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AS and A Level: Cognitive Psychology

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  1. An investigation into the effect free and cued recall has on the retrieval of information

    They were then given an answer sheet that varied on whether they were using free or cued recall. If they were participating in the cued recall the answer sheet would have the category titles available, if the participant were using free recall the answer sheet would be blank. The results showed a significant difference in that the participants using cues scored better than the participants not using cues, as there were no memory triggers. This shows that not all memory is lost but simply cannot be retrieved.

    • Word count: 2533
  2. An experiment to support the assumption that there are two distinct memory stores in the multi store model of memory as propos

    proposed the two process model of memory, which suggested that information flows through two stores of short term and long term memory; it is also termed the multi store model of memory. Much research has been done to support the theory that there are indeed two separate memory stores in the multi store model of memory by many psychologists like Atkinson and Shriffin (1968), Glanzer and Cunitz (1966), Bruce and Papay (1970) and Craik (1970) to name a few. There are mainly two pieces of evidence hat support the multi store model's assumptions about the way information flows through two distinct stores, and that is through free recall experiments and studies of brain damaged patients with anterograde amnesia.

    • Word count: 2449
  3. What role does evolution play in the development of phobias?

    Such findings can be explained by analysing Seligman's theory. Seligman's theory (1971) proposed that humans have an evolutionary pre-dispositional preparedness to fear certain stimuli more than others, i.e. spiders and snakes. Our ancestors who had fears of such stimuli were likely to be more successful through natural selection. Seligman went to point out that an organism can be: Prepared - i.e. people will fear stimuli which signalled danger in ancestral environments but not necessarily our current environment. Non-prepared - i.e.

    • Word count: 624
  4. why do humans forget?

    New information Old information Trace decay Trace is some kind of physical or chemical change in our brain. The trace decay theory of forgetting occurs as a result of the automatic decay of the memory trace. If information is not rehearsed then memory trace will decay in 10-15 seconds and become lost for ever! Interference These theory says that people more likely to forget information from STM when different items is similar and interferes with each other making it difficult to rehears, causing people to get mixed up. Older memories can interferes with newer, as newer memories can interferes with older.

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  5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapy that is involved with the Cognitive approach to Psychology.

    Maladaptive behavior is behavior that does not allow a person to lead a normal life. When speaking of it in a biological sense, it is animal behavior that prevents breeding. The use of CBT can alter the thinking patterns of a person which will ultimately let them behave more normally. The thinking part of this process is otherwise known as the 'Cognitive' part and what the person does is know as their 'Behavior'. By making these changes to a person's life, they are able to feel better about themselves.


    If you look at the Necker cube for any length of time, the cube seems to turn itself inside out. At first we see the cube facing one way but if we keep looking it reverses itself, not only that but this happens whether we want it to or not. This highlights an important part of perception, the idea that no matter what it is we look at we unconsciously guess or form a hypothesis of what we can see.

    • Word count: 3240
  7. Revision Revision Strategies

    This also applies when initially learning a topic. Always ask for help if needed; tutors have an abundance of knowledge on exactly the topic being studying and will have alleviated many other students on the same topic so they will expect to be asked for their assistance. Study environments can have a positive or negative effect on revision. A quiet area free from distraction is best for providing an increased ability to concentrate. Where as studying while listening to music or around noisy children can only lead to poor concentration and hence poor revision.

    • Word count: 1015
  8. Are Forgotten Memories Lost, or Just Irretrievable ?

    Hence, according to Loftus, forgetfulness is due to a potential loss of memory. A Question of Inaccessibility However, Bekerian and Bowers (1983) and Christiaansen and Ochalek (1983) contended that the original information is not lost from memory, but is merely rendered inaccessible or non-retrievable. Bekerian and Bowers argued that in Loftus's studies, the recognition test items are presented in random order and not in the order in which the queried information occurred in the original slide sequence. Thus the retrieval environment does not closely match the original encoding environment.

    • Word count: 1324
  9. Consider psychological research into explanations of forgetting in Short-term memory

    Considering that the STM only has memory duration of 18-30 seconds it is understandable that we forget information. This school of thought was studied by Peterson and Peterson (1959) who investigated the duration of the STM using the Brown-Peterson technique from which they found that memories have a physical basis or trace. These traces decay over time unless the information is passed to LTM through rehearsal. In their experiment participants were shown nonsense trigrams which consisted of 3 random consonants.

