IB Course Companion Cognitive Studies
IB Course Companion Cognitive Studies
Paper One Material
representations (images, words, and
We are information processors (bottom up
and top down) with mental processes that
Mind can be studied scientifically.
Cognitive processes are influenced by social
and cultural factors.
Stereotyping, memory reconstructions, false
memories, schemas, distortions, encoding,
storage, retrieval, sensory, STM, LTM, neural
Aim: investigate if schemas affect both encoding and retrieval.
Procedure: Controlled lab exp. Participants heard a story about two boys
who skipped school and spent the day in an isolated house -home of one
of the boys. Some details of the house were given. Condition one heard
the story from the perspective of a potential housebuyer (e.g. leaking
roof, attractive grounds). Condition two from the perspective of a
potential burglar (e.g. coin collection, nobody home on Thursdays). Then
the participants performed a distraction task for 12 minutes. Then all
were asked to recall. In a second trial, half of the participants were
given the opposite schema (either burglar or house buyer) and asked to
recall details of the house. Half were asked to recall with the original
Results: the changed schema group recalled more details (10%) but 7% of
the original was recalled as well in the group who changed schema.
Schema processing seems to affect both encoding and recall.
1st recall task after 12 minutes and 2nd after five minutes
215 public high school students in small, mid-western town
Found at: http://www.funnelbrain.com/c-1312868-anderson-pichert1978.html
participants to read prose and
understand it, while at the same time
remembering sequences of numbers—they
found that in dual-task experiments there
was an increase in reasoning time if people
had to undertake a memory dependent task
at the same time. Task was also impaired if
the participants had to learn sequences of six
numbers, but that they could manage to
learn sequences of three numbers, do
impairment with concurrent task but not
John Darley and Paget Gross showed similar effects when they varied whether a young girl,
Hannah, seemed poor or wealthy. College students watched a video of Hannah playing in her
neighborhood, and read a brief fact sheet that described her background. Some of the students
watched Hannah playing in a low-income housing estate, and her parents were described as high
school graduates with blue collar jobs; the remaining students watched Hannah behaving similarly,
but this time she was filmed playing in a tree-lined middle-class neighborhood, and her parents
were described as college-educated professionals. The students were asked to assess Hannah's
academic ability after watching her respond to a series of achievement-test questions. In the
video, Hannah responded inconsistently sometimes answering difficult questions correctly and
sometimes answering simpler questions incorrectly. Hannah's academic ability remained difficult
to discern, but that didn't stop the students from using her socioeconomic status as a proxy for
academic ability. When Hannah was labeled "middle-class," the students believed she performed
close to a fifth-grade level, but when she was labeled "poor," they believed she performed below a
fourth-grade level. Rating scale of 1-9
neighborhood and background—4 minutes , Intelligence test video--12 minutes answering 25
questions ranging from 2nd to 6th grade levels
Another experimental level (answering questions or not); control level—only saw the performance
tape and given basic information—address and school
Another DV of evaluating how well she would do in math, science, writing, history, baseline skills
Participants also asked to comment on difficulty of test (if middle-class Hannah, test was difficult)
Self-selected, paid ($2.50/hour) sample, 70 Princeton undergrads—30 male and 40 female; 3
participants’ data not used; Hannah was a 4th grader; face not clearly shown; “Teacher evaluation
for placement purposes”
Random assignment, matched pairs
Found at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/alternative-truths/201005/why-its-dangerous-labelpeople
Jennifer Eberhardt, a social psychologist at Stanford, and her colleagues showed
white college students a pictures of a man who was racially ambiguous--he could
have plausibly fallen into the "white" category or the "black" category. For half the
students, the face was described as belonging to a white man, and for the other half
it was described as belonging to a black man. In one task, the experimenter asked
the students to spend four minutes drawing the face as it sat on the screen in front
of them. Although all the students were looking at the same face, those who tended
to believe that race is an entrenched human characteristic drew faces that matched
the stereotype associated with the label (see a sample below). The racial labels
formed a lens through with the students saw the man, and they were incapable of
perceiving him independently of that label.
2 factors—implicit theory (entity and incremental) and racial labels (black and
42 white, Stanford students for drawing phase
41 pictures in order to get composite face
Ambiguous face—50% saw white and 50% saw black; black—80% labeled as white or
Before they drew picture, had to recall the demographic information.
Traits always constant (entity) or traits changing (incremental); entity minded
-1 To + 1 black to white scale, 1-7 certainty scale via NY residents
Found at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/alternative-truths/201005/whyits-dangerous-label-people
240 Army enlisted men
In lab, participants hear a list of items and then
immediately recalled them in any order.
Participants recalled words from the beginning
and the end of the list best—u shaped curve. If
given a filler/distracter task after hearing last
words, primacy effect disappeared but recency
1st phase--Words at a two or three second rate
2nd phase—count out loud for 10 or 30 seconds,
10 second group recalled better
Count it right of homonym, same word, or
asked to read prose and
understand it while remembering number
sequences. Found in dual-task experiment
that there was a clear and systematic
increase in reasoning time but that task was
impaired, although not entirely catastrophic,
if the participants had to learn sequences of
six rather than three numbers.
