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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. 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
  3. Describe the impairments typically observed in children with autism and compare the different cognitive theories proposed to explain them?

    In addition inhibiting behaviour at inappropriate times may be troublesome for a child with autism. The third feature, dissimilar from reciprocal interaction and communication, involves repetitive activities and narrow interests. Children with autism value sameness and do not like change, repetitive behaviour can be quite unusual such as rocking, hand flapping and putting objects in order, these behaviours are often linked to a lack of imagination. In addition to impairments children often have fantastic ability in certain areas such as music and memory (Wallace, 2008).

    • Word count: 3073
  4. Free essay

    The Effect of Sleep Quality on Sleepiness, Cognition and Mood

    Horne's review (2010) highlights that self-reported sleepiness and 'need for sleep' are not synonymous. Anderson, Plannen and Horne (2009) found no link between self-reported sleep deficit and sleepiness scores as measured by the KSS. Research has consistently found the sleep loss depresses cognitive functioning and mood. A comprehensive review suggests this is due to sleep loss affecting hippocampal areas (Meerlo, Mistlberge, Jacobs, Heller, & McGinty, 2009). Dinges et al. (1997) subjected 16 participants to seven consecutive nights of 33% reduction in normal sleep time, and found that mood and cognitive performance progressively declined.

    • Word count: 3976
  5. How and why do we sleep, why do we dream?

    Peak levels of melatonin arise in the darkness at night when the release of melatonin is not suppressed. The lowest levels of melatonin arise in daylight, when the suppression of melatonin occurs due to the availability of light. This process allows the body to sleep effectively at night, and wake in the day (cited in Olive, 2006). The importance of melatonin in the process of sleep is emphasised in a study carried out by Czeisler et al in 1995. This study looked into the effects of light and melatonin in blind people.

    • Word count: 4472
  6. The effects of the word length effect and articulatory suppression on short term memory

    Empirical support WM and in particular the PL stems from research into the effects of articulatory suppression (AS) and word length effect (WLE). The present study investigates dual task logic that when a person tries to carry out two tasks simultaneously that use the same perceptual domain, performance is less efficient than when performing the tasks individually, (Simon and Sussman, 1987). This study focuses on the WM and the effects of AS and WLE on an immediate serial recall task. WLE (Baddeley et al, 1975, cited in Cowan, 2005: 27) refers to the ability to reproduce a sequence of short words better than long words.

    • Word count: 4118

    Social movements are directed toward a social goal. Yet in most cases, social movements exist to promote changes in the existing social order, although sometimes they hope to preserve the status quo in the face of threatened changes. Thus, social movements are testimony to the belief that people can effectively shape their societies to fit a desired pattern and is mainly used today to characterise the movements of social protest that emerge, this term was applied to new political forces opposed to the status quo.

    • Word count: 5042
  8. Depth Perception

    An area in the brain creates depth from visual image (retina, what the eye sees). In image there are cues, which allow depth to construct a three-dimensional visual experience. Although this ability of depth perception may seem simple, it is remarkable when you consider that the images projected on each retina are two-dimensional. From these flat images, a vivid three-dimensional world is constructed. To perceive depth when it is effective, we depend on two main sources of information: binocular disparity, a depth cue that requires both eyes; and monocular cues, which allow us to perceive depth with just one eye.2 Retinal disparity, stereopsis, accommodation, and convergence are all non-pictorial (primary)

    • Word count: 3136

    Erik Erikson's psychosocial theory of development is considered more relevant as it builds on Freud's thinking but considers the primary motivation for human behavior to be social in nature as opposed to s****l. Erikson sees the individual as developing through the lifespan, with normal development occurring in specific stages, for example in early childhood, and during what he terms play age, Erikson would say that the major tasks of these stages is the learning of self control, establishment of autonomy, and the developing of initiative and mastering of their environment.

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  10. Evaluate the view that recognition is the only goal of visual perception.

    One theory of visual perception in recognition which exemplifies a computational perspective is that of Marr (1982). He proposed a theory in which a series of explicit computational stages contribute to retinal stimulation, which is gradually developed into the perception of an object. Four modules or representations which Marr termed 'sketches', help the viewer to elaborate the structure of light stimulation sensed from the environment into a percept. Raw and unrefined primal sketches of the light structure in the environment are gradually built up using features in the environment such as edges, blobs and terminations, into 'full primal' sketches, and later '2.5D' representations are derived which include information about depth and distance (Braisby & Gellatly, 2005).

