The cognitive approach and internal mental processes (Key terms (Cognitive…
The cognitive approach and internal mental processes
Much cognitive psychology comprises the 'information processing' approach which explains human cognition using computing metaphors. It concerns internal mental processes like attention, perception, memory and problem solving. These cannot be studied directly and must be inferred, so cognitive psychologists develop theories about how they underpin observed behaviour.
The role of schemas
A schema is a cognitive framework that helps organise and interpret information. Schemas allow us to take shortcuts in processing information, however, they may lead us to ignore information that does not fit our schema or fill in gaps if information is missing. An example of this is a stereotype which is difficult to modify, even when challenged by conflicting information.
The role of theoretical and computer models
Such as the working memory model (Baddeley and Hitch, 1974), are simplified, often diagrammatic representations, of a cognitive process. They guide researchers who refine them as understanding improves.
Developments in computing led to a focus on computer models representing cognitive processes. Computer models can be used to stimulate human processing and test our understanding of particular cogntive process.
The emergence of cognitive neuroscience
Invention of non-invasive neuroimaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have enabled cognitive neuroscience to improve understanding of the living brain and its activity during cognition.
The cognitive approach has many useful applications
In social psychology, social cognition research has improved understanding of errors and biases in interpretation of the causes of others' behaviour. The cognitive approach to psychopathology can explain dysfunctional behaviour and give rise to treatments for illnesses such as depression.
The cognitive approach is scientific
Cognitive psychologists favour rigorous scientific method and experimentation for creating theories and models of cognition. Conclusions are thus based on more than introspection which can give a misleading picture of mental processes, especially if they are not consciously accessible.
Rigidity of computer models
there are important differences between the computerised information and experimentation processing compared tot eh human mind. Computers do not make mistakes, ignore available information or forget anythingthat has been stored. Humans on the other hand, do all these things, making direct comparisons difficult.
Ignores emotion and motivation
The cognitive approach can tell us how different cognitive processes take place but not why they do. There is over-dependence on information - processing analogies which ignore human emotions and motivation.
Laboratory studies lack ecological validity
Much cognitive psychology research might be criticised as lacking ecological validity. it is unlikely we would be able to generalise findings from such studies to everyday memory.
Relating to mental processes such as perception, memory and reasoning.
An area of psychology dedicated tot eh underlying neural bases of cognitive functions.
Refers to the process of using computer analogies as a representation of human cognition
A cognitive framework that helps organise and interpret information in the brain. A schema helps an individual to make sense of new information.