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 move onto cognition – is it all in the mind? 

As many of your courses will be using memory as the cognitive process that is investigated, let us start with a few interesting memory tasks that test the theories of photographic (eidetic) memory, eyewitness memory, false memories, flashbulb memory, and many more. See the Open University psychology site for some excellent examples.

 The Learning outcomes that are most relevant here are the following (especially the last one):

  • Evaluate schema theory with reference to research studies.
  • Discuss how social or cultural factors affect one cognitive process.
  • With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent is one cognitive process reliable?

Each of these forms the basis for a possible essay question on your exam paper. Also, the cognitive process of memory has been investigated in many controlled laboratory experiments that are ideal for you to replicate or partially replicate for your IA.  See studies by Loftus and Palmer or Peterson and Peterson, for example.

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