COGNITIVE LEVEL OF ANALYSIS An Introduction Cognitive Psychology studies: • how the human mind comes to know things about the world AND • how the mind uses its knowledge Cognition = mental processes of the mind These mental processes include: • Perception • Attention • Thinking • Problem Solving • Memory • Language LO: Outline the principles that define the cognitive level of analysis Principles (assumptions) of the CLOA 1. Human beings are information processors (our minds work something like computers) and mental processes guide our behavior. • Central to this information processing approach is the computer metaphor. • One of the difficulties facing cognitive psychologists is that they were trying to study processes that are not directly observable. • Consequently the computer revolution of the 1950 provided the terminology and metaphor they needed. Mind as a Computer • Bottom-Up Processing: Information comes to the mind via bottom-up processing (from the senses). • Top-Down Processing: Information comes from pre-stored information and processed in the mind based on experiences • Output=behavior Info. Processing Model Environmental Stimuli Cognitive Psychology is concerned with what goes on in here. Sensory Memory Short-term / Working Memory Long-term Memory & Knowledge Overt Response Behavior 2. The mind can be studied scientifically by using theories and scientific research methods. 2. The mind can be studied scientifically by using theories and scientific research methods. • Cognitive processes are difficult to study. • They often occur rapidly, and inside the mind so they cannot be observed directly. • It is only the responses that participants make when given some cognitive task to perform that can tell us about cognitive processes. • These tasks usually take place under tightly controlled lab experiments where the main aim is to isolate a particular component of the cognitive process for the study. 3.Cognitive processes are influenced by social and cultural factors. • Cognitive processes can be influenced by our culture • Bartlett found that schemas ( past knowledge) can affect our memories – • Cole and Scribner found that non-schooled children in parts of Africa struggled with aspects of memorization. • MORE ABOUT THIS LATER………. LO: Evaluate schema theory with reference to research studies. Schema: • a mental representation of knowledge that affects the way we interpret events and store knowledge in our memory. In other words, networks of knowledge, beliefs and expectations about particular aspects of the world. What is this? Picnic Schema Cognitive Schemas: • organize information about the world with fixed and variable slots; if a slot is left out or empty it is filled by a “best guess”. • can be related to form systems. • are pattern recognition devices. • help to predict future events based on what has happened before. • represent general knowledge rather than definitions. Schema Theory: A cognitive theory about information processing. Schema Theory and Memory Processes • Schema theory has been used to explain memory processes. The process of memory has been divided into three stages: encoding: transforming sensory info into a meaningful memory. storage: creating a biological trace of the encoded info in memory retrieval: using the stored info Schema Processing Study (Anderson and Pichert,1978) • AIM: to determine whether schema processing influences both memory encoding and retrieval. METHOD: Participants heard a story about two boys who skipped school and went to an empty home. The story contained details rated important to home buyers and then other details important to a burglar. Half of the participants were asked to read the story from the point of view of a home buyer (home buyer schema) and half from the point of view of a burglar (burglar schema). After reading, both groups completed a distracting task for 12 minutes and then their recall was tested. After another 5 minute delay, half were then asked to switch to the other schema and both groups were tested for recall once again. FINDINGS: • Participants in the changed schema group recalled 7% more on the second test. Recall of points that were directly linked to the new schema increased by 10% and details important to the previous schema decreased. The group that continued with the same schema decreased on the second test. This result shows two things: 1.) The information that was irrelevant to their original perspective (schema) was actually learned ( encoded ) and 2.) This information was not accessible unless a relevant perspective (schema) was activated. Strengths of Schema Theory • Lots of research has supported the idea of schemas as affecting memory and other cognitive processes. • This theory is useful in understanding how people categorize information, interpret stories, make inferences. • This theory helps explain certain issues like memory distortion and social schemas like stereotyping. Limitations of Schema Theory • How schemas are created and how they influence cognition is not entirely clear. • Schema theory has been called too vague to be useful.