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University Degree: Cognitive Psychology

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  1. Cognitive Psychology - The processes involved in attention.

    So how do we manage to divide our attention so that we can carry out multiple tasks at the same time? The fact that it is a normal human activity, indeed an expectation of all but the most intellectually feeble, is captured rather well in Lyndon Johnson's denouncement of Gerald Ford as someone 'who couldn't fart and chew gum at the same time'! Focussed Attention An early worker in this area, Cherry (1953), presented different messages simultaneously to each ear, and asked subjects to repeat the message they heard in one ear - a task known as 'shadowing'.

    • Word count: 6487
  2. Theories Of Death. When considering what constitutes death, we can categorize our ideologies into three increasingly substantial theories: cardiopulmonary death theory, brain death theory and neocortical death theory.

    Within a couple minutes after cardiac arrest the patient is considered dead allowing for the procurement of organs (Olshansky, 2001). This technique is coveted for it provides fresh organs for transplant. Disadvantages to cardiopulmonary death includes, the costliness of keeping someone on life support and the limited time period to harvest organs. To be able to harvest organs from a patient on life support who has not be declared brain dead, involves the utilization of controlled cardiopulmonary death. This technique involves the patient being removed from life support so that death can occur (Potts, 2011).

    • Word count: 2198
  3. Selective attention and the Stroop effect: automatic processing interference of controlled processing in a colour recognition task

    So why can't we attend to everything? Kahneman proposed within the brain, a 'limited-capacity central processor' processes incoming information and integrates it with information stored in memory (as cited in Edgar, 2007, p.11). Due to this limitation, only certain information is processed. Therefore, tasks draw on and compete for a common pool of resources. So, how is information selected for further processing? 'Controlled processes' are explicitly under conscious control of the individual and require selective attention to filter information which Posner likened to an 'attentional spotlight' (as cited in Edgar, 2007, p.15).

    • Word count: 2226
  4. This essay aims to focus on a stress model developed by Karasek (1979), known as the Job Demand Control model. The key elements of this model will be examined whilst also evaluating the models theoretical foundation and practicality in the workplace envir

    These include issues involving time pressures, contradictory demands, pace of the workday, workload, levels of concentration necessary and the effects of waiting for others on personal performance. Job control or decision latitude relates to employees control over tasks in the workplace and also the approach in which these tasks are executed. Both skill utilisation and decision influence are implemented in decision latitude. The model suggests a close link exists between the possibility to utilise and develop skills and authority over decisions.

    • Word count: 1250
  5. Maslow, Rogers and Humanistic Psychology. Their work into the self-actualisation principle paved the way for further insight into the holistic development of the human psyche.

    Maslow is prominently known for his identification of how a happy, mentally healthy, and well functioning person behaves. In conjunction with his motivational theory of a "self-actualising" personality, he identifies a 'hierarchy of needs' that when sufficiently fulfilled results in someone who is "most fully human" (Rogers, 1961). Rogers, like Maslow, shared a positive view of human nature and is heavily praised for his 'client-centered' clinical approach, focusing much more on how an individual has the inner resources for positive development, which results in congruence between the perceived self and the actual self.

    • Word count: 2433
  6. How do we switch between tasks? In everyday life, numerous cognitive tasks occur simultaneously which require us to implement in parallel, or in prompt alternation (Hallowell, 2007).

    but cannot be abolished ('residual cost') (Monsell, 2003); even when performing repeat trials after a switch (e.g.,ABAA), the reaction time remains longer than when just performing one task throughout the block (e.g.,AAAA) ('mixing cost') (Monsell, 2003;Rubin & Meiran, 2005). These phenomena generate a question that where are the sources of these costs. An acknowledge conception of switching costs is that subjects must operate control processes to allow them to shift between performing tasks, but that the same switching control processes are not required on repeat (non-switch)

    • Word count: 2800
  7. Comparative essay on how the humanistic compared with psychodynamic approach, define and treat the psychological disorder of depressio

    The view is very optimistic and positive, Maslow a key psychologist in the field of humanism believed we strive to achieve our own potential within out own limitations. Carl Rogers (1902-1987) believed that we are all born with an actualising tendency; this drives us to grow and develop into mature, healthy individuals. Central to this he developed the theory of 'The Self' how a person views themselves as a result of life experiences, more commonly known in humanism as 'The Perceived Self' who you are in reality, and 'The Ideal Self' who you want or wish to be.

