Cognitive psychology Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 February 2017

Cognitive psychology

Cognitive psychology focuses on how a person interprets a picture or message. For example, a double figure drawing such as the top down example below is one part of the cognitive thinking process. Another mental exercise is the bottom-up perception of drawings and messages.  Often times, the judge in court cases would ask the professional interpretation of the psychologist to help mitigate or aggravate the current sentence of a criminal offender. The following paragraphs explain in detail what cognitive psychology means.

1. what advice would you give a judge to persuade her or him of the potential danger of wrongful conviction based on eyewitness testimony as the sole or primary kind of evidence? Support your claim using cognitive psychology research.

The judge should not base his sentencing only on the sole eyewitness’ statement. For, the judgment should be mitigated or aggravated by the professional opinion of the psychologist.   It is a standard procedure for the U.S. judge to ask the Forensic psychologist   to give a psychological profile of the defendant. The psychologist will then make a profile of the psychological well –being of the person charged in court. The psychologist then applies the theories of cognitive psychology to determine the behavior, pathology and motivation and submit his findings to the judge. The judge will then include the psychologist’s professional opinion increase the defendant’s sentence for aggravating reasons (Burke 1).

On the other hand, the judge could also decrease the defendant’s sentence for mitigating reasons. And the psychologist’s findings will be used either as an aggravating or mitigating evidence.  Normally, the psychologist can draw up the behavioral tendencies of the defendant by viewing the other evidences on the crime scene, the statements of various witness, friends, neighbors and relatives and prior psychological findings.  The psychologist is very much needed in the juvenile courts because the child’s behavior is not as mature as those who are eighteen yrs old and above. Generally, the juveniles commit crimes because of their psychological growth is not normal ( or abnormal?), The psychologist can recommend to the judge to transfer the child to child rehabilitation center for psychological rehabilitation(Barsalou 5).

Likewise, the psychologist can persuade the judge to lessen the sentence in adult criminal cases.  The psychologist can opine that the sexual offense was psychologically caused by the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the crime. He or she could have been abnormal then. The psychologist can recommend a plea bargaining agreement with the Judge using his psychological findings in order to reduce the sentence that has been mandated by the criminal laws of the United States( Berger 10).

In addition, the psychologist can issue his opinion to the courts regarding the reliability of the lone witness’ psychological profile. For, the witness may not qualify as a lone witness if the psychologist opines that witness’ statements were hallucinations, a big lie, or simply made because of the witness had misinterpreted the situation as what is was not. The psychologist will then assess the stimuli – response  makeup (cognitive psychology) of the offender.

The psychologist can also assess the criminal offender’s impulse control and potential for the individual to commit crimes. Likewise, the psychologist can opine to the judge that he defendant cannot psychologically defend himself or herself in the witness stand (Gillespie , 27). This will then be a ground to decrease the sentence of the defendant upon conviction. To reiterate, the psychologist can tell the court that the defendant was psychologically abnormal when he or she committed the crime. Thus, the judge must compulsorily use the psychologist’s evaluations of the defendants and the witnesses to plug the holes in his sentencing process.

Also, the sex offenders would need the psychologist’s hand to help them. The psychologist would then tell the court that the sexual offender’s sentence be reduced to being jailed at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center.  The psychologist would go about by stating that the defendant’s psychological makeup is the main cause of his continuing spree of sexual abuse cases.

2. Describe what implicit memory is. Based on Reber (1993) how is implicit learning and memory different from explicit learning and memory.

Implicit memory states that prior experiences affect the current behavior of a person even though the person does not intentionally exert a single effort to ponder over his or her prior experiences.  Likewise, repressed memories of the past are equated with implicit memory.  For example, improving ones’ job performance falls under implicit memory and learning. This is the main reason why many companies prefer to hire and give higher salaries to people who have many years of hands –on experience behind them when they apply for a job. Definitely, a carpenter that has worked in house construction for the past twenty years would definitely be more skilled than a carpenter has tucked under his belt only one week’s hands –on experience.  Whereas, explicit memory is the conscious and intentional recalling of a person’s past experiences and informational data (French 26).

A very clear example is trying to remember what today’s itinerary or hectic schedule is.  It would include a ride in the park with the family, a meeting with the board of directors in the company, or a customer dropping by to purchase new products. Another is trying to recall the details asked for in the Civil war classroom test. Further, trying to recall the ATM password or the email address log –in username and password when withdrawing money from the ATM machines falls under Explicit learning and memory. In short, explicit memory and learning entails effort exertion which includes thinking about one’s past experiences.  It also includes talking about one’s past experiences and writing them done. Further, it includes studying ones’ past experiences. For, they will surely increase one’s expertise on doing a specific job assignment (Esgate 15).

