Following are the best Methods to study cognitive psychology.
- Naturalistic Observation
- Introspection or Self Report
- Experiments or Laboratory/ Controlled Observation
- Neuropsychological tools
Observation means watching, monitoring, scrutiny, examination, or inspection. Best way to study something is to watch them/ it behave (eat, sleep, walk, think, etc) in their normal environment.
- It is a detailed studies of cognitive performance in everyday situations and no laboratory contexts.
- An observer watching people in familiar, everyday contexts going about their cognitive business.
- Example- How to withdraw money from a automated teller machine (ATM).
- Most appropriately used to identify problems, issues, or phenomena of interest to be investigated with other research methods. ◦
- Positive Aspect-
- Ecological validity.
- Relatively easy,
- Doesn’t require a lot of resources to carry out,
- Doesn’t require other people to formally volunteer for study.
- Negative Aspect-–
- Lack of experimental control.
- Observer bias.- to remove it we can use – Blind observers: People who do not know what the research question is: So, they will have no preconceived notions about what they “should” see.
Observer effect – people who know they are being watched, will not behave normally. Thus Observer should be hidden.
2. Introspection or Self Report
- By Wilhelm Wundt.
- The observer observes his/ her own mental processes.
- Self-reports -An individual’s own account of cognitive processes.
- For example- participants might be asked to solve complicated arithmetic problems without paper or pencil and to “think aloud” as they do so.
- Positive Aspects of introspection-
- better insight into an experience and the factors that influenced it,
- yielding a richer, more complete picture than an outsider could observe.
- Negative Aspects of introspection-
- Biasness in regard to your own cognition.
- Social desirability of looking good .
3. Experiments or Laboratory/ Controlled Observation
- Few times observing behavior of a person / animal is not practical in a natural environment.
- When researches want more control on variables.
- Fully controlled Independent variable.
- Random Assignments of sample.
- For example, Infants reaction to a mirror .
- Positive Aspects of Experiments/ Laboratory Observation
- Little more influence over the setting.
- To standardize the setting for all participants,
- Researcher would be trying to channel the behavior in certain ways.
- Negative Aspects of Experiments/ Laboratory Observation
- Subject or sample can have observer effect.
- When researcher cant controlled Independent variable.
- When Researcher cant assign sample randomly.
- but researcher will have somehow control to most of the variables playing role in the experiment.
- For example, experimenters cannot reassign participants to a different gender, ethnicity, age, or educational background.
5. Neuropsychological methods
These are useful to examine the brain damage, brain disease, and severe mental illness.
- Electroencephalography (EEG)– shows brain activity
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scans -shows where neurons are firing.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – shows grey matter, white matter, and cerebrospinal fluid.
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans
- Neuropsychological Assessment Battery® (NAB®) by Robert A. Stern, and Travis White, to Assesses a wide range of cognitive skills and functions Age range:18- 97 years; Time:3 hrs & 40 minutes for all five modules
- Philip D. Harvey, Clinical applications of neuropsychological assessment.
- Galloti, K. M. (2004). Cognitive psychology in and out of the laboratory. USA: Thomson Wadsworth.
- Matlin, M. (1994). Cognition. Bangalore: Harcourt Brace Pub
- Sternberg, R. J. (2007). Cognitive Psychology. Australia: Thomson Wadsworth.
- Solso, R. L. (2004). Cognitive Psychology (6th ed.). Delhi: Pearson Education.