    • Word count: 2097
  8. Teacher Annotated Essay. I will look at how organization of thought can improve memory by discussing mental images, concepts and schemas,.

    that will give us individuals a cue to help us remember informationin the recall of information, because we are spending a moment concentrating on a picture it is more likely to become fixed in our mind.poorly phrased - you are not telling a story - you could say 'because when an individual spends time concentrating on a picture it is more likely to become fixed in the memory' A mental image can be provided by the key-word method. This is particularly useful in learning foreign words, for example, if you want to remember that the German word 'Ggabel' means fork.

    • Word count: 1571
  9. Instrumental Conditioning. This paper will describe the learning situation of learning to ride a bicycle and provide clarification of how positive and negative reinforcement are similar and what distinguishes them

    Learning to Ride a Bicycle The learning situation for this paper is when a child first learns to ride a bicycle. Often times, this learning situation can be complicated for most kids. From past experience, it takes several tries in order for the child to gain the concept of riding a bicycle. On the other hand, some children grasp the concept much quicker and understand how a bike functions. The process of learning to ride a bicycle contains many functions. For example, the child must learn to peddle, steer and balance the bicycle at the same time to be successful.

    • Word count: 1373
  10. The Relationship between Intelligence and Creativity - Literature Review

    R., 1989). Guilford, Sternberg and Torrance are also famous for their studies in this field (Kaufman, A. B., 2007). There are two dominant opinions when it comes to the study of intelligence and creativity: firstly, there are those who believe that there is a relationship between intelligence and creativity, and secondly, there are those who disagree. Two theoretical explanations have been proposed to explain this relationship: investment theory and threshold theory. Investment theory states that a confluence of intellectual abilities, knowledge, styles of thinking, personality, motivation and environment are all necessary aspects of creativity (Sternberg, R. J, 2006).

    • Word count: 811
  11. Iconic Memory Based on Sperlings Visual Information Processing Model - Literature Review

    Sperling (1960) designed three tests to investigate iconic memory: the whole report, the partial position report and the partial category report. Each task involved participants recalling certain alphanumeric symbols from matrices. In the whole report, participants could only recall an average maximum of 4.5 letters as they could not attend to all of the symbols before the contents of the store decayed (Gegenfurtner & Sperling, 1993). On the other hand, in the partial position report, participants could more easily attend to specific rows of the matrices, recalling approximately 75% of the letters in any row before the VIS decayed (Gegenfurtner & Sperling, 1993).

    • Word count: 735
  12. Critically Compare How the Concept of Dreams Has Been Theorised by Freud and Two Other Psychoanalytic Theorists

    It wasn't until the work of psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud that a passable method of identifying dream meaning emerged. In the wake of Freud came other theorists, proposing different methods of looking at the content of dreams but a general theme seemed to remain; that the content of dreams was a collection of symbols pertaining to the inner most desires of an individual. This being an essay on dreams, it would make sense to first discuss how the material in dreams comes to be, or rather, why is it we see the things we see when we're dreaming? In 'the interpretation of dreams,' Freud states that all the material that makes up the content of dreams is 'in some way derived from experience.'

    • Word count: 2332
  13. The ADHD-Combined subtype exhibits problems with attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity whereas the ADHD-I subtype exhibits problems with attention primarily. Studying memory and ADHD may better help us understand the differences between the three.

    Studying memory and ADHD may better help us understand the differences between the three. The process of forming new memories begins when we first pay attention to something. The dual-component model defines working memory as two related processes: holding new information in the primary memory (PM) and retrieving information from secondary memory (SM) (Gibson, Gondoli, Flies, Dobrzenski, & Unsworth, 2010). This paper will examine current research on ADHD and working memory by reporting on three recent studies in which working memory is the dependent variable and group (ADHD vs. non-ADHD) is the independent variable.

    • Word count: 2246
  14. Discuss the key pathways that have been proposed to linking stress to physical illness and critically evaluate evidence in support of these links.

    and a cognitive assessment of the situation or stimuli that has caused or is causing the situation (Gross 1996). The nature of physiological change and the manner in which it occurs has been the subject of contentious debate in psychological academia. Research conducted by Levenson, et al. (1990), in an extension of the principles laid out previously in the James-Lange theory, showed that there was a corresponding Autonomic Nervous System response (ANS) when they experimented in directed action facial method and the relived emotional methods.

