Summary: Cognitive Psychology

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Read the summary and the most important questions on Cognitive Psychology

  • Lecture 1: History & Methods

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  • What were the 1950s (traditional) assumptions to information processing?

    1. Information processed in stages
    2. This processing transforms the information in some way 
    3. Information processing in humans resembles information processing in computers 
    4. Only one process can be active at any one time: serial
    5. Processing is only influenced by stimulus properties: bottom-up

    Note: 4 & 5 are probably wrong - oversimplifications 
  • What is bottom-up processing?

    Information processing that is directly influenced by environmental stimuli i.e. not existing knowledge
  • What is wrong with the traditional approach to information processing?

    The traditional approach is oversimplified in assuming that all processes were serial - in numerous situations, some/all processes occur at the same time - parallel processing
  • What are 4 different approaches to studying cognitive psychology?

    1. experimental cognitive psychology
    - lab experiments with healthy participants
    2. cognitive neuropsychology
    - experiments with brain-injured participants. Studies whether different processes disassociated from each other  
    3. cognitive neuroscience
    - brain imaging and stimulation experiments on humans designed to study human thought e.g. EEG
    4. computational cognitive science 
    - computational models that mimc human cognition 
  • What are the 5 limitations of experimental cognitive psychology? 

    - ecological validity: the lab is not the real world 
    - indirect: cannot directly measure some processes 
    - difficult to relate to brain function
    - ignores individual differences
    - stimuli presented to the participant is based on the experimenter's pre-determined plan & not the participant's behaviour 
  • What is a typical example of experimental cognitive psychology?

    Posner (1980) - investigated different systems for orienting attention e.g. how you pay attention to something without moving your eyes
  • Why is cognitive neuropsychology important in understanding cognitive processes?

    It investigates people with deficits in cognition which allows them to understand cognition when it is working properly. 
  • What is a typical example of cognitive neuropsychology? 

    Patient HM (Scoville & Milner, 1957)
    - HM had neurosurgery to cure his epilepsy; however, the surgery caused his to have severe anterograde amnesia i.e. he couldn't form new memories.
    - However, his short term memory was still in tact = he could learn new skills 
    = LTM, STM and procedural memory must be different systems 
  • What is a method in studying cognitive neuropsychology? 

    - Dissociations e.g. intact performance on task A, impaired performance on task B
    - Double dissociations e.g. a second patient with an impaired performance on task A and an intact performance on task B
  • What are the 5 limitations with cognitive neuropsychology?

    1. We rarely know how good a person was at a task before the injury 
    2. Functional reorganisation of cognition i.e. patients may have adopted compensatory strategies 
    3. modular approach may be oversimplified 
    4. damage is rarely focal i.e. damage affects lots of brain areas and lots of cognitive systems 
    5. methodology = in the dissociation, one task could be more difficult than the than the other task

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