Cognitive Psychology:  

Cognitive psychology is sometimes hard for students to comprehend because they say to themselves, “isn’t all psychology cognitive?”  That’s a smart question, and all psychology does have origins in the brain, but not all psychology is cognitive?

The Chart above identifies the areas of psychology that fall under the purview of cognitive psychologists. 

We’ll focus much of our work on Memory (and emotion).  To intro this, we’ll watch the opening scene from The Dark Knight, upon the conclusion of the scene, download the document linked below and answer the questions:

The Dark Knight

Salter on Memory


Learning Outcomes for Cognitive Level of Analysis

  • Models of memoryStudy two memory models
  • Study all of the following.
    • Multi-store memory model
    • Working memory model
  • Schema theory: Study one example of schema theory.
  • Thinking and decision-making: Study one model in thinking and decision-making
    • theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behaviour
    • adaptive decision-maker framework
    • system models of thinking
    • Study all of the following.
      • Rational thinking (controlled)—goal-orientated and requires intentional effort and time, analyses/controls for biases
      • Intuitive thinking (automatic)—automatic, quick thinking; requires limited effort and is influenced by biases
  • Reconstructive memory: Study one example of reconstructive memory
    • confabulation—a memory based on a fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memory often believed to be true in spite of contradictory evidence
    • schema processing—memory processing based on prior knowledge in the form of schemas that could result in distortion
    • false memories—recalling an event that never happened and believing it to be true.
  • Biases in thinking and decision-making: Study one bias in thinking and decision-making.
    • confirmation bias—the tendency to seek out information to confirm what you already believe
    • cognitive dissonance—a so-called motivational bias that focuses on personal motivation for selection and interpretation of information so that your cognitions are consistent with your decisions and/or behaviour
    • optimism bias—the tendency to think that nothing bad will ever happen to you
    • selective attention—the tendency to focus on a limited number of stimuli when several are occurring at the same time
    • illusory correlations—the tendency to incorrectly identify correlations where there are none, as for example in “implicit personality theories”
    • Examples of biases include, but are not limited to:

      • heuristics
        • anchoring
        • representativeness
        • availability
      • cognitive biases
        • confirmation bias
        • optimism bias
        • selective attention
        • illusory correlations.
  • The influence of emotion on cognitive processes: Study one example of the effect of emotion on a cognitive process
    • Examples related to studying emotion and memory processes could be but are not limited to:
      • flashbulb memories
      • theory of the emotional brain
      • the amygdala’s influence on memory encoding
      • appraisal
      • state-dependent memory.

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