made this error. 
  • Lotfus concluded taht some participants given misleading information had actually absorbed this with their original memory for the event.
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Age of witness.

Definition - Age of witness can change reliability of EWT.

Yarmey (1984) - Found that when asked questions on a staged event 80% of elderly participants compared to 20% of the younger adults failed to mention the attacker had a knife.

Poole and Lindsay (2001) - 

  • Engaged children aged 3-8 in a science demonstration. 
  • The parents then read them a story which contained some of the elements of the science demonstration but also included novel information. 
  • The children were then questioned about the science demonstration and it was found that they had incorporated much of the new information (i.e from the parents story) into their original memory.
  • In another phrase of the experiment, the children were asked to think were they got their information fro, source monitoring.
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  • Some of the children then revised their account of the demonstration and extracted the post-event information.
  • The younger children did not seem able to do this.

Methodological issues - 

W - Lab setting. Ethnocentric. Difficult to eliminate extraneus variables.

S - Applicable. Reliable. 

Ethics -

Parents gave full informed consent.

Had the right to withdraw.

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Definition - The worrying during a crime/experiment effecting what you notice around you.

Yuille & Cutshall (1986)

  • 13 Real life shooting witnesss.
  • Owner was wounded and the theif was shot dead.
  • Some witnessed close, others distant.
  • Found that witnesses gave impressivly accurate accounts several months later.
  • Closest to the event provided more details - Those distressted at the time gave more detailed testimoneys 5 month later.
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Cognitive interview.

Founded by Geiselman et al (1985) -

  • Report everything.
  • Context reinstatment.
  • Change in recall order.
  • Change in perspective.

It focuses on using open questions, minimal distractions, actively listen to whitness, pause after each question, enable whitness to use imagery.

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Geiselman et al (1985)

  • Showed participants videos of a stimulated crime and tested recall with a standard interview, the cognitive interview and recall under hypnosis and found cognitive interview elicted more information.

Cognitive interview is more time consuming and can require more training.

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Verbal - Rhymes can help recall information from LTM.

Glidden et al found that verbal mnemonics were effective in children with learning difficulties.

Imagery - Mind map  - each diagram has its own distinctive look. Acryonims & Acrostics.

Gruneberg found 30% of psycology students revised using mnemonics, especially imagery like acrynonims & acrostics.

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Learning theory.

Definition - States that the baby should attach to the first caregiver who feeds the baby. The food is the unconditioned stimulus, which causes pleasure when eaten this is the unconditioned response the caregiver becomes the conditioned stimulus.

Harlow (1959) -

  • Undermines the learning theory.
  • Harlow seperated monkey infants from their mothers.
  • He created 2 artificial wire mothers resembling monkeys.
  • One had a feeding bottle, attached the other was wrapped in soft cloth but offerd no food.
  • The monkeys spent much of their time clinging to their cloth mother, especially in times of distress.
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Bowlbys theory.

Bowlby's theory of ttachment believes mothers loving is the most important thing to develop a strong attachment with caregiver.

Critical period - Baby's should have formed an attachment with carer before age 2-3 or they are unlikely to ever form an attachment.

Social releases - Baby/infant cry when unhappy, hungry to gain attention, smile/laugh when recieved in return for pleasure.

Monotropy - Baby's only form 1 main attachment to the most important caregiver.

Continuety hypothosis - If an attachment isn't formed child is more likely to turn into a delicrent and have social and behavioural problems.

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Bowlby 2.

Against bowlby - Koluchova - Found that twin boys raised in isolation without a mother figure were able to form a secure attachment to adoptive family.

Against bowlby - Shaffer & Emerson - 'Glasgow babies.' research followed mothers and babies over 18 months, they found babies formed multiple attatchments.

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Secure and Unsecure attachments.

Secure  - Use their mother as a safe base and were happy to explore the room when she was present. They showed distress by crying when she left, and welcomed her back on her return, settling back down to play fairly quickly. they were wary of the stranger and treated them very differently to their mother.

Avoidment - These babies did not orient their behaviour towards their mother in the same way. They showed some distress at her departure but did not seek comofrt from her when she returned. They also rejected this stranger's attempts to comfort them.

Ambivilant/Resistant - These babies were very upset at separation but were not easily comforted when the mother turned. They appeared to be angry and rejected her attempts to comfort them.

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Strange situation.

  • Mother and infant enter the room. Mother sits in one of the chairs and reads a a magazine. Child is placed on the floor and is free to explore the toys.
  • After about 3 minuets, a stranger enters, sits on the second chair and talks breifly with the mother.
  • The stranger approaches the infant and attempts to interact and play with them.
  • Mother leaves the room so the infant is alone with the stranger. The stranger comforts the baby if they are upset and offers to play with them.
  • After around 3 minuets mother returns and the stranger leaves.
  • The stranger re-enters and offers to comfort and play with the baby.
  • Mother returns and stranger leaves.

