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AS and A Level: Cognitive Psychology

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 24
  • Peer Reviewed essays 19
  1. Peer reviewed

    The cognitive perspective in psychology is often used to explain behaviour. Discuss the cognitive perspective in psychology. In your answer, refer to at least two topics that you have studied in psychology.

    5 star(s)

    However, the cognitive approach is often criticised for being too mechanistic and reductionist. This is because it reduces complex human processes and behaviour to those of a computer and ignores the fact that humans are biological organisms and are not machines. One topic that the cognitive approach applies to is anxiety disorders, and more specifically, phobias. Cognitive psychologists believe that fearful emotional responses in the form of phobias are the result of maladaptive thought processes, and that individuals have distorted interpretations of events such as automatic negative thoughts and over generalisation.

    • Word count: 594
  2. Peer reviewed

    Two attributional biases with evidence

    5 star(s)

    The Fundamental Attribution Error is the general tendency observers have to decide that an actor's behaviour has an internal cause. We have the general belief that a person's behaviour and actions are due to their own personality traits. It is likely that this is because of an expectation that our behaviour and personality match or fit each other. A real life example is "He dropped the jug because he is clumsy" Nisbett et al (1973) wanted to see if people tend to attribute the cause of a person's behaviour as due to an internal cause rather than external cause.

    • Word count: 676
  3. Peer reviewed

    Loftus and Palmer APFCC

    5 star(s)

    cause them to distort the way they constructed and stored the information in memory. The study shows that we reconstruct our memory based on schemas already stored. Eye witness testimony is important to the judicial system, as witness accounts can often influence the outcome of a jury. It is well reported that people are often inaccurate at remembering faces, weapons and numerical data such as speed and time. It is therefore evident that there are a number of variables that can affect eye witness testimony, such as the way in which a question is worded after a particular event.

    • Word count: 869
  4. Peer reviewed

    What effect does the order in which a testimony is presented have on persuading a jury?

    4 star(s)

    And because, in this system, the prosecution is heard first and the defence last, it can be assumed that the number of guilty verdicts heard under this system is greater than the number of innocent verdicts because the jury pay more attention to the case when the prosecution is heard. In the study conducted, Pennington used a mock jury with a group of participants who heard the prosecution first and the defence last, and another group who heard the defence first and the prosecution last.

    • Word count: 569
  5. Peer reviewed

    Outline & Evaluate the Cognitive Interview

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    Fisher and Geiselman found that reporting everything and mental reinstatement check for consistency of the eyewitness report, and changing the order and perspective helps to create a different route to recall, increasing the amount of information. The cognitive interview has strong supporting research; Kohnken et al for example, reviewed research into eyewitness testimony and found that the cognitive interview increased the amount of correct information recalled by 48%, compared to the standard interview.

    • Word count: 461
  6. Peer reviewed

    A study by Loftus and Palmer (1974) into the accuracy of Eye Witness Testimony aimed to find out if changing the wording of a question could distort ones ability to recall from memory an event.

    4 star(s)

    Similarly, when called back a week later and asked if any broken glass was seen, they found that although there wasn't any present, 32% in the 'smashed' condition said they had seen broken glass. Loftus and Palmer therefore concluded that by using the word 'smash' it gives suggestions of strong impact and thus shows that leading questions have an impact on the accuracy of eyewitness' ability to re-call situations. The strengths from this study include providing useful insight for the police so they know that when interviewing witnesses they should be aware of the way they phrase their questions to ensure the memory of the witness isn't distorted in any way.

    • Word count: 864
  7. Free essay

    Trace Decay Theory

    4 star(s)

    Ebbinghaus concluded that over time, the trace faded and the list of syllables was lost. However, there are some criticisms of this experiment, one being that he was the only participant so it is hard to make a generalisation from such a small sample. A further criticism of his experiment was using himself as a participant which could lead to experimenter bias. He knew what his aims and results were, so there was a possibility of demand characteristics. Overall, the criticisms of the trace decay theory are that we cannot physically see the trace so it is impossible to prove,

    • Word count: 904
  8. Peer reviewed

    Outline and evaluate research relating to the linguistic relativity hypothesis

    4 star(s)

    Brown & Lenneberg studied Zuni speakers in New Mexico, whose language had no separate word to describe yellow and orange, and found that they had difficulty in a task that required them to distinguish the two. This appears to support the hypothesis, but there has been research to indicate the contrary. Challenging research comes from Rosch, who studied speakers of Dani (a language of New Guinea). Dani has no words for separate colours, instead only distinguishing brightness, and yet its speakers were successful in tasks that required them to distinguish between a wide array of colours.

    • Word count: 825
  9. Peer reviewed

    The Biological model

    4 star(s)

    It has been found that an excess of the neurotransmitter dopamine has been linked to SZ. Finally infection is a common cause for physical illness; Barr et al found a significant link between mothers who had influenza whilst pregnant and their child developing SZ. As there are physiological causes of abnormality therefore the treatments are physiological these are Drugs, ECT, which involves a small electric shock being sent to the brain causing a small seizure/convulsion and psychosurgery.

    • Word count: 515
  10. Peer reviewed

    'To what extent does psychological research support Atkinson and Shiffrin's model of memory?'

    4 star(s)

    There is some evidence to support this view. In one particular experiment, participants were asked to rehearse a list of items out loud. In general, the more frequently an item was rehearsed the more likely it was to be recalled from LTM (Rundus, 1971). However, evidence from everyday situations implies that rehearsal is a lot less important than the multi-store model suggests. Eysenck & Keane (1995) said that people rarely rehearse information in their everyday lives yet information is constantly entering LTM.

    • Word count: 832

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?
  • How to Interpret Dreams. Ill discuss several theories on dream interpretation. In an online article published in January 2005 entitled How Dreams Work, Lee Ann Obringer discusses a theory from Sigmund Freud, a leading dream theorist.

    "To sum up, I have discussed dreams according to experts in dream theory, common dream interpretation and how to interpret dreams yourself to better understand dreams and where they come from. The dream I had with my father dying, helped me identify a personal conflict within me that I was torn between, symbolized by the war. And the image of death in my dream helped me see a part of me that I was losing due to the choice I had to make. This new personal insight and inspiration was provided only through dream interpretation. With practice, anyone can learn the language of dreams and what they have to offer."

  • Consider the extent to which the working memory model is an improvement over the multi-store model.

    "The evidence concluded by research into the working memory model, especially that done by Baddeley and Hitch, and their conclusions are hard to explain using the multi-store model of memory. Another reason why the working memory model is an improvement on the multi-store model is because it only has rehearsal taking place in one area instead of it being the most important part as it is in the multi-store model. Also the working memory model supports the evidence we have from brain damaged patients, much better than the multi store model. Shallice and Warrington studied KF, who had a normal LTM, but a damaged STM. However his short term forgetting of auditory stimuli was much larger than his short term forgetting of visual stimuli, i.e. he was able to remember meaningful sounds, but not words. The working memory model is a big improvement over the multi store model, because it is in much more detail, and also has more evidence to support it."

  • Discuss alternative models of memory

    "In conclusion, although research has been found to support and refute both the WMM and the LOP approach, both theories cannot be known for sure if they are correct. The MSM is also at fault, therefore the mystery of our memory still remains; the ghost in the machine, we can observe the actions (machine) but never see inside the mind."

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