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University Degree: Cognitive Psychology

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  1. 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
  2. The experiment is based on the classical, incongruent words and colours experiment originally undertaken by Stroop. The effect of word names on distinguishing coloured inks

    These processes are called controlled processes and are mental processes which we have no control over. However, Schneider and Shiffrin (1977) conducted a number of tests which suggested there are other attentional processes that operate in a way qualitively different to controlled processes. They termed these automatic processes and these were assumed to have no demands on attentional resources. These are mental processes that cannot be consciously controlled. A good example of controlled and automatic processes can be found in the Stroop effect.

    • Word count: 2122
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Discuss the Development of Psychology with Reference to a Variety of Topics Covered in Semester Two.

    Gestalt theory laid the foundations with the brain and its functions. In contrast humanistic psychology has developed mainly as a reaction against psychoanalytic theory and behaviourism. It concerns itself with subjective meaning as opposed to more scientific methods. Psychology is a relatively new science but this essay aims to show that the journey has been long and has come from many different areas of interest to make it what it is today. Philosophy has played a major role in the development of psychology as the questions posed then are reflected in the questions raised today.

    • Word count: 2743
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. The effects of music on word recall

    The phonological loop is vital for controlling the temporary storage of verbal and acoustic information (cited in Healy, Proctor, Schinka & Weine, 2003: 435). The phonological loop consists of two components (cited in Baddeley, Garthercole & Papagno, 1998). One component, the phonological store (inner ear), allows acoustically coded information to be stored for a brief time period. The second component, the articulatory control system (inner voice) allows for subvocal rehearsal of the information stored in the phonological store. The basic assumption of the phonological loop is that auditory verbal information automatically enters into the phonological store.

    • Word count: 2633
  10. 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.

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  11. 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
  12. The purpose of the present study was to determine the affect of brain stress on ponzo illusion. In addition the study examined the affect of presence or absence of converging lines background on judgments of lines length. The study sought to test Ponzo

    Contains at least 5 relevant references, references in text of report, correct referencing rules 4 TOTAL 25 Comments: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ TOTAL SCORE (OUT OF 7.5%):________________________________________________ Abstract The purpose of the present study was to determine the affect of brain stress on ponzo illusion. In addition the study examined the affect of presence or absence of converging lines background on judgments of lines length. The study sought to test Ponzo's (1882-1960) hypothesis, referring to it as a misjudgment in a length of two lines.

    • Word count: 2419
  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. Psychology theories of motivation. 1) Banduras- Self-Efficacy Theory 2) Decis- Cognitive Evaluation Theory 3) Goal Setting

    (Gill, 1986, p.156). * Verbal persuasion is known to be a less powerful technique used to enhance self efficiency. It is used by coaches and trainers by telling a participant that they can achieve something using verbal communication. Examples such as 'I believe that you can do it' and 'I think you have the ability to do this' are used to encourage, motivate participates to complete a task. * Emotional Arousal is based upon confidence and relaxation levels when attempting a task. If an individual is nervous and not relaxed then their self efficiency levels would be low which could effect their motivation and performance.

    • Word count: 2182
  16. 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

    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
  18. Are people rational?

    For example, Marcus & Rips (1979) found that participants presented with conditional rules (of the format "If A, then B") often made illogical inferences, such as inferring A from the presence of B (affirmation of the consequent) or when told A is false, inferring that B is false also (denial of the antecedent). These invalid inferences were not endorsed by participants as often as valid inferences were, but were still endorsed 20-30% of the time, rather than the expected 0% if participants were making entirely rational decisions based on logic alone.

    • Word count: 779
  19. Evaluate the contribution of experimental approaches in informing our understanding of social cognition. The processing of social knowledge is described as social cognition. Examples of social knowledge are perception, judgement and thoughts as well as th

    Moreover, humans process information better when it is presented in the same way that is encountered in naturalistic environment (Buchanan et al., 2007) The presented information is unlike this way and extremely difficult to reproduce. Further, experimental approaches seek to compare information processing and thereby social cognition with a machine or computer, which misses a lot of important points. Another comparison is with intuitive scientists but evidence is able to disprove this. Experimental approaches usually tend to provide correct and, hence, incorrect answers similar as it may be with almost all scientific questions.

    • Word count: 2097
  20. Free essay


    and the unconditioned, biologically significant stimulus (US), is neither necessary nor sufficient for conditioning to occur and for forming an association between CS and US. The failure to arrange contiguity would also not preclude associative learning (Rescorla, 1988). Rather, it should be the information one stimulus (the CS) gives about another (the US), known as the learning of relations or contingency of events, that should be important. The contingency of events (CS and US) can be calculated by the probability of US occurring in the presence of CS minus the probability of US occurring in the absence of CS.

    • Word count: 2691
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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.

    • Word count: 1725
  25. 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

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