Psychology - Approaches to Psychology - The Cognitive Approach

What is the Cognitive Approach?
The term 'cognitive' has come to mean 'mental processes', so this approach is focused on hour our mental processes (e.g. thoughts, perceptions, attention) affect behaviour
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What are Internal Mental Processes?
'Private' operations of the mind such as perception and attention that mediate between stimulus and response
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What is a Schema?
A mental framework of beliefs and expectations that influence cognitive processing. They are developed from experience
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What is an Inference?
The process whereby cognitive psychologists draw conclusions about the way mental processes operate on the basis of observed behaviour
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What is Cognitive Neuroscience?
The scientific study of the biological structures that underpin cognitive processes
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What Does the Cognitive Approach Argue that the Behaviourist Approach Doesn't?
The cognitive approach argues that mental processes should be studied e.g. studying perception and memory
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What is the Role of Inference in the Study of Mental Processes?
Mental processes are 'private' so cannot be observed. Cognitive psychologists study them indirectly by making inferences (assumptions) about what is going on inside people's heads on the basis of their behaviour
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How are Theoretical Models Used When Describing and Explaining Mental Processes?
The information processing approach suggests that information flows through a sequence of stages that include input, storage and retrieval, as in the multi-store model
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How are Computer Models Used When Describing and Explaining Mental Processes?
The 'computer analogy' suggests similarities in how computers and human minds process information. For instance, the use of a central processor (the brain), changing of information into a useable code and the use of 'stores' to hold information
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How is the Idea of Schema Central to the Cognitive Approach?
Schema - packages of information developed through experience (age - more detailed). They are a 'mental framework' for interpretation of incoming information received by the cognitive system. Babies - born with simple motor schema - sucking/grasping
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What Have Advances in Brain Scanning Technology Allowed Scientists to do?
It has allowed scientists to describe the neurological basis of mental processing. This includes research in memory that has linked episodic and semantic memories to opposite sides of the prefrontal cortex in the brain
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AO3 - The Cognitive Approach Uses Scientific and Objective Methods
Cognitive psychologists - controlled/rigorous study methods e.g. lab studies - infer cognitive processes at work. Two fields of biology/cognitive psychology (cognitive neuroscience). Study of the mind - established a credible, scientific basis
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AO3 - Based on Machine Reductionism
Similarities between human mind and computer (inputs, outputs, central processor, storage systems). Computer analogy criticised. Human emotion/motivation shown to influence accuracy of recall. Research into cognitive processes lacks external validity
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AO3 - Based on Research that Lacks External Validity
Cognitive psychologists can only infer mental processes from observable behaviour - approach is too abstract and theoretical. Research is often carried out using artificial stimuli, such as recall of meaningless words - not experienced everyday
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AO3 - Application to Everyday Life
Cognitive approach is dominant in today's psychology - has been applied to a range of practical/theoretical contexts. It has made an important contribution to AI and development of robots. These advances could revolutionise how we live in the future
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AO3 - The Approach is Less Determinist Than Other Approaches
Based on soft determinism - cognitive system only operates within certain limits but we still have free will. Contradicts behaviourist approach - passive to environment. Cognitive approach - middle-ground in free will-determinism debate
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Card 2


What are Internal Mental Processes?


'Private' operations of the mind such as perception and attention that mediate between stimulus and response

Card 3


What is a Schema?


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Card 4


What is an Inference?


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Card 5


What is Cognitive Neuroscience?


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