Weekly summary: February 9 – 13


This week we explored schema theory in a bit more depth.  At the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • State the definition of a schema.
  • Explain how schema play a role in how memories are retrieved.
  • Outline at least two studies that demonstrate the role of schema in memory.
  • Explain how biological research is used to support schema theory.
  • Evaluate the theory – that is, the strengths and limitations of the theory.

When we get back from break, one more memory model and then we start looking at how memory is distorted in a bit more detail.  Oh – and another IB essay is coming your way faster than you can guess….


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Weekly summary: February 2 – 6


This week we focused on Atkinson & Schiffrin’s Multi-store model.  At this point, you should be able to evaluate the model by using research to both support it and to challenge it.

Strengths and support for the model

  • The model broke memory into components that could be studied individually, opening up the field of memory research.
  • Miller’s study on STM
  • Glanzer & Cunitz’s study on Serial Positioning Effect – primacy (LTM) and recency (STM) effects
  • Studies of hippocampal impairment indicate that STM may be impaired by LTM remains intact. (e.g. HM)


  • Does not explain incidental learning
  • The model is considered overly simplistic. Is there really only one STM store? If so, how can we explain multi-tasking? And remember all those different types of LTM? Procedural, semantic, etc? Different types of strokes appear to impair different forms of LTM.
  • The model does not explain memory distortion.
  • The model also does not explain the role of emotion in the creation of memory or why we don’t remember something in spite of rigorous rehearsal.

Here is a good podcast that outlines the case study of HM. This is highly recommended (bordering on required) listening.

In addition we looked at the following:

  • The role of “depth of processing” – that is, emotion and context. You should be able to discuss Craik & Lockhart’s theory and its limitation
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Weekly summary: January 26 – 30

With me being gone and us wrapping up the SCLOA, the weekly summaries have gone a bit by the wayside. This week we started to look at memory theory.  Here are the things that you need to be able to talk about:

  • The cognitive level of analysis arose as a response to Behaviourism. You should be able to state and explain the  principles that we outlined in class.
  • Ebbinghaus was one of the earliest study of memory.  He tried to see how many words could be remembered if they were stripped of context.  He developed the idea of the forgetting curve.  He found that over time, we remember only 25% of what we learn.  Today this theory is largely discredit.  Be able to explain why.
  • Short-term memory is limited in capacity and time.  Miller found that STM capacity is 7 + or – 2, but can be expanded through a process called chunking.
  • We also started to look at the different types of memory.  Memory can either be implicit or explicit.  Also, memory can be declarative, procedural, or episodic (autobiographical, emotional).   Case studies of individuals with amnesia, or who have suffered from stroke, have helped us understand the different types of memory.
  • Early researchers searched for the engram.  Early researchers proposed the Theory of Equipotentiality – that is, memory is everywhere and nowhere. Today we talk about distributed memory.
  • Some memories may be localized.  One example is the ability to remember faces.  The inability to recall faces is prosopagnosia.
  • Finally, we started to look at what we do with our memories – we sharpen, level and assimilate.  This takes us into next week’s work on schema theory.

A lot to start, but we will be using many of these terms repeatedly in this unit.  For now, here is a video on memory which is rather intriguing.

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Individualism vs. collectivism

Here is a video to help you better understand individualism vs. collectivism.  Remember that individualism is based on the ideals of uniqueness, achievement and independence.  It includes ideas like:

  • It is important for me to be myself.
  • To know who I am, you must examine my achievements and accomplishments.
  • My personal happiness is more important to me than almost anything else.

Collectivism is based on the ideals of family, relationships with others and common fate.  It include ideas like:

  • My family is central to who I am.
  • It is important for me to respect the decisions of my family.
  • To know who I really am, you must see me with members of my group.
  • The history and heritage of my religious, national or ethnic group are a large part of who I am.

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Weekly summary: January 12 – 16

This week we wrapped up the SCLOA by discussing both conformity and cultural dimensions. You should be able to discuss all of the following concepts:

  • Explain and evaluate the Asch paradigm.
  • Be able to describe the factors that affect conformity. (see pp 120 – 121 in your text).
  • Be able to explain the reasons why people conform – informational social influence (ambiguity, social comparison, cognitive dissonance) and normative social influence (the need to be part of a group).
  • Be able to give examples of how culture affects levels of conformity (see studies on p 123 of text).
  • What are the strengths and limitations of Hofstede’s concept of dimensions?
  • What was Hofstede’s methodology which he used in order to develop his theory of dimensions?
  • Discuss how Greenburg applied Hofstede’s theory in order to improve the safety record of Korean Airlines.

Here is a good little video on the power distance dimension. This should give you an even deeper understanding of the Korean Airlines reading that we did.


Next week it is study guides and a unit test.  And then we (finally) move on to the Cognitive level of analysis.

You are now officially deep into psychology…

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Weekly summary: January 6 – 9

This week we wrapped up compliance techniques and began discussing conformity.  At the end of this week, you should be able to do the following:

  • Distinguish between conformity, obedience, and compliance.
  • Describe reciprocity, foot in the door, door in the face and lowballing.
  • For two of the compliance techniques we studied, be able to give two examples of research.
  • In addition, be able to explain why these techniques are so effective.
  • Explain what is meant by informational, normative and referential social influence with regard to conformity.

As we wrap up this week, here is an interesting video on persuasion.  Take a look and see what you think.

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Weekly summary: December 8 – 12

This week we introduced compliance techniques.  At the end of this week you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What is the difference between compliance and obedience?
  • What is meant by reciprocity?  What is the technique of door-in-the-face?
  • What is meant by commitment?  What are the techniques of low-balling and foot-in-the door?

Here is a good little video that explains “Foot-in-the-door technique.”  Maybe you can use this technique to get the best holiday gift ever from your parents….

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Weekly summary: December 1 – 5

This week our focus was on Social Learning Theory.

Based on this week’s notes, as well as pp. 111 – 116 in your text, you should be able to discuss the nature of Social Learning Theory, research that supports it, and the strengths and limitations of the theory. In addition, you should be able to discuss the research on television violence. In particular, you should be able to discuss which factors are involved in Social Learning Theory (vicarious reinforcement, attention, retention) and why some models may be more influential on our behaviour than others.

Here is an interesting video campaign that looks at SLT. What do you think?

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