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 be excellent material for the IA.

Resources that you might find helpful are here:

Open University site on memory functions

BBC article on false memories

Daniel Tammet – on an amazing memory

News article on false memories implanted in mice

Finally – a video on recent memory research

The learning outcomes in the IB Diploma psychology guide that relate to memory form the basis for several possible essay questions in the exams:

  • 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?
  • Discuss the use of technology in investigating cognitive processes.

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Some tips for teaching about memory

  • Bring the research up to date as much as possible – theories of memory are continually evolving.
  • Don’t dwell too long on models of memory – make them relevant to other theories, make sure students understand two of them well and can compare and contrast and evaluate them, and then move on.
  • Distinguish between social and cultural factors that affect memory – students need to know which are which.
  • Encourage students to search for activities that can be used in the class.

 

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