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THE COGNITIVE APPROACH IN PSYCHOLOGY. The Cognitive Approach 1. How do we think? What rules control our thought processes? Are we born with these thinking abilities? Do we acquire them as we mature? Most Ψ ists say: a bit of both Born with BASIC skills, rest come with experience.

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the cognitive approach 1
The Cognitive Approach 1
  • How do we think?
  • What rules control our thought processes?
  • Are we born with these thinking abilities?
  • Do we acquire them as we mature?
  • Most Ψists say: a bit of both
  • Born with BASIC skills, rest come with experience
the cognitive approach 2
The Cognitive Approach 2
  • Cognitive psychology studies how information from the senses is processed in the mind…
  • .. And how that affects our behaviour
  • Influenced by computers
  • Is the mind like a computer?
  • Or is this REDUCTIONIST
areas of cognitive psychology
Areas of Cognitive Psychology
  • Memory
  • How do we remember and why do we forget?
  • Mind
  • How do we think of ourselves and how do we understand others?
  • Language
  • How do we learn language and can we teach it to animals?
  • Also: Attention, Emotions, Perception, etc
memory encoding
MEMORY ENCODING
  • How do you try to remember something?
  • Three types of encoding
  • ACOUSTIC/PHONETIC – focus on the sound (repeating it to yourself)
  • VISUAL – focus on the image (picture it)
  • SEMANTIC – focus on the meaning
  • Semantic encoding seems to be the best
memory storage retrieval
MEMORY STORAGE & RETRIEVAL
  • Storage can be in Short Term Memory (STM) or Long Term Memory (LTM)
  • Memories can be retrieved in two ways
  • RECOGNITION – matching a stored memory with something in the environment
  • RECALL – bringing a memory back to your conscious awareness
short term memory
SHORT TERM MEMORY
  • Information that stays in your conscious mind after encoding
  • EG remembering a phone number long enough to dial it
  • We use STM when we have conversations
  • How much can STM hold?
the magic number 7
“The magic number 7”
  • George Miller (1956)
  • We can retain between 5 and 9 items in STM
  • We can improve by “chunking”
  • 0 2 0 7 9 4 6 1 4 3 2
  • That’s hard to remember
  • 0207 946 1432 Easier?
  • TWAIBMBABBC
  • TWA IBM BA BBC
long term memory
LONG TERM MEMORY
  • Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968)
  • The MULTI – STORE MODEL
  • Senses  STM  LTM
  • Information is processed by senses
  • Some goes to STM
  • Info is REHEARSED, some goes to LTM
  • Tend to rehearse first/last info in a list the most
  • THE PRIMACY/RECENCY EFFECT
too simplistic
TOO SIMPLISTIC?
  • REDUCTIONISM
  • Viewing a topic in the simplest possible way
  • Is memory like a tape recording?
  • Holds a perfect copy
  • Replay at any time
  • Sometimes gets wiped
  • Research suggests memory isn’t like this at all
schema theory
SCHEMA THEORY
  • Frederick Bartlett (1932)
  • Asked people to remember a North American ghost story
  • Lots of unfamiliar details
  • They NORMALISED the story
  • Edited what didn’t make sense
  • Added details to make it less strange
  • They had a SCHEMA of what a ghost story ought to be like
core study loftus palmer 1974
CORE STUDY: LOFTUS & PALMER (1974)
  • Elizabeth Loftus is a famous memory researcher
  • Showed film of car crashes
  • Asked questions about speed
  • Different words: SMASHED or HIT
  • Participants remembered different speeds based on the word used
  • Those asked using SMASHED “remembered” broken glass – though there wasn’t any
egocentrism
EGOCENTRISM
  • Famous child researcher Jean Piaget
  • Argued children are EGOCENTRIC
  • Self-centred
  • Unaware of others
  • Become concerned with others around age 7
  • Lots of criticisms of this though…
the cambridge project
THE CAMBRIDGE PROJECT
  • Judy Dunn researched 52 families during ’80s
  • Children seem to understand more about relationships
  • Teasing brothers/sisters at 16 months
  • Comforting other children
  • Babies can “tune in” to mother’s moods
theory of mind
“THEORY OF MIND”
  • Understanding that other people have minds of their own
  • They don’t think or feel the same as you
  • Other people might believe things that aren’t true
  • Can children understand the idea of false beliefs?
josef perner 1987
JOSEF PERNER (1987)
  • Showed a 3-year old a Smarties tube
  • A pencil inside!
  • What would their friend (outside) say if asked what was in the tube?
  • Children with ToM say “Smarties”
  • Most children develop ToM by age 4
autism
AUTISM
  • A mental disorder
  • Identified by Leo Kanner in ’40s
  • Lack of emotional contact
  • Insistence on sameness
  • Communication problems
  • Learning difficulties
  • Low IQ
  • Hans Asperger identified similar conditions
autism a s tom
AUTISM, A.S. & ToM
  • Is there a single COGNITIVE DEFICIT behind these conditions?
  • “When I was very young I can remember that speech seemed to be of no more significance than any other sound…” – autism sufferer
  • Do autistic/A.S. people lack ToM?
  • Also, most research is on CHILDREN… what about “high functioning” adults?
core study baron cohen
CORE STUDY: BARON-COHEN
  • Simon Baron-Cohen is famous autism researcher
  • Also cousin of Sacha Baron-Cohen
  • Looked at ToM in ADULTS
  • “Reading the mind in the eyes” task
  • Can you judge mood from photographs of eyes?
  • “Serious or Playful?”
  • Autistic adults scored lower
language
LANGUAGE
  • Lots of animals COMMUNICATE but only humans have LANGUAGE
  • Is this true?
  • Newborn babies cry but at 3-4 months they start babbling
  • Understand words from 7-8 months
  • First words from 10-18 months
  • Learn 2-3 words per week
  • Vocabulary “explosion” once 30-50 words known
  • 19 year old students know 150,000 words!
language learning
LANGUAGE LEARNING
  • Two main theories
  • BEHAVIOURISM
  • B F Skinner
  • We get approval (from parents etc) when we make correct utterance
  • We LEARN language through trial-and-error
  • NATIVISM
  • Noam Chomsky
  • We are biologically “programmed” to acquire language
  • It is INNATE for humans
teaching language to animals
TEACHING LANGUAGE TO ANIMALS
  • Theories put to the test: can animals learn language?
  • Drs Allen & Beatrix Gardner (1969) taught sign language to Washoe, a chimp
  • “First animal to acquire human language”
  • But she never used word-order
  • Just parroting?
  • Washoe died in 2007, aged 42
core study savage rumbaugh
CORE STUDY: SAVAGE-RUMBAUGH
  • Sue Savage-Rumbaugh researched bonobo apes (pygmy chimpanzees)
  • Brother & sister, Kanzi & Mulika
  • Used computer keyboards with lexigrams
  • Apes acquired language WITHOUT training – just observation
  • Kanzi acquired 46 words and used them in 2500 combinations
quantitative vs qualitative
QUANTITATIVE VS QUALITATIVE
  • Cognitive Ψ often criticised for being too LOGICAL – not enough on feelings
  • QUANTITATIVE data = numbers, statistics, scores
  • QUALITATIVE data = descriptions, accounts, impressions
  • Which type of data does Cognitive Ψ tend to gather?
  • What about Social Ψ?