Assumptions of the Cognitive approach

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Transcript Assumptions of the Cognitive approach


Describe and evaluate the cognitive approach in psychology. Refer to at least one other approach in your response (12 marks)

     The cognitive approach was developed as a reaction against the behaviourist stimulus-response approach.

For cognitive psychologists, it is the events within a person that must be studied if behaviour is to be fully understood.

These internal events that occur between stimulus and response, are known as mediating cognitive processes Unlike behaviourists, cognitive psychologists believe that it is possible to study internal mental processes in an objective way and that insight into mental processes may be inferred from behaviour. The cognitive approach is concerned with how thinking shapes our behaviour.

  Cognition means


and cognitive processes refer to the way in which knowledge is gained, used and retained Cognitive psychologists explain all behaviour in terms of thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and study how these direct our behaviour.

 Humans are basically seen as information processers psychology is how the brain and how this behave. . The main concern of cognitive information received from our senses is processed by processing directs how we  The cognitive approach also looks at how various cognitive functions work together to help us make sense of the world.

 Mental processes studied by cognitive psychologists: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Perception Attention Memory Language Thinking Problem solving

   Part of the mental processes identified by the cognitive approach are schemata (singular: schema ). These are mental structures that represent an aspect of the world, such as an object or event. Schemata help us to make sense of the world, by providing short cuts to identifying things that we come across (our building blocks of knowledge).

  For example,     It has a large metal door Buttons and knobs Gets hot inside Has hot metal rings on top It’s probably a cooker. You don’t need to have seen this particular cooker before to identify it. Your schema for “cooker” allows you to be able to identify all cookers so long as they don’t veer too far from your mental schema.

  Cognitive psychologists often compare the human mind to a computer. It compares how we take information ( input ) store it or change it ( process ) and then recall it when necessary ( output ).


 In this analogy, hardware would be ________and software would be the __________________   The brain= hardware Cognitive processes = software

 The Multistore Memory Model (Atkinson and Shriffrin 1968)

  Cognitive psychologists have a very scientific approach towards studying behaviour. Although they are concerned with the inner workings of the mind (which cannot be directly observed) scientific and controlled experiments allow psychologists to infer what is happening.

Topic area Cognitive development Mood disorders Memory Education Therapy Application Piaget proposed stages of cognitive development which reflect the increasing sophistication of children’s thinking. The information-processing approach sees children's minds as computers that gradually develop in processing ability.

Beck’s model of depression sees faulty thinking as the cause of depression. Ellis believes emotional and behavioural disorders develop because of irrational beliefs and thoughts Knowledge of how memory works has been applied to interviewing witnesses e.g. the cognitive interview Information–processing theory has been applied to improve educational techniques For example, Ellis’ rational emotive therapy (RET) to restructure faulty thinking and perceptions in depression.

     It is scientific and based on carefully controlled research. Use of computer models helps us to understand unobservable mental processes It is less deterministic than other approaches as it allows for individuals to think before responding to the stimulus It has many useful applications It has been successfully integrated into other approaches in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of some behaviours

   The metaphor of ‘man as machine’ is seen as simplistic and reductionist, ignoring emotional, motivational and social factors in human behaviour The emphasis on laboratory experiments means that the findings may not reflect everyday life The approach explains how cognitive processes happen but tends to ignore why

Describe and evaluate the cognitive approach in psychology. Refer to at least one other approach in your response (12 marks)