The Cognitive Approach

Describing The Cognitive Approach in Psychology as a technique of revision.

  • Created by: Becci
  • Created on: 06-05-10 17:28

The Cognitive Approach

The Cognitive Approach focuses mainly on internal process

E.g. The mind, brain etc...

1 of 18

Cognitive Psychologists compare the human brain to a computer system

1)- Processes Information

2)- Holds a lot of memory.

2 of 18

Using concepts from information processing, Cognitive Psychologists describe the brain as a process

3 of 18

Cognitive Psychology studies are often laboratory based, so they can lack validity in the real world.

This is known as Ecological Validity.

4 of 18



Case Study of HM

Severe case of Epilepsy, Seizures were based in a brain structure called the hippocampus.

5 of 18

Non-human studies can be applied to human cognitive abilities.



Teaching ASL to a chimp.

Washoe had learnt 34 signs by the end of the 22nd month.

6 of 18

Cognitive Psychologists try to explain behaviour by looking at our perception, language, attetntion and memory.

7 of 18

A criticism of the Cognitive Approach is that Cognitive Psychology fails to take individual differences into account by assumption that all of us process stuff in exactly the same way.

8 of 18

Cognitive Psychology use four main Research Methods

1)- Laboratory Experiments - Very scientific and reliable as it is possible to have great control over variables in a lab. It has low Ecological Validity - doesn't tell us much about the real world.

2)- Field Experiments - Take place in a natural situation (e.g studies of memory or attention in school environment), so they have more Ecological Validity, but there's less control of other variables.

3)- Natural Experiments - Involve making observations of a naturally occuring situation. Little control over the variables and participants cant be randomly assigned to conditions. High Ecological Validity. Not massivly reliable.

4)- Brain Imaging - Can now be carried out during a cognitive task. For example, MRI scans have been used to show the blood flow in different brain areas for different types of memory tasks.

9 of 18


Memory - The mental process involved in registering, storing and retrieving information.

10 of 18

Capacity - The amount of information that can be studied in memory at any particular time.

11 of 18

Duration - The length of time that information can be kept in memory.

12 of 18

Encoding - Changing sensory input into a form or code to be prosessed by the memory system

13 of 18

Short-Term Memory - A limited capacity system for storing information for short periods.

14 of 18

Long-Term Memory - An unlimited capacity system for storing information for long periods.

15 of 18

Multi-Store Model Of Memory - An explanation of memory as a flow of information through a series of stages in a fixed sequence. The best known model of this type was proposed by Atkinson and Shiffrin.

16 of 18

Working Memory - A model of memory formulated by Baddely & Hitch to replace the concept of Short-Term Memory.

17 of 18

The essential definition of memory is that it refers to the process by which we - retain information about events that have happened in the past

18 of 18


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Cognitive Psychology resources »