Term
Definition
Example
Schema
Mental representation of knowledge.
When you see a dog, you will probably just integrate it into your dog schema, but if the dog suddenly does something strange which is not dog-like, there will be a new space for a new schema which is formed for that particular dog.
Distortions
Mistakes the brain makes when information is missing and the brain fills in the blanks based on existing schemas or simply invents something.
If you see a well-dressed business man hitting a vagrant, when you recall it but don't clearly remember it, you might think that the vagrant actually hit the business man, rather than the other way around, because of your previous schemas of how business men and vagrants usually behave.

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Explain How Principles that Define the Cognitive Level of Analysis may be Demonstrated in Research


1) Mental Processes Guide Behaviour

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The first principle of the cognitive level of analysis can be demonstrated in the research done by Dweck and Blackwell (2007). They carried out a research about how a person's mindset is important in predicting his or her behaviour. They used participants which were low-achieving students aged 12-13 years (seventh graders). All the students were given an introduction to the brain and study skills. Half of them attended a lecture on how intelligence can be developed through exercise, just as you can train your physical body. The result was that the students who were trained to adopt a growth mindset about intelligence were much more motivated, and this was demonstrated in their maths grades. Students in the group that did not attend the intelligence lecture showed no improvement, despite all the other interventions. According to Dweck, telling students that intelligence can be developed can have an incredible impact on their motivation to learn. This researches showed that mental processes indeed guide behaviour.

2) The Mind Can Be Studied Scientifically

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The second principle of the cognitive level of analysis can be demonstrated in the research done with today's technology. With the technology of CAT and fMRI (as examples) scans, it is possible to look into the brain processes. This is shown in theories and modes of cognition which are discussed and continuoulsy tested. At times new findings result in amendments to original models, or a model or theory is simply rejected because the empirical evidence no long supports it. Cognitive psychologists have to a large extent used the experimental method because it was assumed to be the most scientific method. However, the experimental tasks did not always resemble what people did in their daily lives. Even in the 1960s, Ulric Neisser said that cognitive psychology had become too artifical and that researchers should not forget that cognition cannot be isolated from our everyday experience. This is why cognitive psychologists now study cognition in the laboratory as well as in a daily context.


3) Cognitive Processes are Influenced by Social and Cultural Factors

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The third principle of the cognitive level of analysis can be demonstrated in the research done by the British psychologist Frederic Bartlett. He coined the term schema, and carried out research related on how cultural schemas influence remembering. He found that people had problems remembering a story from another culture, and that they reconstructed the story to fit in whith their own cultural schemas. However, through his research he also demonstrated that memory is not like a tape recorder but rather that people remember in terms of meaning ad what makes sense to them. This also explains why memory is subject distrotions, according to Bartlett, who showed how this principle could be investigated scientifically.


Works Cited:

Crane, John, and Jette Hannibal. Psychology: course companion. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009.


"Schema (psychology)." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 29 Nov. 2010 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schema_(psychology)>.



Core Cognitive Level of Analysis