Reber stated that implicit learning refers to the variances in the behavior of a person that is influenced by past experiences. However, the person is not aware or exerts effort to try to recall the past experiences. Reber proved his theory through countless experiments including probability learning.  His probability experiments prove that the subjects were able to recognize or learn the variance in probabilities of recurring events without their knowing that their prior experiences in the same situation have improved their changes of choosing the next probable event. One Reber experiment shows that the subjects were placed in a training phase. The subjects were told to observe  1,000 scenes at the rate of two scenes in one second in one experiment.

The findings of this experiment shows that the subjects were able to learn what the next outcome would be in increasing accuracy as the test went on (Reder, and Schunn 46). Another Reber experiment shows that a person that solves several problems of the same will increase his or her speed and accuracy in solving such problems due to experience. However, the subjects were not aware of that their prior acts had influenced their current speed and accuracy. This is very true in classroom math exercises (Reder, and Schunn 69). Reber further emphasizes that memory and learning consists of conscious (Explicit) and unconscious (Implicit) learning processes (O’Brien-malone, and Maybery 38).  And, Reber insists that the questionnaire index test is an explicit learning process (O’Brien-malone, and Maybery 38).

3. Define what cognitive psychology is about.

Cognitive Psychology is that branch of psychology that delves into the process of how a person uses his mind to find solutions to problems, memory as well as communication. It had metamorphosed from the Gestalt school of Max Wertheirmer, Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka. However, it was Jean  Piaget who increased interest in Cognitive Psychology with his theory that people have different cognitive processes from infancy to old age. Naturally, he emphasized that child cognitive learning is much different from a married person’s cognitive learning. Going deeper, cognitive psychology involves how the brain solves mathematical and other real life problems. And, the cognitive scientists believe that the problem solving cognitive process boils down to the basic stimulus and response theory.  For, each stimulus gives different responses to different people (Fleck, 6).

What are the main topics?

History. Cognitive psychology had branched out from mainline psychology into its own specialized field in the 1950s and 1960s as discussed in Donald Broadbent’s masterpiece entitled Perception and Communication in 1958.  It focused on the processing of information with the incorporation of Donald Broadbent’s paradigm theory. Basically it was a study on how a person thinks and reasons as he tackles each problem or situation in real life or in the classroom.

Broadbent emphasized that the brain is a the central processing unit of the human being.  Then, George Miller created the WordNet which is the foundation for many machine ontologies today. This was also the basis that has permeated from cognitive psychology to other fields like social psychology, personality psychology, abnormal psychology,developmental psychology.  Currently, current cognitive theories are being attacked from many sides. One such side is the dynamic system proponents. Further, cognitive psychology has gathered the fruits of researches in artificial intelligence and other fields of expertise in the 1960s and the 1970s (Esgate 15).

Major research areas.  Currently, the major research areas of cognitive psychology are general perception, psychophysics, attention, pattern recognition, object recognition and time sensation (Berger ).

Cognitive psychologists.  The list of cognitive psychologists continues to grow through the years. Some of the more famous ones are Johan Anderson, Robbie Case, Lev Vygotsksy, Alan Baddeley, Frederic Barlett, Aaron T. Beck, Donald Broadbent, Reber, Jerome Bruner, Fergus, Craik, Keneth Craik, Hermann Ebbinghaus. Albert Ellis, and Jean Piaglet (Berger, 4).

What are some basic assumptions?

Cognitive process involves a stimulus and the corresponding response to such stimulus. Basically, cognitive theory states the problems in math and other real life situations can be easily accomplished with the use of algorithm. Algorithm is the set of rules that will give a specific solution for a set of inputs. For example, one plus one (inputs) is equal to two ( the algorithm here is to count how many ones are there). Here, the rules for cognitively solving problems are rather vague or too complex for the simple -minded person to comprehend.   Logically, there is another way of cognitively solving problems. This is what is called in psychology circles as heuristics. In sharp contrast, heuristics shows that the rules of solving classroom and real life problems are clearly understood but the final solution varies from one situation to another.

What are some of the different methods employed by cognitive psychologists?

The psychologists employ several methods to deepen their study of cognitive psychology. One such method is the scientific method. Another method is to use a person’s cognitive outfit in terms of belief, motivation and desire that are part of the mental processes. But, they always use subjects in their researches on how a person interprets a picture, a messages or other types of communication signals passing his or her way.

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