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Describe and Evaluate the Cognitive Approach to Psychology

  • Date Submitted: 01/26/2011 11:21 AM
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Cognitive psychology
Describe and evaluate cognitive psychology, refer to at least one other approach.
Cognitive psychology focuses on exploring internal mental processes such as memory. They are interested in how individuals can learn; solve problems and mental processes that exist between a stimulus and a response i.e. thinking and interpretation. To explain models are used, one model is the information processing approach (computational model) This model can be compared to a computer in the idea of the mind being software and the brain being the hardware. Similar to computers the idea is that we take in information, store or transform information and give an output/ behaviour. This can be applied to many everyday situations such as talking, you hear someone talk to you (input) this is then transformed from experience to memory if needed, then the mental processing occurs in which it is decided on what to do/say next and finally the output in which it is actually spoke. Another model used is the connectionist model, which is uses neural analogy. The connectionist model is the idea that there are many neurons/ nodes and connections between them form an activating pattern which represents a meaningful or learnt association between two or more environmental stimuli.
A strength of the cognitive approach is active and focuses on internal mental processes unlike behaviourism approach which is passive.
Another strength is that The approach uses scientific experimental methods, e.g. loftus’s experiment in which she showed how our memories can be easily manipulated and therefore not always reliable; this has had a significant impact on the criminal justice around the world. This is unlike Humanistic psychology in which rejects the use of scientific method and lacks empirical support.
Another strength is that Models such as the information processing approach have been used to effectively explain mental processes, e.g. REBT which is still used in some forms today.
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