Psychology Core Stuies

These cards are the summaries of all 15 of the core studies in the first year of psychology (AS level) 

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Cognitive Psychology

Assumptions - Cognitive Psychology is the study of our internal mental processes, and how we think, see, percieve, our language and and how we remember things. 

Studies in this Approach - 

Loftus and Palmer

Baron - Cohen

Savage - Rumbaugh

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Loftus and Palmer

Aim - To test the reliability of eye witness testimonies, and how information received and after an event can affect our memory.

Experiment 1 -

  • 45 Students - split into 5 groups were shown 7 different clips of road traffic accidents
  • Afterwards they were  given a questionnaire made up of 10 questions, the 10th question being the critical question. 
  • How fast were the cars going when they _______ each other?
  • The verbs were - hit, bumped, smashed, collided, and contacted.

Experiment 2 -

  • 150 Students were shown one short video clip
  • 3 different groups, hit, smashed and the control group (no question about speed asked)
  • 1 week later they were asked 'Did you see broken glass?'

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Loftus and Palmer #2

Findings exp 1 -

The verb 'smashed' got the highest estimate which was 40.8 mph

Contacted got the lowest estimate 31.8 mph

''The phrasing of the question affects the speed estimate"

Findings exp 2 -

Smashed got the highest response saying yes - 16/50 whereas

Hit only got 7/50,

The control group had 6/44 showing false memories can be made, and the verb had a significant effect on the mis-perception of glass in the film.

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Loftus and Palmer

Explanations -

Experiment 1

1. The differences could be due to a memory distortion in the participant - the memory of how fast the cars were going could have been distorted by the verb used in the question. 

2. It could be due to response bias, where ptps are not sure of the speed so adjust their final answer to fit in with what the questioner asks. (Demand Characteristics)

Experiment 2 - supports the second explanation- The reconstructed Hypothesis

2 kinds of information goes into a persons memory, from the event and after the event, and eventually they integrate so the memory is left distorted - a new memory is made from the two

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Baron Cohen et al

Aim - To find out if adults with high functioning autism/aspergers syndrome would be impaired on the theory of mind task - The Eyes Task 

Secondary Aim- to find out if females performed better than males on the eyes task.

Group 1 - 16 participants consisting of high functioning autistics or aspergers syndrome - they all had normal intelligence - 16 male, 3 female.

Group 2 - 50 age matched controls (normal) adults - 25 male and 25 female - and all had normal intelligence.

Group 3 - Consisted of 10 participants with tourettes syndrome - age matched to groups 1 and 2 - 8 men, 2 women - 

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Baron Cohen

It was thought that the autistics would perform worse than the other 2 groups on the eyes task.

The eyes task - 

Consisted of 25 pairs of eyes - shown for 3 secs - participants were given a forced choice question between two mental states printed under each picture.

The foil word was always the opposite of the correct word. The maximum score on this test is 25.

Mean score on the eyes task - 

Autistics - 16.3

Normal - 20.3

Tourettes - 20.4

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Baron Cohen

Conclusions - 

Autistics to have a core deficit of a lack of an advanced theory of mind.

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