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  11. Free essay

    What factors need to be taken into account when conducting and interpreting intellectual assessments in neurological impaired patients?

    The most influential approach to understanding intelligence is the psychometric approach. It is based on psychometric testing, which typically establishes an intelligence quotient (IQ). The traditional view is that this score reflects a general intelligence factor "g". Others (e.g., Thurstone, 1938, as cited in Lezak, 1995) do not agree with one general score and focus on more specific group factors such as memory, verbal comprehension, spatial visualisation, or number facility. Some researchers (e.g., Catell, 1987 as cited in Ferrer & McArdle, 2004) consider g as part of a two-part construct, consisting of gF and gC, which stand for fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.

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  12. memory recall for an eyewitness event

    Therefore the degree of accurate memory recall from witnesses vary depends on the levels of their encoding during the criminal happened. There are several factors which affect our eyewitness memory; firstly, the weapon focus is believed to affect most in recalling criminal event. (Loftus et al, 1987) When a weapon is present in a criminal event, witnesses and victim were more likely to focus on the weapon rather than the other things. Hence, their recall on this eyewitness will have a less accurate result.

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  13. A study to show the relationship between repetition and the belief in Extrasensory Perception (ESP)

    is part of parapsychology, it's considered to be the responses to external stimuli without any known sensory contact. In recent years there has been a widespread and increase in the belief in paranormal (Truzzi, 1971, found in Blackmore et al., 1985), surveys have shown the most common reason for this is personal experience. ESP mainly includes telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition/psychic ability, which all have one thing in common they depend on judgements of probability. There are two explanations for people's belief; they have had the paranormal experience, or a misinterpretation of normal events as paranormal. Such misinterpretation is referring to the errors in judgement of probability; people tend to underestimate the probability of 'coincidence'.

    • Word count: 3211
  14. Review of colour constancy in human visual system

    The project is essentially a study into the ability of the visual system to discriminate illuminant boundaries, tested by measuring the degree of simultaneous colour constancy across two simulated illuminants. The first section of this review looks at the models proposed for the colour constancy phenomenon. Work into lightness perception is also introduced, and its relevance discussed. Mechanistic and computational models are compared, and their successes and failures are examined. The second section describes the experiment and the aims for the project.

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  15. What evidence is there for cognitive dysfunction in Parkinson's disease? What brain systems might be affected in these patients to cause these deficits?

    However, there is much debate on this topic, with many contradictory conclusions generated as a result. An example of this is whether recognition memory is disturbed by Parkinson's disease. The widely held view was that it remains unaltered despite the deterioration of other forms of memory (e.g. Flowers, Pearce and Pearce 1984). However, through a meta-analysis of data, Whittington, Podd, and Kan (2000) concluded that in fact procedural memory does indeed decline, with only the statistical power of the experiments that making it appear otherwise. Whittington et al (2006) confirmed this theory, as it found significant differences between Parkinson's disease sufferers and normal controls in a recognition memory task.

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  16. Stroop effect and personalaty disorderes

    He believed that attention is pre-conscious, therefore any decision about which stimulus to attend to is made before the content is known, meaning that selection is based on the sensory properties of stimulus rather than what the stimuli means. Deutsch and Deutsch (1963) and Norman (1976) proposed a model of attention involving late selection. They stated that all sensory information is unconsciously recognised at the start and goes to a short-term store, where selection then occurs on the basis of relevance or pertinence.

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  17. Memory Processing: Does Memory become Less Reliable across the Adult Life Span?

    Despite being rehearsal-independent, they found that younger adults performed better. In support to these findings, Light and Singh (1987) reviewed the study of Kausler and Hakami (1983) and their results supported their findings that older adults do best when asked to recognize words they learned earlier and somewhat worse when asked to recall words using a meaningfully-related cue. An explanation for this is that, although encoding of activities is an automatic process, retrieval from long-term episodic store may be effortful for the elderly (Kausler and Lichty, 1988). According to Belsky's (1990) review of findings, deficits can occur at the encoding, storage, or retrieval stages of information processing - "Both retrieval and encoding deficits are implicated in the lower performance

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  18. Free essay

    Experiment Measuring Reaction Times In Relation To Hours of Sleep

    It would also focus on discrimination time and factors that influence discrimination. We take many everyday actions for granted, from blinking our eyes to picking up a pencil to driving a car. Most actions, except for the simplest reflexes, involve a large amount of brain activity: receiving and processing sensory information, integrating and interpreting that information, and controlling of muscle activity to produce movements in response to the information. Reaction time is the amount of time required for the nervous system to receive and integrate incoming sensory information and then cause the body to respond.

