Mini Review on Cognitive Level of Analysis

The cognitive level of analysis (CLA) is based on mental processes such as perception, attention, language, memory and thinking. It concerns the way we take in information from the outside world, how we make sense of that information and what use we make of it.

There are three underlying principles that define the CLA:
  • Human beings are information processors and that mental representations guide behavior
  • Mental processes can and should be studied scientifically by developing theories and by using a variety of research methods
  • Social and cultural factors affect cognitive processes

Purpose of the principles
  • These principles are the main ideas that have driven focused research on specific areas of behavior and physiology.
  • They also allow us to understand how behavior can be caused of influences by cognitive processes.

Define cognition
  • Refers to a process that is based on one's mental representations of the world, such as images, words and concepts.
  • People likewise have different experiences and therefore each individual will have different mental representations of the world.
  • For example: what boys can do, girls cannot do this cognition will influence the way they act.

Define schema
  • Schemas are cognitive structures that organise knowledge stored in our memory.
  • They are mental representations of categories (from our knowledge, beliefs and expectations) about particular aspects of the world such as people, objects, events, and situations.

Define schema theory
  • Cognitive theory of processing and organizing information.
  • Schema theory states that “as active processors of information, humans integrate new information with existing, stored information.”

Define Memory
  • Memory is defined to be the mental process of encoding, storing and retrieving information.

Outline Memory Process
  • Memory undergoes a series of stages in order to store its information.

    1. Encoding process: incoming information is organized and transformed so it can be entered into memory
    2. Storage process: involves entering and maintaining information in memory for a period of time
    3. Retrieval process: involves recovering stored information from memory so it can be used

State the different models/theories of memory
  • There are three main types of models of memory that demonstrate how our memory processes work including the:
    1. Multistore Model (MSM)-Working Memory Model (WM)
      • Proposed by Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968)
      • The multi-store model (MSM) consists of three memory stores:
        • Sensory memory (SM)
        • Short-term memory (STM)
        • Long term memory (LTM) ... that is used for different tasks.
    2. Working Memory Model
    3. Levels of Processing Model (LOP)
      • Provides a good description of the processes involved in memory
      • But does not account for the structure of memory
      • Further research should be conducted to refine the theory
      • Development of the theory could be done to explain exactly how memory processes work and incorporate memory structures

State the different types of brain imaging technologies
  • PET: Positron Emission Topography
  • MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • fMRI: functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging EEG: Electroencephalogram
  • CAT: Computerised Axial Tomography
    • Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages and are appropriate in varying situations