Up Learn – A Level Psychology (AQA) – approaches to psychology (Ao3)
A limitation of the cognitive approach is that the laboratory experiments may lack ecological validity.
More videos on Approaches to Psychology (AO3):
Approaches to Psychology (AO3)
Last time, we saw the second strength of the cognitive approach is…
A second strength of the cognitive approach is that it can be applied to understand and treat mental disorders.
For instance, one cognitive therapy is called cognitive behavioural therapy.
But, ~~~ there are also limitations of the cognitive approach, which we’ll look at now.
Now, we’ve seen already that the cognitive approach studies mental processes by conducting…
The cognitive approach studies mental processes by conducting laboratory experiments, where cognitive psychologists make inferences about mental processes from observable behaviour.
For instance, they might set participants a task to see how many words they can remember at once.
And so, they might bring participants into a quiet room and get them to memorise a long list of random words, like this [random word list].
Then, the researcher can use this measurement to make an inference about the capacity of short-term memory.
But… this doesn’t really reflect how we use memory in everyday life.
The stimuli we need to remember in everyday life are rarely long lists of unconnected words.
Instead, people need to remember things like…where their phone is…or what they need to buy at the shop…or what they learned in the last Up Learn video.
So, the strategies that people use to memorise stuff in these artificial experiments, may not be the same strategies used to memorise information in everyday life!
And, this is true in many cognitive psychology experiments – the things that participants are asked to do in the experiments are often very artificial…
And may not resemble how participants behave in everyday life…
And so, we can say that experiments in the cognitive approach…
The experiments in the cognitive approach may lack ecological validity.
And this is the first limitation of the cognitive approach!
So, to sum up, the first limitation of the cognitive approach is that…
The first limitation of the cognitive approach is that the laboratory experiments may lack ecological validity.