    • Word count: 2394
  15. Experiment - Is extraversion related to lower baseline levels of cortical arousal?

    Hans Eysenck was first to relate the extraversion to a person's genetics or biological traits. "Information from the environment is transmitted from the sense organs along neural pathways to the brain, where excitatory and inhibitory cortical processes result in either the facilitation or inhibition of behavioural and cognitive responses" (Eysenck, 1965, p.70). Eysenck relied upon a theory that extraverts have strong nervous system that allows them to highly tolerate the stimulation. Therefore, he came into conclusion that "the brains of extraverts react more slowly and weakly to stimuli, thereby creating a stimulus hunger, or desire for strong sensory stimulation, which causes them to seek excitement by approaching the environment, attending parties, making friends, taking risks, and so forth" (Ryckman, 2004, p.

    • Word count: 1865
  16. Judith Beck 1995, "Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond" book review

    The therapy is based on the concept of modifying the patient's key dysfunctional cognitions. The book explains that people's emotions and behaviours are influenced by their perception of events, and not by the situation itself. The author gives details of the functions and practice of identifying the automatic thoughts of the patient. The automatic thoughts arise from core beliefs that a patient or anyone would hold of themselves. A person's core belief system comes from their own life experiences and subsequently they develop ideas about themselves, life and others, and their world.

    • Word count: 1353
  17. Explain, with examples, how studies of brain damage or disruption to normal brain activity have informed us about the relationship between brain activity and behaviour in normal functioning.

    I will reference studies that have been conducted showing the impact the disruption has caused by my two chosen examples. I will also look at how advancements in medicine along with Psychological input enable us in some cases to minimise the disruption caused. Finally I will discuss how these studies have informed us and to what extent they can explain the relationship between brain activity and behaviour in normal functioning. Biological Psychology assumes that all aspects of our Psychology stem from the activity of neuronal systems in the brain.

    • Word count: 1093
  18. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the approaches existential therapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy have towards understanding and working with fear and sadness.

    They must be empathetic towards the client. If the therapist does not think in a phenomenological way, they are not working existentially. To work in a phenomenological way, one must engage in a process call epoche. There are four processes to epoche. They are bracketing, description, horizontalisation and verification. (Langdridge, pg. 128) Bracketing involves the therapist attempting to set aside their preconceptions so that they can, to some extent, understand the world as it appears to the client. Description seeks to describe what is going on rather than trying to explain why.

    • Word count: 2176
  19. Investigating the Effect of Mindfulness and Mental Depletion on Inattentional Blindness.

    Prior studies reveal that with a lack of attention, we may fail to perceive changes to objects in view, or not perceive objects in our view at all ('inattentional blindness') (Simons, D. J., and Chabris, C., F. 1999). A part of this study replicates the manipulation of inattentional blindness from one of the more enduring study's conducted by Simons and Chabris (1999), who had their participants engage in an uninterrupted task that required them to concentrate on one aspect of an active scene while ignoring others.

    • Word count: 1686
  20. Freud and Bandura: A Critical Evaluation of Two Human Behaviour Theories

    Instinctual drives become activated when physical needs prompt humans to seek out gratification in the external world with the aim to return to a former more balanced state of mind (Hall, 1999; Newbery, 2009, Lecture 2; Ryckman, 2004). Freud (1961) referred to drives that wanted to be satisfied instantaneously as being part of the pleasure principle. The plan of the pleasure principal is to relieve the individual of tension and to bring satisfaction (Hall, 1999; Ryckman, 2004). Instinctual drives are lead by cognitive processes such as perception, as humans hunt for and source out information in the external environment about pleasure (Ryckman, 2004).

    • Word count: 2617
  21. Mental Rotation experiment. Previous experiments have found that a greater rotation angle leads to a slower response time. We hypothesise that participants mentally rotate the image shown to match it to the upright, correct character.

    We hypothesise that there will be a significant correlation between rotation angle and response time, and that there will be a significant difference between response times in cued and un-cued conditions. Provided that the exposure time of the cue is long enough for the participant to prepare, there should be no effect of orientation. The null hypotheses are "there will be no correlation between rotation angle and response time", and "the difference between response times in cued and un-cued conditions will be zero". Method The group of participants contained both males and females; all were Psychology undergraduate students aged 18-21.