    • Word count: 3439
  19. LOP psychology

    The results were statistically analysed using mean, median, mode and standard deviation to see if the experimental or null hypothesis was relevant. The mean amount of words recalled for the semantically processed words was 4.05, higher than the mean of phonologically processed words 1.95 and significantly higher than that of structurally processed words, 1.00. In conclusion the results of this study showed that a significantly greater amount of words could be recalled when processed semantically as opposed to being processed phonologically or structurally.

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  20. "How does anxiety affect performance, during a competitive football match; researching the difference between University and Professional players."

    Trait Anxiety on the other hand, is determined by the individual's personality. It is a predisposition to perceive a wide range of situations as threatening, even though the individual is actually at no objective physical or physiological danger (Weinberg & Gould, 1999:74). In this study, competitive state anxiety will be investigated. This is described as the measurement of state anxiety in a competitive environment such as prior to a football match. Eysenck, (1990) emphasises the behaviour patterns of State Anxiety with an example from his personal research into the topic. He researched behaviour of an entire team.

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  21. Effect of presentation mode on recall of news infromation

    Despite the fact that many people claim that they refer to television for much of their news information, and that they learn a great deal from television bulletins. Research with broadcast news has shown that When subjects are tested immediately after presentation of news bulletins content; viewers and listeners frequently fail to remember very much from specific news programmes. There are many factors that lie within the audience that can account for the lack of retention, such as attention, motivation and background knowledge relating to the news content.

    • Word count: 4095
  22. Debate the reliability of eyewitness testimony in court from the perspective of what cognitive psychology tells us about the human memory system.

    Finally, the essay evaluates the theory that post-event information may distort memory. A large body of research (Barton & Warren, 1988; Clifford & Hollin, 1981; Clifford & Scott, 1978; E.F. Loftus & Burns, 1982) suggests that stress may be detrimental to memory, and therefore that memory for the details of unpleasant, stressful events may be less accurate than our memory for the details of neutral events. In a survey on the reliability of eyewitness testimony, Kassin, Ellsworth & Smith (1989)

    • Word count: 3013
  23. Is Perception Based on Unconscious Inferences?

    This introduced the idea that perception was not a passive process but required intelligent problem solving based on knowledge. Although Helmholtz did not fully develop this idea of unconscious inferences it was extremely influential and gave subsequent theorists a concept by which to explain the processes at work in perception. A modern and more detailed version of the constructivist approach is provided by Gregory (1973, 1978) who explained perception in terms of hypotheses forming and testing, predicting unsensed characteristics of objects. He proposed that signals received by sensory receptors triggered neural events and interacted with appropriate prior knowledge and it was on this combination of information that he believed hypotheses were made to predict events in the world.

    • Word count: 3609
  24. To what extent do you think that recent research into advertising reflects an understanding of cognitive-behavioural theory?

    According to the cognitive approach, a person does not acquire behaviour directly but rather acquires a higher-order procedure or rule system that can be used to generate behaviour in many situations. This 'flow chart' like approach to describing mental processes can be linked to current psychological theories and research into advertising via; the AIDA, cognition-information, persuasive hierarchy, low involvement hierarchy, cognitive affective and integrative models of advertising. In 1898, E. St. Elmo Lewis suggested the Attention-Interest-Desire-Action model of how advertising works (Haynes, 2003), which stipulates that advertising works by changing brand attitudes.

    • Word count: 3574
  25. The Influence of Visual Perceptual Processing Styles and Complexity of Block Design Stimuli on Visual Memory

    suggest that performance is related to individual sensitivity to internal edge cues. Royer (1977, cited in Schorr et al.,1982) referred to these as the number of changes in information within the block i.e. from black to white. It is suggested "the process of perceptually segmenting a block within a display and identifying its orientation should depend heavily on cues signalling its interior edges" (Schorr et al., 1982, p.480). Furthermore, edge cues for each block were found to aid placement time for subjects following analytic strategies but disrupt those following synthetic strategies. A possible explanation is that differences observed are due to a processing precedence to either global or local properties of a pattern (Navon, 1977 cited in Eysenck, 2002).

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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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