Writing samples: Cognitive

The following section includes annotated samples of responses to exam questions - as well as strategies for answering questions based on the command terms. The responses are not from the IB.  They are created specifically for the site.

There is no definitive list of questions for this curriculum - so the list of potential questions below is not exhaustive.  However, most of the questions will fall within the list that has been provided below. The questions are grouped by topic and include both SAQ and ERQ (essay) questions.

SAQs may be asked using the command terms explain, describe or outline.  In the following sections, all questions will be stated using "explain" to simplify this page.

ERQs may be asked using the command terms discuss, evaluate, contrast or "to what extent" as appropriate. All examples below will use the command term "discuss" to simplify this page.

For the ERQ responses, students should include two or more pieces of research. Only one piece of research should be used for responses to SAQs.

Potential exam questions: Generic

SAQs

  1. Explain the use of one research method in one study of cognitive processes.
  2. Explain one ethical consideration relevant to one study of the reliability of cognitive processes.
  3. Explain the use of one research method in one study of emotion and cognition.

ERQs

  1. Discuss the use of one or more research methods using the cognitive approach to understand human  behaviour.
  2. Discuss ethical considerations relevant to using a cognitive approach to studying human behaviour.

Potential exam questions: Cognitive processes

SAQs

  • Explain one study related to schema theory.
  • Explain one model of memory.
  • Explain the working memory model with reference to one study.
  • Explain the multi-store model with reference to one study.
  • Explain one study that supports one model of memory.
  • Explain one study of thinking and decision making.
  • Explain one model of thinking and decision making.
  • Explain one study of rational and/or intuitive thinking.

ERQs

  • Discuss Schema theory.
  • Discuss one model of memory.
  • Contrast two models of memory.
  • Discuss one model of thinking and decision making.

Potential exam questions: Reliability of cognitive processes

SAQs

  • Explain one study of reconstructive memory.
  • Explain one study of one cognitive bias.
  • Explain one cognitive bias, making use of one study.

ERQs

  • Discuss the reliability of one cognitive process.
  • Discuss one or more studies of reconstructive memory.
  • Discuss one cognitive bias.
  • Discuss one or more studies of cognitive biases.

Potential exam questions: Emotion and cognition

SAQs

  • Explain one theory of how emotion may affect one cognitive process, using one study.

ERQs

  • Discuss one theory of how emotion may affect one cognitive process.

Potential exam questions: Technology and cognition (HL only)

Extension questions may only be asked as ERQs; never as SAQs.

  • Discuss one or more studies of the influence of digital technology on cognitive processes.
  • Discuss one or more positive effects of technology on one or more cognitive processes.
  • Discuss one or more negative effects of technology on one or more cognitive processes.
  • Discuss one or more research methods used to study the interaction between technologies and cognitive processes.
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