    • Word count: 803
  10. To what extent has psychological research shown eyewitness testimony to be unreliable?

    She has carried out various experiments concerned with leading questions and language. She believes that the language used when questioning witnesses may lead them to give a certain answer. In 1974 Loftus and Palmer studied EWT by showing participants films of a multiple car crash. After watching the film they were then asked questions including "How fast do you think the cars were going when they hit?" In some cases the word hit was replaced other nouns such as smashed, collided, bumped or contacted. Also, a week later they were asked if they had seen any broken glass, there was in fact no broken glass shown on the films.

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  11. "An experiment to see the effect of chunking on short-term memory recall".

    110010110) and found the span to be about the same as for decimal digits. A few subjects who were taught a higher-level structure that could be applied to the binary digit strings were able to dramatically improve their span, and Smith himself, who mastered the higher-level code, was able to remember strings of 40 binary digits. One higher-level code was based on representing the eight possible 3 digit binary strings as the numerals 0-7 so that 3 binary characters could be recoded and stored as one. For example the code for the string 101 is 5, which takes less storage and can be decoded into 101 when recall is required.

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  12. Hypothesis 1 - Participants will have a higher recall in the cued recall condition rather than the free recall condition

    An alternative approach therefore is to emphasize the role of established information as an aid to integrating new information. Bransford and Johnson's assessment of people's recall for a particular piece of text shows a clear link between understanding and memory. Thus we "remember material which we understand and we understand material which we remember". Craik and Lockhart (1972) put forward an alternative explanation to Atkinson's and Shiffrin's model of memory. Craik and Lockhart claimed that there are different levels of processing which determine how well the stimulus material is recalled. The first level of processing is at the 'shallow level' where the surface features of a stimulus are analysed superficially.

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  13. Images are recalled better than words

    he showed participants a list of consonants, for about 3/4 of a second. Participants were then asked to recall what they had seen. Conrad found that errors of recall were linked to letters which had a similar sound. Bs were mistaken for Ps 62 times, Vs were mistaken for Ps 83 times but Ss were mistaken for Ps only 2 times. This suggests that visually presented information is encoded according to acoustics/sounds. Conrad referred to these errors as Acoustic Confusion. Shulman also conducted a research suggesting that Conrad was incorrect in proposing that all encoding in short term memory was acoustic.

    • Word count: 1937
  14. The Effects of Humor and Incongruence on Word Recall

    Hastie and Kumar (1979) examined the effects that incongruence has on memory. Incongruence was operationally defined as the type of discrepant behaviors in relation to personality traits. Participants were asked to read a list of personality traits and another list of either congruent, neutral, or incongruent behaviors relative to the personality. The results revealed that incongruent behaviors were recalled significantly higher than both congruent and neutral behaviors. Hastie and Kumar proposed a simple network model and a depth-of-processing model to explain their results. Through these models, they hypothesized that because incongruent information is difficult to comprehend and challenges prior expectation, it requires a more complex and profound cognitive processing of information than the cognitive processes of congruent and neutral information.

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  15. An experiment to investigate if the association of words leads to better recall

    The sensory memories act as buffers for stimuli received through the senses. Information is passed from sensory memory into short-term memory by attention, thereby filtering the stimuli to only those which are of interest at a given time. Short-term memory acts as a scratch-pad for temporary recall of the information under process. Chunking of information can lead to an increase in the short term memory capacity. Long-term memory is intended for storage of information over a long time. Information from the working memory is transferred to it after a few seconds. Unlike in working memory, there is little decay.

    • Word count: 2588
  16. Investigation to see which of the two interference methods, playing video games or listening to music, has more of an effect on recall.

    The problem with the above study is that the interference was a list of trigrams which lacks ecological validity. I will be replicating the above study to a certain extent but aim to include interference that can commonly be found in everyday life. My investigation will involve listening to music or playing a video game as the interference methods that can be applied to real life situations in order to see if the theory of interference has a more practical application.

    • Word count: 2539
  17. "It is clear that eyewitness testimony is entirely unreliable".To what extent does psychological research support this view on eyewitness testimony?

