Memories are made of….

What are memories made of?  Well they are certainly not 'carved in stone' as we might believe, and nor are they exact pictures of what happened.  In fact memory is the most flexible of cognitive processes, and can be altered drastically by time passing, suggestions made to you after the event, and by stress during an event.  Just talk to your brother, sister or friend about something that happened when you were both present, some years ago.  have you got ...

Have fun teaching about memory.

Most students find the idea of the unreliability of memory very interesting.  There is a lot of material in psychology that can help you make your memory lessons 'unforgettable'.  Memory is one of the processes studied at the cognitive level of analysis, along with perception.  All relevant exam questions can be answered using either, so there is no need to teach both. Key issues in memory are: Theories and models of how memory operates and is organized. Unreliability of memory Role ...

Cognition and Emotion – flashbulb memories

By Saturday, February 1, 2014 , , 0

This is a part of the syllabus that can be seen as complex by many students. One way in is to look first at Brown and Kulik's (1977) argument regarding flashbulb memory. This allows students to meet two learning outcomes: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent is one cognitive process reliable? Evaluate one theory of how emotion may affect one cognitive process. There is a lot of material that is helpful here. This video is a good one ...

Cognition and Emotion – how are they related?

By Saturday, February 1, 2014 , , 0

The famous brain researcher Antonio Damasio explained that emotions are purely physical signals of the body which react to external stimuli. Feelings arise when the brain interprets these as "emotions". Emotions consist of three components: ● physiological changes, such as arousal of the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system. (The person is usually unconscious of this at first). ● the person’s own subjective feeling of an emotion (e.g. happiness) ● associated behaviour, such as smiling or running away. One of the cognitive factors in ...

The Cognitive Level of Analysis

Happy New Year to all of you who are celebrating, or have just finished celebrating and are now starting a new term, and in some cases a new school year.  This blog post looks at the Cognitive Level of Analysis, and the cognitive process of memory. Memory is a useful process to study. Not only does it allow students to undertake all sorts of interesting memory tests that encourage engagement with the material, but controlled laboratory experiments on memory can ...

Cognition – is it all in the mind?

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year (if indeed it is New Year in your part of the world)! Have you made any resolutions, and if so, will you remember them in a week or two? Yes, we are looking at memory in this blog. Last term, the Psychology blogs focused on the brain and procrastination and the brain and behaviour, and gave some tips from examiners on how to succeed in exams and with your internally-assessed experiment.  Now we ...

Don’t just do something – stand there! The psychological benefits of procrastination.

I am making a link each month between what is on the teacher blog and what I post for the OSC student blog. Last month it was the levels of analysis, and interaction between the environment and the brain. This month it is…procrastination. The students get an upbeat TEDx talk from Vik Nithy (below), a recently graduating student on how to avoid procrastination and its damaging effects. [youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD440CY2Vs0'] The psychology talk on the student blog describes procrastination as a struggle between ...

The psychology of procrastination

By Sunday, September 1, 2013 , , , , 0

The semester/term starts soon, or has already started for those of you in the Northern hemisphere with IB exams in May. (I know that those students taking the IB Diploma exams in November have been in school a very long time, but this applies equally to you). Very soon the work will be coming in, but “Hey! Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow.” This is procrastination, and it is all about decisions – the argument in ...

The ‘Plastic’ Brain. How does our brain change in response to our cognition and environment?

Studying the brain’s neuroplasticity is the field of cognitive neuroscience, and bridges the gap between the biological level of analysis and the cognitive and sociocultural levels. See these links for fascinating studies into: children’s socio-economic status and brain structure changes (Jednoróg et al., 2012);  mirror neurons (Iacoboni, 2004); how the remaining part of the brain adapts after a childhood hemispherectomy (removal of half of the brain, Danelli et al, 2013);  and the effects of meditation and social and emotional learning ...

Levels of Analysis – what do they really mean?

Mmmm- doughnuts! An example of neuroplasticity. When confronted with a picture of junk food, people who pulled all-nighters had boosted activity in the amygdala (left), a brain structure associated with the desire to eat, and reduced activity in regions of the cortex (right), which have been tied to food evaluation. Credit: Matthew Walker et al. at http://www.sciencenews.org/view/access/id/352150/description/MMM_DOUGHNUTS Whether you are just getting ready to start your new IB Diploma Psychology course, are beginning your second year, or are midway to ...