3. Cognitive approach

The IB Psychology course looks at behaviour through three different approaches: biological, cognitive and sociocultural.  In modern psychology it is understood that these three approaches interact rather than compete to explain behaviour.

This chapter looks at cognitive explanations of behaviour.  There are two cognitive processes that are studied in this unit: memory and thinking.  The HL extension looks into the question of how modern use of technology may be changing the way we think and remember.

Each chapter is divided into smaller sections with quizzes to test for mastery of key vocabulary and "checking for understanding" questions with sample answers to check for broader conceptual understanding.

I would like to thank Aidan Carr from St Joseph's Institution International in Singapore for his assistance in writing the sections on thinking and decision making - and cognitive processing in the digital world. 

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Chapter 3.1 Cognitive processing

This chapter looks at models of cognitive processing.  The key theories and models of study are:

  • Schema theory
  • Memory models
  • Thinking and decision making
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Chapter 3.2 The reliability of cognitive processes

This chapter examines the extent to which we can trust the accuracy of our cognitive processes. The key topics of study are:

  • Reconstructive memory
  • Biases in thinking and decision making
  • The influence of emotion on memory

HL Extension: Cognitive processing in the digital world

HL students are asked to delve a bit deeper into how modern use of technology may have an effect on memory, thinking and decision m.  The key topics of study are

  • The effect of technology on memory processing
  • The effect of technology on decision making
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