1- Cognitive psych

  • Created by: livvvx
  • Created on: 02-05-19 17:42

Cognitive Psych

-Key theme 1: Memory

-Key theme 2: Attention


  • The mind works like a computer- info is inout, stored and retrieved
  • Primarily concerned with investigating behaviour in relation to the internal mental processes like thinking, problem solving and memory

+= Tends to use well controlled lab expts-scientific, applications in real world e.g. L+P brought into question the reliability of EWT.

-= Reductionist-narrow focus on mental processes doesn't automatically take account of individual, social or bio factors, often lacks eco v due to reliance on lab expts- hard to generalise.

Loftus and Palmer (1974)


  • Reconstructive memory= often our memories are flawed we automatically, unconsciously fill in memory gaps using stereotypes and expectations from our mental schemas, this produces distorted memories
  • Eyewitness testimony= a form of evidence used in court systems. It relies heavily on the memory of the eyewitness 


  • To investigate how info provided to a witness after an event will influence their memory of that event. 


  • 2 lab expts, IMD
  • IV= verb used
  • DV= the estimate of speed or whether the p saw glass


  • 1= 45 students from Washington uni
  • 2= 150 students from Washington uni 
  • Opp sample

-Procedure Expt 1:

  • Ps shown 7 video clips of car crashes
  • They were split into 5 groups, 9 Ps in each
  • All ps asked ''about how fast were the cars going when they ____ each other''
  • Each group given diff ver (smashed, collided, bumped, hit or contacted)

-Procedure Expt 2:

  • Ps shown short film that showed a multi-vehicle car accidnet and asked qs about it. 
  • Split into 3 groups (50 ps in each)
  • One group asked ''how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?''
  • One group asked ''how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?''
  • One group not asked about speed
  • Week later all ps returned and asked ''Did you see any broken glass?''- there was no broken glass in the video. 


  • Smashed- mean estimate of speed (mph)= 40.8
  • Collidied= 39.3
  • Bumped= 38.1
  • Hit= 34.0
  • Contacted= 31.8
  • Broken glass 'smashed'= 16 Yes, 34 No
  • Broken glass 'hit'= 7 Yes, 43 No
  • Broken glass control= 6 Yes, 44 No


  • The way in which questions about events are worded can affect the way in which those events are remembered
  • Findings from expt 2 strongly suggest that this is not simply due to bias (response bias) instead it seems that post-event questions actually become part of the memory for that event= wording of questions can distort event memory
  • Reconstructive hypothesis= 2 types on info go into a person's memory; their own perception of the event and post-event info. 

-Internal v

  • += less DC (IMD) no order effects, lab conditions= extraneous variables controlled, some films were of real accidents, filler questions
  • -= ps knew they were in an expt so may have tried guessing aim and think they were 'supposed' to remember broken glass so did to fit experimentors expectations

-Eco v

  • Low= lab conditions, ps knew they were taking part


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