Secure - 70%

Avoident - 15%

Ambivilant/Resistant - 15%

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Van ljzendoorn and Kroonenberg (1988)

Carried out a META-ANALYSIS  (studiescaried out from other researchs) to find out about attachment types in different cultures. From this we see that attachments types differ from different cultures e.g China has 50% secure attachments, were as great britain has 75%.

Evaluation -

  • A large sample, over 2000 infants, represntitive, can be generalised.
  • The strange situation procedure was developed in the US and may not be suitable for other cultures. E.g in Japan children are never seperated from mother before age 2 so wouyld react very differently to a child which is used to seperation.
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Institutionalisation is for disrupted and privation children. Privation children are found here when they are taken care of deprivation children come here for just some time.

Hodges and Tizard.

  • 65 children bought up in a childrens home until age 4.
  • All had been placed in care before age 6 months.
  • During this time the children were unable to form an attatchement to any of the adults as staff were discouraged from doing so to prevent upsetting when left the job.
  • By age 4, 24 had been adopted, 75 restored to birth parents, the rest stayed there.
  • All 3 groups were compared to a control group of 'normal' chuldren raised in their own homes.
  • Data was collected using a questionnaire and interviewing children, parents and teachers at age 4, 8 and 16.
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Hodges and tizard 2.

  • Only 39 out of 65 left in the study due to attrition.
  • At age 4 children hasn't formed attachments.
  • At age 8 & 16 mopst of the adopted children had formed close attatchment as those in control group with adopted parents.
  • Children who returned home had formed poorer attachments.
  • At age 8 & 16 both the adoptive and restored groups had difficulties at school.
  • More than 2 thirds of them who stayed their described as 'not caring deeply about anyone.' were seeking attention and many had serious problems at school.
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Robertson & Robertson.

  • Fosterd 4 young children while mothers in hospital to have children.
  • Children stayed in aged from 17 months to 2 year 5 months.
  • Stayed with Robertsons 4 weeks.

Case study of jane - aged 17 months.

  • In foster care for 10 days.
  • Accepts Joyce as a substitute mother.
  • Food and routines are kept familiar to home and father visits daily.
  • Jane returns to her mother with warm and good expectations.
  • Reluctent to give up foster mother has become attached.

W - Not natural setting.

S -  No ethical issues.

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No oppertunity is given for attachment to form, e.g neglection, issolation.


  • Twin boys from czechslovakia.
  • Mother died bought up in care.
  • At 18 months went to live with father and step mum.
  • Sufferd serious privation until age 4 were they were discoverd and took into care.
  • Between age of 18 months and 7 years they were locked in an unheated cellor away from human company, starved and beaten.
  • When found they had no speech, scared of people, had serious health problems.
  • Attended a learning difficulties school.
  • Adopted by 2 sisters and provided a good home.
  • Developed average intellegence and formed strong bonds.
  • When followed up in 1977 they were average intellegence, happy and sociable boys attending normal school.
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  • Can take extranious variables into account (Learning difficulties.)
  • Ethical issues - withdrawal may not be clear.
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Daycare & Aggression.

Daycare DOESN'T effect aggression - 

Shea - 

  • Video taped 3 and 4 year olds at playtime during their first 10 weeks at nursery.
  • Children became more sociable the longer they were at nursery.
  • Aggressive behaviour decreased.
  • Changes were greater in children attending for 5 days a week compared to those attending for just 2 days.

Evaluation - 

  • Structured observation.
  • Reliable.
  • Ethnocentric.
  • Ethics.
  • Not representitive. 
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Daycare DOES effect aggression -


  • Over 1000 American children from different backgrounds used in a longtitudinal study. 
  • At age 5, the more time a child spent in daycare, no matter what type of quality the more they was rated as aggresive.
  • Children in full time daycare were almost 3 times as likely to show behavioural problems than those cared for at home.
  • There is a positive correlation between time spent in daycare and the amount of aggressive behaviour.

Evaluation - 

  • Lontitudinal study.
  • Correlations take extranious variables into account.
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Daycare - peer relations.

Daycare DOESN'T effect peer relations.

Campell et al (2000) -

  • Children from 18 month to 2 and a half years old, 9 children attended family based care, 30 children attended nursery.
  • CONTROL GROUP - parents applied for nursery but unsucsessful.
  • Assesed children at 18 months, 1 and a half, 2 and a half, 3 and a half, 6 and a half, 8 and a half and 15 years old.
  • Children who spent long days in daycare under 3 and a half years old were less sociable.
  • Children who attended better quality daycare before 3 and a half developed better social qualities.
  • The quality of daycare and how long spent can effect social abilities.

