Psychology: Cognitive Psychology- Key Words

Kew words for the AQA Psychology course regarding the cognitive psychology section from unit one. They were taken  from 'Psychology AS The Complete Companion' written by Mike Cardwell and Cara Flanagan.


Short-Term Memory

Your memory for immediate events. Short-term memories last for 18 seconds (Peterson and Peterson) and disappear unless they are rehearsed elaborately. The duration and capacity are limited.

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Long-Term Memory

Your memory for things that have happened in the past. It can last between two minutes and one hundred years. The long-term memory store has a potentially unlimited duration and capacity.

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A measure of how long a memory lasts beore it is no longer available.

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This is a measure of how much information can be held in the memory.

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The way information is changed so that it can be stored in the memory. Information is mainly stored in the STM acoustically whereas it tends to be stored semantically in the LTM.

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Miller proposed that the capacity of STM can be enhanced by grouping sets of digits or letters into meaningful units.

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Sensory Memory

The information that the senses have collected. Information is stored here for an extremely short period and so the stimulus requires attention in order for it to be stored in the short term memory.

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The Multi-Store Model

This model describes how environmental stimuli is able to enter the different stores of the memory.

Environmental Stimuli--->Sensory Memory--->Short-Term Memory--->Long-Term Memory



--->Elaborative Rehearsal

In order to keep information in the short-term memory for a longer period of time, a person has to carry out maintenece rehearsal. The information can be retrieved (usually) easily from the STM or LTM.

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Central Executive

Monitors and coordinates all other mental functions in the STM.

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Phonological Loop

Encodes speech sounds in the STM, typically involving maintence rehearsal.

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Visuo-Spatial Sketchpad

Encodes visual information in terms of seperate objects as well as the arrangement of these objects in one's visual field.

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Episodic Buffer

Receives input from many sources, temporarily stores this information, and then intergrates it in order to construct a mental episode o what is being experienced right now.

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The Working Memory Model

Describes the different parts that make up the short term memory. The central executive pays attention to environmental stimuli, it then sends inormation to the episodic buffer which is a type of temporary, 'general store'. The episodic buffer then sends information to either the phonological loop or the visuo-spatial sketch pad, depending on what type of information it is.

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Word-Length Effect

The obversation that people remember lists of short words better than lists of long words.

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Eyewitness Testimony

The evidence provided in court by a person who witnessed a crime, with a view to identifying the perpetrator of the crime. The accuracy of eyewitness recall may be affected during initial encoding, subsequent storage and eventual retrieval.

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Leading (Misleading) Questions

A question that, either by its form or by its content, suggests to the witness what answer is desired or leads them to the desired answer.

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Is an unpleasant emotional state where we fear that something bad is about to happen. People often become anxious when they are in stressful situations, and this anxiety tends to be accompanied by physiological arousal. Because of this, much o the research in this area is focused on the effects of arousal on EWT.

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Cognitive Interview

A procedure designed for use in police interviews that involve witnesses. The cognitive interview reinstates the context of the event being recalled. There are four distinct components of cognitive interview:

-Report everything- The interviewer encourages the reporting of every single detail of the event, even if it appears to be irrelevant.

-Mental reinstatement of original context- The interviewer encourages the interviewee to mentally recreate the environment and contacts from the original incident.

-Changing the order- The interviewer may try alternative ways through the timeline of the incident.

-Changing the perspective- The interviewee is asked to recall the incident from multiple perspectives.

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Visual Mnemonic

A memory technique that uses visual images. For example, method of loci and mind maps.

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Verbal Mnemonics

A variety of memory improvement techniques that focus on words and their sounds. For example, acronyms and rhymes.

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