    • Word count: 1596
  22. The relationship between questionnaire impulsivity and a laboratory measure of inhibitory control

    do not involve inhibition, so the expectation is that there is no correlation with BIS score. The target and distracter stimuli can be chosen to involve emotional processing by using positive/happy and negative/sad words. The difference in reaction times to the positive and negative words is known as the affective bias, and is generally small (although statistically significant) and positive in healthy subjects. Depressed subjects tend to respond faster to negative words than to positive words, giving a negative bias, while manic subjects show the opposite results3. No correlation is expected between affective bias and BIS score.

    • Word count: 1633
  23. Perception - Object Recognition and Naming Project. This small scale study replicates an earlier more detailed study the cascade model by Humphreys, Riddoch & Quinlan, (1988), comparing recognition times with correct responses to structurally simil

    Consequently, objects are recognised from impressions, or schemas, and categories with similarities. Collins and Quillian (1969; cited in Hayes, 2000) advocated that impressions are stored hierarchically, from general to specific features and the time taken for identification is dependent on the number of decisions or identification nodes implicated to name an object. They concluded that the more features displayed, the less decisions made and therefore more immediate object recognition. Humphreys et al. (1988) proposed the 'cascade model' and suggested that there are two types of objects in our surrounding environment; the separation is based on perceptual form.

    • Word count: 3898
  24. Briefly describe the diagnosis, assessment and aetiology of alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Your answer must incorporate both the DSM-IV-TR and bio-psycho-social perspectives

    Up to a quarter of all adults aged 16-24 drink to excess with 8.2 million with a dependence upon alcohol. The mortality rate is over twice that of the normal population (Heather and Robertson 2001). In 1987 the population of England and Wales spent �17 billion on alcohol, equivalent to �370 for every adult in Britain. In 1996, �189.5 million was spent on promoting alcohol (Wright 1999). See appendix (figure 1) for related harm and costs. According to statistics by Harington-Dobinson and Blows (2007)

    • Word count: 1852
  25. Semantic Memory and Language production.

    Nature and function of semantic memory Semantic memory is a dynamic and effective system that relies on the coordination of multiple components that is distributed across to a large network of the brain's cortical regions (Antonucci & Reilly, 2008). Semantic memory can also be defined as a person's knowledge of the world in general without any memory of specific personal life events or experiences (Goldstein, 2009). McNamara (2005), states that semantic memory is part of one's long-term memory that processes ideas, meanings, and concepts.

    • Word count: 1307

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • “The hippocampus is the site of memory”. Critically discuss this statement.

    "In conclusion it would seem clear that the evidence put forward falsifies the statement that the hippocampus is the site of memory. Admittedly the hippocampus does play a crucial role in forming new memories. However it has also been shown that other areas, such as the diencephalon, the perirhinal cortex, the amygdala and the basal forebrain also play critical roles in the functioning of human memory. It would thus seem more appropriate to declare that the hippocampus plays a crucial role in human memory as opposed to labelling it the 'sole' site of memory. This discussion has also shed light onto the complexity of human memory and human cognitive functioning in general. Therefore, as Ramachandran (1998) appropriately stipulates, the logical conclusion to be drawn from studies of amnesia is not that memories are actually stored in the hippocampus (as old memories are preserved), but that the hippocampus is vital for the acquisition of new memory traces in the brain."

  • "Critically evaluate the role of neural structures in subserving psychological functions"

    "CONCLUSION The main purpose of this study was to analyze the neural structures and how they relate and support psychological functions. The cerebral hemispheres, the cerebellum and the brain stem are the three main parts of a brain. Each one relates with specific operations and all interact in order to control our vital needs and behavioural responses. The psychological functions that were investigated here were language and memory. Language has a specific construction, that individuals with brain damage such as aphasias may not interpret, or they may be capable of understanding some aspects of it. Memory is the psychological fermentation that stores past events, and how this events are recalled in the future as an aspect of our behaviour. Various theories have categorized memory, and numerous researches were conducted in order to find which parts of the brain are related to this function."

  • No model of human cognition can be complete, unless it incorporates both mental representations and information processing. Discuss

    "In conclusion, in the absence of a particular object we rely on our representations to bring the object to the forefront of our minds. Certain models of human cognition would have us believe that representations and information processing do not combine to aid cognition. This essay however has taken an opposing stance and has tried to demonstrate that mental representations and information processing work together and that no model of human cognition is complete without the two."

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