Evaluation -

  • Longtitude.
  • Ethnocentric.
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Peer relations.

Daycare DOES effect peer relations.

EPPE Project - 

  • Studied over 3000 children in the UK between 3-7.
  • Children who attended daycare showed increased independence and peer socialability at age 5.
  • Early start in daycare (between 2-3 years) was linked with children being more socialable. 

Evaluation - 

  • Ethics,
  • Ethnocentric.
  • Big sample - generalisable.
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Null - There will be NO significant difference between ... and .... (IV & DV).

1 Tailed (directional) -  State difference. 

2 Tailed (Non directional) -  There WILL be a significant difference between ... and ... (IV & DV).


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Random - 

Randomly picked.

Oppertunity -

Available at the time.

Volenteer -

Volenteer yourself.

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Groups and Data.

Independent Group Design - 

Sample divided into groups, each group does one condition.

Matched Pairs Design -

The sample is divided into groups matched because they have relative characteristics.

Repeated Measures Design - 

Do all conditions.



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Sampling and Ethics.

Time sampling - Observation times at regular time intervals and recorded.

Event sampling - Keeping a tally chart of each observation. 

Pilot study - A similar verison of the study carried out before main research.

Ethics -

Informed consent.         Protection from harm.

Confidentiality.             Debreif.

Deception.                   Right to withdraw.

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Participants know their being watched.


Advantage - Reduction of ethical issues.

Disadvantage - Deman characteristics.

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Participants don't know there being watched.


Advantage - Less demand characteristics.

Disadvantage - Ethical issues raised.

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Non-Participant observation.

Observer doesn't not become part of the group.


Advatnage - No demand characteristics if participants unaware.

Disadvantage - Ethical issues.

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In a natural setting


Advantage - Ecologically valid.

Disadvantage - Raises ethical issues.


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Participant observation.

Observer becomes part of the group.


Advantage - Trust can develop.

Disadvantage - Observer can become subjective if they become emotionally involved with participant.

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Take place were some variables are controlled and manipulated by experimenter.


Advantage - Higher levels over ecological validity.

Disadvantage - Demand characteristics.

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Practice effect

Demand characteristics

Order effects

Counting balancing

Participant reactivity

Individual characteristics.

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Closed questions -

Have a fixed number of optional answers.

Strength - Produce quantitative data, can be summarised easily and large groups can be compared.

Weakness - People do not have the chance to explain answers, lacks validity.

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Open questions -

Questions which participants can answer any way they like.

Strength - Produce quantitative, in depth information.

Weakness - Is difficult to analyse the responses and compare participants as everyones response is unique.

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Structured -

A pre-prepared set of questions are used in a set order. There is no chance for extra questions. The interviewer has decided what they are going to ask about. NO CLOSED QUESTIONS.


Strength - Makes the interview possible to repeat to check for reliability of results.

Weakness - Frustrating if issues arise that are not coverd by the questions.

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Unstructured -

This is were a researcher starts off with an aim and invites the participant to discuss a topic. There are no predetermined questions. Interviewer listens, comments, and prompts the participant to expant a certain topic. The interviewer adjusts to the participant responses, like a conversation.

Strength - Qualitative, detailed and unprocessed which means it's more valid.

Weakness - Very difficult to analyse the data.

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NO - 0.00 - No relationship.


P - +1.00 - Perfect - 0.1 - weak 0.2, 0.3+ slight.


N- -1.00 - Perfect.

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Measures of central tendency.

Mean (The average) -


Advantage - Makes use of all the numbers, so is a sensitive measure.

Disadvantge - Can only be used with certain types of data, e.g ratio.

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Measures of central tendency.

Mode (most common) -


Advantage - Provides information about frequency.

Disadvantage - The data may have several modes. Only effective if you have 1 frequent answer.

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Measures of central tendency.

Median (Central value) -


Advantage - Not affected by extreme scores.

Disadvantage - Not as sensitive as the mean, not all values are reflected.

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Measures of despersion.

Range -

a measurement of the spread of a set of scores shown by the difference between the highest and lowest value.


Advantage - Easy to calculate, shows extreme values.

Disadvantage - Is affected by extreme values, and doesn't take into account the number of observations in the data set.

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Measures of despersion.

Standard deviation -

The measure of the spread of data around the mean. The higher the value the more variation in your scores.


Advantage - Gives more precise and sensitive measure of dispersion than the range as all values are taken into account.

Disadvantage - May hide some characteristics of the data.

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