Cognitive psychology studies our mental processes or cognitions. These mental processes that cognitive psychologists focus on include memory, perception, thinking and language. The main concern of cognitive psychology is how information received from our senses is processed by the brain and how this processing directs how we behave.
Strengths of COGNITIVE approach Example from Core Study
1 High levels of control in laboratory conditions Baron-Cohen they were able to select participants with the desired characteristics and maintain a standard procedure. By controlling variables, cause and effect can be established, in this case the effect that autism and AS have on ...view middle of the document...
2 Cognitive research tends to be reductionist (any explanation or method that simplifies behaviour and experience in such a way that the complexity of the human condition may be lost or underestimated. When referring to quantitative data this means that the data do not allow for more detailed evidence to be recorded and may display an overly simplistic picture of events) For example Baron-Cohen study focusing on autistic adults may be reductionist as we do not know from this study how it feels to be an autistic child or person and what their experience is.
3 Cognitive approach relates to finding valid measures of cognitive processes. It is difficult to measure how cognitive processes work because they are ‘mental’ processes and cannot be seen For example in the study by Savage-Rumbaugh and her colleagues they attempted to measure Kanzi the pygmy chimpanzee’s use of language. There is no doubt that the chimpanzee could recognise and use words but it is still difficult to tell whether this is the same as language use in humans, who use language in very complex ways.
A main assumption therefore of the developmental approach is that cognitive, emotional and behavioural development is an ongoing process and that such changes result from an interaction of nature and nurture.
Strengths of DEVELOPMENT approach Example from Core Study
1 Allows us to see the effects of maturation (aging) on behaviour Samuel and Bryant’s study show us how conservation skills increase with age
2 Allows us to see the effect of different types of experience on behaviour Samuel and Bryant selected a sample of children aged from 5 years to 8.5 years old which again allowed the researchers to investigate developmental changes in the children. Furthermore the developmental approach enables psychologists to investigate different areas of development such as cognitive in the Samuel and Bryant study and emotional development in Freud’s study of Little Hans. However there is a tendency for developmental psychology to neglect adult development. None of the three core studies in this area take a life span approach. For example, it would be interesting to discover if adults are influenced by role models to the same extent as children.
3 Developmental psychology approach can obtain rich data. Rich data provides a lot of material for psychologists to discuss and interpret and can provide lots of evidence that is useful to understand people. For example the study by Freud on Little Hans was a case study that was carried out over a 2-year period and involved his father recording behaviour and conversations. This allowed Freud to get lots of information on Hans that would not have been possible if more children had been involved. Samuel and Bryant were able to get lots of information on how children think by selecting a sample to study that had an age span from 5 to 8 years. By investigating this age range they were able to obtain evidence on how...