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AS and A Level: Cognitive Psychology

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  1. Does the use of a distracter affect short-term memory?

    The next stage, short-term memory, is memory that has passed from sensory memory, into short-term memory and can be retained long enough for it to be used, such as remembering a telephone number long enough to dial it or write it down. The third and final stage is long-term memory. This provides lasting retention of memories and is generally brought about due to repetition of short-term memories. Glanzer and Cunitz (1966) investigated how a distracter affected the recency effect. They asked participants to count backwards for ten seconds between the end of list presentation and start of recall.

    • Word count: 1519
  2. How can the way we organise our thinking help us improve our memory?

    As illustrated by Spoors et al. (2007), the use of Mental Images have proved to be valuable when learning a new language. The French word 'poubelle' can be translated into English as bin. In order to remember this, a mental image was formed which linked the two words. For this word the person, could imagine themselves holding their nose, whilst taking the lid of a bell shaped bin. This is known as the Key Word Technique. An experiment conducted in 1975 by Raugh and Atkinson, the developers of the key word technique, highlights the positive use of mental imagery when learning a new language.

    • Word count: 1116
  3. Describe and evaluate two possible causes of Schizophrenia and two treatments

    Research has also proven that a young child and teens brains are more sensitive to stress then an adult would be. Figures show that a child or teens brain is 5-10 times more sensitive to stress than an adult brain would be to stress. What seems like mild to moderate stress for an adult may be very severe stress for a child. This stress-related brain damage can greatly increase risk for many types of mental illness later in life. Looking deeper into the causes of schizophrenia, it is safe to say that genes do play a part in the illness.

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  4. The role of emotional factors in memory

    This is a good indication that repression exists. Another explanation for this could be that the abuse victims were so young when it happened that they simply forgot, or the victims could just be unwilling to talk about what happened. This experiment used a very biased sample - participants were women of which most of them were poor and lived in urban places, so there could be another reason for poor recall instead of repression. Other studies also support the theory of repression.

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  5. Piaget(TM)s theory on cognitive development

    Each stage is typified by the kind of schemas a child a child has within that stage. The intellectual understanding attained at each stage builds upon that of the previous stage, and the stages are therefore passed through in sequence. Development remains continuous and fluid through all the stages however, rather than jumping from one stage to the next. The first stage is called the sensorimotor stage. This stage occupies approximately the first two years of the child's life. It is characterised by the child's hands-on approach to discovering the world around it. The child learns by hearing, seeing, smelling (sensory)

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  6. Psychology discussion

    This links to my experiment because using the technique chunking on an organised and disorganised list of words, led to an improvement in the number of trigrams recalled in the organised condition rather than the disorganised condition. In the organized list around 21 individual letters were recalled, compared to only 9 in the disorganized list. This supports Chase and Simons view that chunking can lead to better recall. My experiment was based on a previous study by Bowers in 1969; the results produced are similar to those obtained by Bowers.

    • Word count: 1163
  7. To what extent has psychology revealed the nature of memory?

    The research was also did not have mundane realism so it could not be generalised, and because strings of digits are meaningless, the capacity of the short-term memory could have been shorter. Miller coined the term "chunking" and established that the capacity of short term memory was 7�2 chunks rather than just individual digits. A "chunk" is a meaningful block of information, such as the word "cat" � it is not remembered as "C" + "A" + "T" (which would, by Jacobs' findings, take up three STM blocks), but it is instead remembered as the word "cat", which takes up one "chunk".

    • Word count: 1653
  8. Section B Essay: Eye Witness Testimony

    Upon watching on of the versions of the video, the participants were asked whether the person doing the pushing was "playing around" or showing "violent behaviour". When then aggressor was white 67% said that the person was "playing around", when the person was black, 70% said the behaviour was "violent". This suggests that the perception of the witness could be affected by the ethnicity of the aggressor. Another thing psychologists have found out about the processes and factors affecting witness testimony is that the presence of a weapon can cause one to be less accurate in their recall.

