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University Degree: Cognitive Psychology

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Summarise two different psychological approaches to identity. How has each been used to further our understanding of this concept?

    Ego identity is Erikson's term for a secure feeling of who and what one is (Phoenix, 2007, p55). He says that this is achieved during adolescence which is the fifth stage of his theory. During adolescence, young people are developing a sense of self and exploring their independence. In this period, young people can, for a while, try out various identities without commitment before finding their own niche in society (Phoenix, 2007, p55). If they find it hard to make commitments to adult roles and are at war with themselves, this is called identity crisis. Marcia developed Erikson's theory further by developing a semi-structured interview method to measure identity as well as developing four different identity statuses.

    • Word count: 1470
  10. How can visual illusions illustrate top down processes in perception? Contrast this with a visual illusion that can be explained through bottom up processes.

    Visual illusions can be used to illustrate this type of perceptual processing in a number of ways, one of which is in illusions which involve ambiguity. One example in which this can be seen is the Necker cube (see figure 1). This optical illusion was first published in 1982 in Switzerland by Louis Albert Necker. It has an ambiguous nature as it can be interpreted in more than one way. It the intersection of the two lines, it is unclear which is in the front therefore meaning that it can be understood in two different formats consequently using multi-stable perception.

    • Word count: 1128
  11. Does Knowledge Progress Through a Selection of Stages?

    The age ranges of Piaget's theory are only a rough guide, with the actual rate of progression based on the individual, it is the order of the stages which is fixed as the theory is based on the assumption that each stage is the foundation for the next so it would be impossible to miss or only partially complete a stage. The sensory motor stage is the 'baby' stage of infancy, named to indicate the two major developments of the senses and movement.

    • Word count: 1525
  12. Memory and the Self Concept

    How it interprets that information is a distinct quality. And the mode of interpretation (memory functions) can be linked to the self concept in a possibly symbiotic relationship. A standard memory model such as the Atkinson Shiffrin model can be used to show how different components of memory support the presence of a self concept. (Tulving et al, 2000) The Atkinson Shiffrin model consists of the sensory, working (short term) and long term memory systems. Sensory memory allows us to reproduce information (iconic, echoic, haptic)

    • Word count: 1554
  13. How can you explain the phrase looking but not seeing and relate it to research and theories of visual attention?

    As a general rule, cues facilitate detection of and response to stimuli presented at the cued location (Goldstein, 2001). Posner argued that it's our attention moving around the visual field, often remarkably independent of our actual gaze direction. Even if we're looking directly at something, and when we don't expect to see it, we're no more likely to notice it than if it appears on the edge of our vision. It appears that attention can be likened to a spotlight roving across our vision like a virtual eye, just picking out the things in which it is interested; it's not as attached to where we point our eyes as we might imagine (Psyblog, 2009).

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  14. Can 'learning' explain phobias about snakes or creepy-crawlies

    'Learning' by behavioural approach assumes that a learner is essentially passive, responding to environmental stimuli. (Learning Theories Knowledgebase, 2010). Learning will take place if the learner displays behaviour related to the new learning. The behaviourists de-emphasize the brain or mental activity in the learning process and believe that the brain is simply like any other organ; its neural activities are conditioned to occur based upon a past history of consequences. 'Learning' occurs when new consequences are experienced (Blanchard & Thacker, 2004).

    • Word count: 1639
  15. Behaviourist And Cognitive Approach To Learning and Phobias

    Failure at one stage causes particular problems in the process of identification. Bruce and Young's (1986) came up with a cognitive model which describes face perception. This model shows how Bruce and Young's theory splits face recognition into different functions. The first stage of their theory describes how the face is encoded using descriptions. These descriptions are then analysed independently for facial expressions and then information about their age, gender and race. Feature information enables us to make familiarity judgements on the basis of the physical features of faces which lead to the next stage of the model.

    • Word count: 1065
  16. Controlled Laboratory studies are widely used in memory research. Evaluate the contribution made by two other approaches to memory research.

    However, controlled laboratory studies used by psychologists such as Hermann Ebbinghaus who pioneered experimental study of memory (1885, found in Brace and Roth, 2007, p122) in order to understand coding, storing and retrieval of memories, overlooked any introspective meaning and the level of analysis lacked ecological value. In a subject a s complex as understanding memory processes in relation to the mind and the brain, methodological diversity is very important. Naturally then, psychologists began to study the processes from different perspectives using introspection, and also at a biological level providing different levels of analysis. Psychologists such as Marigold Linton (1982)

    • Word count: 1603
  17. Learning and memory Journal Article Review

    They also devised a second criterion - the sensitivity criterion, which stated that unaware learning must achieve an adequate level of sensitivity. In detail, in order to show that two dependent variables say tests of conscious knowledge and task performance relate to dissociable underlying systems, we must be able to show that our test of awareness is sensitive to all of the relevant conscious knowledge. Unless this criterion is met, the fact that subjects are able to transmit more information in their task performance than in a test of awareness may simply be due to the greater sensitivity of the performance test to whatever conscious information the subject has encoded.