Conclusion: more than one unitary store
Participants either asked to learn word list by
either imagery or rehearsal, on own or in
presence of concurrent visual noise (changing
dot pattern—visual feed) or concurrent verbal
noise (foreign language speech—verbal feed).
Possible practice effects—imagery or vocal
Further segmentation of visuo-spatial
Conclusion: Imagery group not affected by verbal
but disturbed by visual. Rehearsal group was not
disturbed by visual but was by verbal.
Working Memory Test Battery for Children—9
subtests that measured 3 central executive, 4
phonological loop, and 2 visuo-spatial
sketchpad—recall, block, maze tasks, great
variance in recall tasks
750 children ages 4 to 15; 100 identified as
Improvement in performance in working memory
capacity from the age of 5 until 15 years
Varies widely across individuals of same age, up
to 4 to 5 years
Problems of working memory are associated with
problem in academic performance.
Word recall task in US and among the Kpelle people of rural Liberia. Memory strategies…
Researchers observed everyday cognitive activities to develop relevant and familiar recall tasks.
Children from different age groups asked to recall as many items as possible from four categories:
utensils, clothes, tools, and vegetables.
The non-schooled children did not improve on free recall task after the age of 10. After 15
practice trials, they remembered only two more items to the average of 10 recalled. School
attending children learned the lists just as rapidly as children in the US and used same strategy of
categorical similarity to recall.
Illiterate children did not use chunking and did not have serial position effect. When given the list
in meaningful narrative, the illiterate children recalled the objects easily and chunked them.
banana head tie
30 Mayan and 30 Salt Lake City children, around
Mayan children did better in a memory task if
they were given one that was meaningful to
them in local terms. Researchers made a mini
model of Mayan village like the children’s own.
20 miniature objects a set of 80 (cars, animals,
furniture, etc.) were placed in the model. Then
the 20 were removed, and the experimenter
asked the children to reconstruct the shown
scene—lake and mountain diorama.
Results: the Mayan children did slightly better
than the US children.
participants in three independent groups
All saw car accident film.
Hit, smashed, and no question
Did you see broken glass? (week later)
32% of smashed group reported yes as
compared to 14% of hit group and 6% of
scan of reduced metabolic activity in
hippocampus during early stages of
Longitudinal study of 53 normal, healthy
participants—some for nine years and others
for up to 24 years.
Early signs were associated with later
are physiological signals in reaction
to external stimuli, and feelings (conscious
interpretation of the emotion) arise when
the brain interprets the stimuli.
Emotional reactions are flexible due to
evolution. 1. short route—amygdala reacts and
activates response system 2. long route—sensory
input goes via sensory cortex to hippocampus,
involves evaluation of stimulus and consideration
of an appropriate response
Certain memories have emotional significance
that might explain why memories based on
emotional events are remembered better, as
well as why PTSD patients have problems
Studies on rats, shocking, fear inducing, brain
of threat and appraisal of one’s
Problem focused coping—aimed to change
the problematic situation that causes stress
Emotion focused coping—handle the
emotions rather than changing the situation,
ex. Escape, self control, social support,
Lazarus 1975 Appraisal theory—cognitive
factors can modulate stress responses
midlevel airline executives, 56
Participants viewed film about aboriginal
initiation ceremonial genital cutting.
Experimental levels of three different
soundtracks (trauma condition—emphasized
the pain and mutilation, denial condition—
willing and happy, intellectualization
Participants reacted more emotionally to the
trauma condition (heart rate and galvanic
skin response). Questionnaire, too
stress can damage neurons in the
hippocampus but this can be reversed if
normal levels of cortisol are restored.
Baboons and humans and rats—blood
pressure, stress hormone levels, cholesterol
levels, and ability to heal; cortisol,
51 elderly participants to study for three to six years the
role of cortisol on memory (convenience sample via ad)
Cortisol secretion was too high in 30% of population.
Excessive cortisol secretion participants showed memory
impairment and atrophy of the hippocampus.
2002 follow-up study—two groups (moderate level and high
level/impairment), both given anti-cortisol secretion drug
metyrapone, then memory test, then hydrocortisone to
restore cortisol levels, compared to placebo group; found
that moderate group had no problem restoring normal
memory function; high level had no memory improvement,
hydrocortisone caused even greater memory loss. MRIs,
Baseline and increased comparisons
Once annual test, 30 days out of the year
Regulation and increase
from EEG and MEG to identify
interactive patterns of neurons in cerebral
cortex during visual tasks.
Frontal and parietal in coordinating attention
and action; occipital lobe in handling and
maintaining sensory information about visual
Supports Baddeley’s model of working
Original flashbulb memory study—followed by Neisser and
Harsch and Talarico and Rubin
80 participant questionnaires—where they had learned
40 white and 40 black Americans
Reported vivid memories of where, what, and feelings
about shocking public event like assassination of John F.
Flashbulb memories, too, of personal or shocking events.
FM caused by the physiological arousal arousal (amygdala).
JFK assassination most recalled.
10 total—last being a self-selected event—most recalled
shocking event, like the death of a parent
African American participants recalled more civil rights