    • Word count: 1405
  9. In the case of Sarah it would appear that she might be suffering from a panic disorder with agoraphobia, which is characterised, by panic attacks and avoidance of open or public places

    and assigning unusual significance or meaning to normal events or holding fixed false personal beliefs (delusions). Both disorders result in abnormal behaviour but the panic disorder with agoraphobia occurs in a certain given situation, whereas the disorder schizophrenia is messages interpreted by the brain as voices or instructions. Which can occur for no reason at all, other than the psychotic manifestations. There is no embarrassment felt with schizophrenia as they can consider the behaviour normal whilst deluded, however sufferers of the panic disorder with agoraphobia are constantly conscious of the abnormal behaviour that they display. Biomedical (Biological) Approach This approach has been devised upon the evidence of genetic factors within the development of Twins with phobias.

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  10. Memory Test

    Is the word uppercase? Level 2 - Phonetic or Phonemic What it sounds like E.g. Does the word rhyme with...? Level 3 - Semantic What the word looks means E.g. Does the word mean the same as? Each of these questions required participants to process information at different levels. Question 1 required shallow processing. Question 2 required phonetic or phonemic processing. Questions 3 and 4 required semantic processing; Participants were asked to answer yes or no, in each case Participants were then given an unexpected test of recognitions.

    • Word count: 1791
  11. Course work on memory

    This is just one of the experiments that shows just how influential Eye-witness testimony can be in a trial, which if not given accurately can lead to many incorrect convictions. Another study done by Loftus and Palmer (1975) was to investigate the effect of leading questions on the accuracy of Eye-witness testimony. The participants were shown a short film of a car crash. Afterwards they were asked to estimate the "speed the car was going when it bumped/hit/smashed into the other car".

    • Word count: 1681
  12. Discuss biological and psychological explanations of depression

    It was found that compared with the general population, unipolar depression rates were 2-3 times higher where a first degree relative had depression. One particular study which lends weight to genetic involvement in depression is that of Egeland et al. (1987). Egeland et al studied a small religious community living in Pennsylvania which had relatively low incidences of major depressive illness in comparison with the surrounding communities. One family that was studied had an extremely high level of bipolar disorder.

    • Word count: 1916
  13. Memory and Eyewitness Testimony

    The levels of processing model rejects that there are different stores in memory but proposes that memory is a product on how deeply something is processed. Craik and Lockhart claimed that deep processing will lead to a longer term memory and involves understanding something semantically. In contrast shallow processing will lead to a short term memory and involves non meaningful processing - such as the shape of something. Things are initially processed on a shallow level then elaborative rehearsal will lead to deep processing.

    • Word count: 1603
  14. Distinguishing abnormal from normal thought and behaviour

    For example most people fall within the middle range of intelligence, but a small percentage are above and below the average. So according to this definition, people who are either extremely intelligent or unintelligent would both be classified as abnormal. Thus in defining abnormal behavior we must consider more. These comparisons can be seen in the normal distribution curve shown below. * Deviation from social norms - Society has certain standards for acceptable behavior and certain behavior that deviates from that standard is considered to be abnormal behavior.

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  15. Temperament Construct

    For instance, In the 17th century, the- role of the environment was emphasized, the mind considered a blank slate written upon by experience. This was during the time of the enlightenment or age of reason which emphasized the potential of human beings. In the 19th century Dr. Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory emphasized role of a caregiving environment on child development. Then, in the 20th century-children's behavior was learned through the processes of conditioning and reinforcement. However, as time progressed so did the ways in which researchers examined human behavior.

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  16. Free essay

    Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

    (Cardwell et al, 2000). Maslow suggested that many individuals would never reach our full potential and would therefore never reach self-actualisation. How the Hierarchy Works. Each individual starts at the bottom of the hierarchy and has to satisfy each level before they can move to the next level of the hierarchy. Physiological needs: - these are the basic needs such as, oxygen, shelter, food, thirst, sleep, sex etc, these basic needs must be meet in order to move up to the next level of the hierarchy.

