The Cognitive Perspective
of the Unit:
Describe and evaluate the cultural
context and development, the conceptual framework, the methodology, and the
application of the cognitive perspective.
Describe and evaluate theories and
empirical studies within this perspective.
Explain how cultural, ethical,
gender, and methodological considerations affect the interpretation of behavior
from a cognitive perspective.
Compare theories, empirical
studies and the conceptual framework of this model with the other perspectives.
Identify and explain the strengths
and limitations of cognitive explanations of behavior.
Explain the extent to which free
will and determinism are integral in this perspective.
Assess the extent to which
concepts and models of information processing have helped the understanding of
- Process within the
person are considered central to the understanding behaviour.
- These mediating
processes operate in an organized and systematic way, not by trial and
- Focuses on the
mental processes and on determining the role
that mental processes play in determining emotions and behaviour.
- Deepened understanding of memory,
psycholinguistics, and the development of intelligence.
definition of learning:
- The process of
gathering information and organizing it i9nto mental schemata.
definition of memoty:
- The retention and
use of prior learning
- A state of mental
- In memory an
improvement in performance which occurs by reviewing, despite the
inability to recall or recognize information.
- A phenomenon
whereby a thought or memory increases the activation of associated
thoughts of memories.
- Mental set or
- The method an
individual uses to organizes their perception of a particular situation
such as a problem
- Latent Learning (Tolman)
- A term used by
Tolman used to describe situations in which learning is distinct from
- Insight Learning
- Insight learning
is a sudden change in the way one organizes a problem situation
typically this is characterized by a change in behaviour from random
responding to rule-based responding.
- Basic Model of
- Sensory memory
- A modality
specific transient form of memory, which serves as a buffer between
the senses and short term memory.
- Short term memory
- The component of
memory which handles retention over relatively brief intervals of up
to approximately 15 seconds
visual information and sounds
- Long term memory
- The component of
memory which is involved with retention over relatively long periods.
- Related to type
of information and how it is encoded
- Memory process
immediate representation of a stimulus; involves selection,
comprehension, abstraction and integration
manner in which the stimulus is kept alive in the working memory.
Theorists and their contributions
Piaget: (1896- 1980)
- Was the major
pioneer of cognitive theory.
- “ How children
think is much more important than what they know.”
- Was founder of
the Gestalts theory.
- His studies with
Apes led him to a view of problem solving as an active process of
insight and on determining the role that mental processes play in
determining emotions and behaviour.
- Developed a
concept of “Purposive behaviourism” which emphasised the
distinctions between learning and performance and viewed learning in
terms of the formation of hypothesis and cognitive maps.
- Helped to lay the
foundations for the cognitive approach
- Miller (1956)
- Is best known for
his work in determining Chunking for the Short term memory
- Chunk: The basic
measure of Short term
memory capacity representing a meaningful unit, such as random letters
number or words.
- Hermann Ebbinghaus
- Developed techniques for
the experimental study of memory and forgetting.
- Endel Tulving’s
- Known for the
three distinct forms of long term memory
memory: Stores “how to” information such as how to play a piano.
- Semantic memory:
Involves general knowledge of how the world, such as knowing the
capital of Japan.
- Episodic memory:
Contains personal experiences
- Attitude toward determinism
- Applications (Where and how is this
perspective used with specific examples)
- How mind works
- How we learn
- Ethical issues
- Terms to know/Vocabulary with
- Evaluation of the strengths and
revolutionised developmental psychology by focusing attention on active
- We now understand
the types of thinking that are possible at various ages.
- Doesn’t take
into account the person, the self
- Doesn’t explain
- Doesn’t take
into account the physiological aspects of our bodies.
- The legal
question of intent
- Unable to explain
complex cognitive, emotional, and perceptual dimensions of human
picture of developmental influences.
- Focuses too much
on the individual child, focuses to little on the social context.
underestimates the role of biological and genetic influences.
- Competence to
- Eye witness
- Web links
- Annotated review of handouts and