    • Word count: 1383
  18. Sensation and perception essay

    For example, if a person is looking for changes in shapes, colours or movements of objects, there is increased activity in the portions of his visual cortex devoted to the analysis of shapes, colours or movements. (Martin, et al., 2007) Different mechanisms serve to filter out irrelevant information and make us more responsive to particular stimuli. Ultimately, selective attention would sort out the information that should reach Short Term Memory and finally manipulate what is stored in Long-Term Memory. (Elizabeth, 2005)

    • Word count: 1235
  19. It can be argued that attribution theory does no more than suggest that individuals see the world solely in the light of their own biases. To what extent does the research evidence suggest this satisfactory interpretation of attribution theory?

    has developed a Covariation model which is considered to be a successful method that helps to explain people's behavior. To narrow down a specific attribution the psychologists look at number of situations. The essential information's which are gathered from the situation are: * Consensus information is the information regarding how other people besides the actor treat the target. * Distinctiveness information: about how the actor treats other people besides the target * And consistency information: how the actor treats the target across time and different situations. (Akert. R.,& Aronson, E., & Wilson, T. (2005). "Social Psychology" ) Covariation model specifies that people tend to make internal attributions when consensus and distinctiveness are low and consistency is high.

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  20. is there a critical period in language acquisition?

    Snow and Hoefnagel-Hohle (1978, as cited in Whitney, 1998) found that adults tend to perform better than children in the early stages of learning a second language. To begin with, adults quickly learn to produce sentences in a second language, whereas young children can take months to learn a new language (Whitney, 1998). However, the initial advantage that adults have over children is temporary as in the long-term children have the main advantage as the younger the exposure to a second language, the higher the level of mastery achieved.

    • Word count: 1582
  21. How Do We Perceive Colour

    The human eye perceives that light as green. Infants responded to the light this time unlike before. The results of the experiment showed that both infants and adults perceive colour in the same way (cited in Perception book, Fifth edition, chapter 7, pages 235-236). Isaak Newton argues that objects are not coloured but are given their colour through the reflection of light from certain parts of the scope. Moreover, there are some people who see colours differently from the majority of people because they may have irregular eyes or irregular brains and these are the two important parts from where people perceive colours.

    • Word count: 1392
  22. What factors can lead to a problem being relatively easily solved?

    Since many of the factors that make problems easier to solve in one actually overlap into both categories, it is worth detailing them individually within each context. The issue of representation is a concept that all areas of problem solving appear to return to in one way or another. Within 'simple' problem solving, the Gestalt approach accentuated the importance of restructuring through their emphasis on insight. Dunker (1945, cited in Green and Gilhooly, 2005), exemplified how restructuring facilitated problem solving through his work with the X-ray problem.

    • Word count: 1698
  23. Brain Lateralization

    However, nobody showed any interest in this finding and this is caused maybe because Dax believed that the two hemispheres work as a whole and no independently (Pinel, 1997). After 25 years, Paul Broca reported as well that 2 patients who suffered from aphasia, had lesion if the left hemisphere. It was then that the fact that the two hemispheres work independently was supported. Many researches in split-brain patients have performed to show that the left hemisphere is more responsible for language and phonological functioning, while the right one is responsible for emotion and creativity (Pinel, 1997).

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  24. Hot Hand Effect and Gamblers Fallacy

    Almost every decision we make involves uncertainty in some way. The heuristic and biases approach to decision making outlined in the work of Tversky and Kahneman (e.g., Kahneman, Slovic, & Tversky, 1982; Gilovich, Griffin, & Kahneman, 2002) has focused on the validity of causal beliefs. Studies have shown that people are more likely to continue a sequence when, an event is not random and the outcome reflects human performance (Ayton & Fischer, 2004). The induction that the sequence should continue (positive recency) was observed by Gilovich, Vallone and Tversky (1985).

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  25. Descartes(TM) view of the mind and how it relates to the human being

    On the other hand the body is constructed under the underlying laws of physics, and its components obey the well-enumerated laws of physiology. It also includes what humans perceive of their own self image with their senses. The mind is not aware of its surroundings, and it is just the manifestation of the activity of the brain (Szasz 1996); it is driven to function by instinct and urges that are fed to it from the physical surrounds. The mind is fundamentally just a collection of learned responses.

    • Word count: 1465

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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