    It was found that the speed at which the participants thought the cars were going was affected by the verb used in the question. Overall, we can sum up that recall can be distorted by the wording of the question. The study proves that eyewitness testimony can often be inaccurate, and brings in the idea of false memory syndrome. This is the act of being unsure of details, which leads us to estimate values, often incorrectly. Some words I feel imply speed more than others, and act as leading questions.

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    There are five types of processing, these are; depth, organisation, distinctiveness, elaboration and effort. A limitation of this model is that research done by Morris et al. who did a similar experiment to Craik and Tulving showed that there are more possible explanations to memory. Craik and Tulving gave their participants a list of common nouns and they were then asked to answer three types of questions about these words such as (taken from book); analysis of the physical structure (shallow processing): a participant might be asked 'Is the word printed in capital letters?'

    • Word count: 873

    There is supporting evidence for proactive and retroactive interference; a typical study of this is called the paired-associate technique which is where two word lists are given and learning one list interferes with learning the other, such as that done by Underwood. In a study into memory done by Tulving and Pstoka to support the theory of interference they found that the participants given one or two lists remembered a higher percentage of words than those who were given more lists in terms of free recall.

    • Word count: 611
  20. Find out if recall of words is better when recalled in the environmental context of which the words were learned

    To prevent experimenter effects standardised procedures will be used. PB7 P =0.5 level of significance is to be reached before the experimental hypothesis can be retained as then the likelihood the results are down to chance alone are less than 5%. PB8 Potential ethical issues include Deception - this can be dealt with by debriefing participants at the end of the study. At the start of the investigation participants are debriefed about the task at hand and told of their right to withdraw from the study once it has been started.

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  21. Research studies that have suggested that decay and displacement are two possible explanations for forgetting in the STM. Outline & evaluate explanations for forgetting in the STM

    They were given a number from the series and then asked which number followed it. This was known as the serial probe technique. This experiment didn't really prove that trace decay existed. Participants might of guessed what they had to do or thought they knew what they had to do and therefore this would cause them to focus on what they think is the correct answer and not paying attention to everything else. In the trace decay theory you have to go on the assumption that it is a psychical basis, the trace which will decay if not rehearsed.

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  22. Outline one explanation of forgetting in long-term memory (LTM) and give one criticism of this explanation.

    They showed a number of participant a video of a road accident, involving a number of cars, they where asked to describe what had happened after the video, they were also asked a number of question, of which one word was changed, for example, when the word smashed was used to describe the impact of the cars, the speed the participant thought they were going increased, when the word bumped was used the speed was slower. One criticism of this study s that it lacked external validity as they recall of a real life car crash would be more realistic than watching a video in an artificial setting.

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  23. The aim of the study was to investigate the variation between memorizing words from organised lists and non-organised lists.

    Subsequently, they were asked to recall as much words as possible. In condition 2, participants were presented with words which were disorganised randomly. They were also asked to recall as much words as possible. A matched participant design was chosen because it necessitated a lot of participants since there would need to be an experimental group and a control group. Therefore, the repeated measures design was not possible. Compared to the independent measures design the matched participant design was better in ensuring that participants in each group were similar in abilities, so it was much more sensitive to the dependent variable than in the independent measures design.

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  24. Carry out an experiment on participants to investigate proactive interference on memory recall, using McGeoch's 1942 study as the basic format of the experiment. McGeoch's research showed that proactive interference

    The results from this experiment show the alternative hypothesis was retained, in turn the null hypothesis is rejected. To conclude on the information collected, it shows proactive interference did take place in condition 2, and it had a negative effect on memory recall. INTRODUCTION The mind is one of the most amazing functions on this planet. The human brain controls the entire body, tells muscles to contract, blood to be pumped and stores absolutely everything a human has ever seen, heard, smelt, tasted and touched in the memory.

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  25. 'Eyewitness testimony may be all the evidence that is available in a trial but it is notoriously unreliable.' Consider what psychological research can tell us about the accuracy of eyewitness testimony.

    Each group were asked ten questions about what they had seen. Group one were asked questions which were consistent with what the film showed. Group two were asked the same questions with the addition of one which conflicted what was shown on the video-"How fast was the white car going when it passed the barn?" This question was misleading as there was no barn pictured within the video. After a week, the participants were all asked a further ten questions, including "Did you see a barn?" The findings of the experiment showed that only 2.7% of group one gave the incorrect answer to the question, stating there was a barn.

    • Word count: 875

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