    • Word count: 1200
  17. Discuss the roles of emotional factors in memory

    Also how they felt about it and what happened after the event. However Neisser said in 1982 that the nature of the flashbulb memories comes from frequent rehearsal and reworking after the event. He also believes that when people recall the memory they tell it in a story-like way which makes it easier for the listener to remember and for the person who has experienced the memory. Neisser also thought that flashbulb memories were just as inaccurate as normal memories.

    • Word count: 1093
  18. Outline and evaluate research related to eyewitness testimony

    For example, canoe changed to boat, and black substance from the mouth became blood. The reconstructive nature of memory therefore demonstrates that individuals reconstruct a memory when they are unable to remember everything. They attempt to fill in the 'missing' details with what they think has happened, based on their knowledge of the world, in the form of schemas. To evaluate Bartlett's study, it provided evidence for the reconstructive nature of memory. However the study only involved seven women and 13 men.

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  19. Outline and evaluate research into the way emotional factors influence forgetting

    Direct recall attempts to try and retrieve these memories will either fail, lead to distorted recall or digression from the topic. According to Freud, the mind consists of three parts, the Id, Ego and Superego. The Id is governed by the pleasure principle; it seeks pleasure to avoid pain, the emphasis is on immediate gratification. The Ego is governed by the reality principle, thus taking environmental factors into account and realising what is possible. The superego is the conscience; this takes into account what is morally right and wrong for that individual.

    • Word count: 1702
  20. Explain how scientific, social constructionist and applied approaches to the study of childhood can each help understand the reactions to the two young killers of James Bulger

    During my study, I shall concentrate on the relationship between age and moral reasoning with a focus on the case involving Thompson and Venables - did they know right from wrong? The 20th Century theorist, Jean Piaget (1896-1980) devised scientific experiments to determine universal laws of child development. One major concept he devised was that of 'cognitive development' (Book 1,Understanding Childhood, Chapter 1,pg13) which identified intellectual stages that children chronologically progress through. Development psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg formulated a theory on moral development from which cognitive development was the foundations.

    • Word count: 1668
  21. Critical Discussion of Bowlby

    86% apparently had indeed experienced early separation (if only for a week before the age of 5) and in contrast only 17% of these children had not been deprived during their early years. On this basis Bowlby claimed that maternal deprivation would have the following consequences on the child emotionally and physically-Aggressiveness, Depression, Delinquency, Dependency anxiety (clinging), Dwarfism (retarded growth), Affectionless psychopathy (showing no feelings for others), Intellectual retardation and Social maladjustment. Shumaker echoes Bowlby's findings He states that "The structure of the family and home environments are very important in the development of the child" He believed that within early childhood if detachment happens from the main caregiver of that child.

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  22. An investigation into the importance of the eyes and mouth in face recognition for 16-18 year old male and female sixth form students.

    All of the visual cues combine to let us observe the broader features of the face like the shape of the eyes or mouth. Ellis et al. (1979) showed that we tend to use internal features when recalling faces of familiar people, supporting the feature analysis theory of face recognition when recalling a face. This studies' findings can be refuted as Shepherd et al. (1981) found the opposite to be true. He investigated the importance of different features, with participants being shown unfamiliar faces for a brief period of time.

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    Psychoanalysists try to get the patient to give an insight to the root causes of feelings by asking the patient to talk freely about difficult issues. This can put the patient in a very stressful situation, and perhaps this stress is worse than the problem the patient had beforehand. One Feature of psychoanalysis is transference. Transference in itself is needed in therapist and patient relationships and is not necessarily a bad thing. However there are times when the therapist projects his or her personal feelings back onto the patient.

    • Word count: 1534
  24. "Biological explanations of schizophrenia tell us all we need to know about this disorder" Critically consider biological explanations of schizophrenia with reference to the issue raised in the quotation above.

    In a study by Heston children born to schizophrenic mothers and adopted by non-schizophrenia families was compared with a control group of adopted children with non-schizophrenic mothers. It was found that 66% of those children born to schizophrenic mothers were given a diagnosis of schizophrenia later in life compared to 18% in the control group. This suggests a strong genetic component to schizophrenia. A study by Tienari compared 112 adopted children of schizophrenic birth mothers with a control group of 135 children of non-schizophrenia birth mothers.

    • Word count: 1027

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