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44 Cards in this Set

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Mental Activity that describes the acquestion, storage, transformation, and the use of knowledge.

Cognitive Psychology

Has two meanings
1- Sometimes it is a synonym for the word cognition, and so it refers to the variety of mental activities we just listed.
2- Sometimes it refers to a particular theoretical approach to psychology.

Cognitive Psychology

A theoretical orientation that emphasizes people's thought processes and their knowledge.
Example: A cognitive explanation of ethnic stereotypes would emphasize topics such as the influence of these stereotypes on the judgements we make about people from different ethnic groups.

Empirical Evidence

Also known as scientific evidence that is obtained by careful observation and experimentation.

Who studied the Empirical Evidence?

Aristotle. He is considered the first cognitive psychologist.


Meant that carefully trained observes would systematically analyze their own sensations and report them as objectively as possible.

Recency Effect

Refers to the observation that our recall is especially accurate for the final item in a series of stimuli.

Who discovered the Recency Effect?

Mary Whiton Calkins

Hermann Ebbinghaus

First person to scientifically study human memory.

Who discovered Introspection?

Wilhelm Wundt

William James

Wrote the Principles of Psychology.
Book addresses perception, attention, memory, understanding, and reasoning.


Psychology must focus on objective, observable reactions to stimuli in the environment, rather than introspective.

John B. Watson

Most prominent early behaviorist.
Typically studied animals.
They believe that researchers can not objectively study mental representations such as an image, idea,or thought.

Operational Definition

A precise definition that specifies exactly how a concept is to be measured.

Gestalt Psychology

Emphasizes that we humans have basic tendencies to actively organize what we see; furthermore the whole is greater than the sum of its part.


Overall quality that transcends the individual elements.

Frederic Bartlett

Studied the human memory. He wrote a book called Remembering an Experimental and Social Study. This book is known as one of the most popular books in the history of cognitive psychology.

Information processing approach

Argues that:
1-Our mental progresses are similar to the operations of a computer.
2-Information processes through our cognitive system in a series of stages, one step at a time.

The Atkinson-Shiffrin Model

proposed that memory involves a sequence of separate steps; in each step, information is transferred from one area to another.

Sensory Memory

A storage system that records information from each of the senses with reasonable accuracy

Short-term Memory/ Working Memory

Holds only the small amount of information that you are actively using.
These memories are fragile, and can be lost within about 30 seconds.

Long term Memory

This has enormous capacity because it contains memories that are decades old. Memories stored here are permanent, compared to the information stored in working memory.

Cognitive Neuroscience

Combines the research techniques of cognitive psychology with various methods for assessing the structure and function of the brain.

Social Cognitive Neuroscience

The use of neuroscience techniques to explore the kind of cognitive processes.

Brain lesions

Refers to the destruction of an area in the brain. Most often they are caused by strokes, tumors, blows to the head, and accidents.

Positron Emisson Tomography Scan

Researches measure blood flow in the brain by injecting them with a low dose of radioactive chemicals just before the person works on a cognitive task. Parts of the brain activate during the test, and a camera makes an image of the accumulated radioactive chemical in various regions of the brain.

Fuctional Magnetic reasonance imaging Scan

These are based on the principle that oxygen rich blood is an index of brain activity.

Event-Related Potential technique

Records the very brief fluctuations in the brain's electrical activity, in response to a stimulus such as an auditory tone.

Artifical Intelligence

A branch of computer science. It seeks to explore human cognitive processes by creating computer models that show "intelligent behavior" and also accomplish the same tasks that humans do.

Computer Metaphor

Our cognitive processes work like a computer that is a complex multipurpose machine that processes information quickly and accurately.

Pure artificial Intelligence

Is an approach that designs a program to accomplish a cognitive task as efficiently as possible. Even if the computer's processes are completly different from the processes used by humans.

Computer Simulation/Computer Modeling

Attempts to take human limitations into account.

Connectionist Approach

Argues that cognitive processes can be understood in terms of networks that link together neuron like units; in addition many operations can proceed simultaneously rather than at one step at a time.

Cerebral Cortex

Is the outer layer of the brain that is essential for your cognitive processes.

Serial Processing

The system must complete one step before it can proceed to the next step in the flowchart.

Parallel Processing

Numerous signals handled at the same time, rather than serial processing.

Cognitive Science

The interdisciplinary field that tries to answer questions about the mind.

William James focused on this rather than nonsense syllables or introspection technique?

Everyday psychological experiences.

Principles of Psychology provides

Clear, detailed, descriptions about people's everyday experiences.

Gestalt psychologists focused on

the importance of problem solving.

Frederic Bartlett proposed that

People make systematic errors when trying to recall stories. He proposed that human memory is an active, constructive process, in which we interpret and transform the information we encounter.

The birth of cognitive psychology?

Also known as the cognitive revolution

Jean Piaget

Studied that children's cognitive strategies in order to conduct experiments about scientific principles.

Ecological Validity

If the conditions in which the research is conducted are similar to the natural setting where the results will be applied.