Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. Researchers in this field use a variety of methods to investigate these processes. In this article, we will discuss the types of research that are conducted in cognitive psychology.
One of the most common types of research done in cognitive psychology is experimental research. In this type of research, researchers manipulate one or more independent variables and observe how they affect one or more dependent variables. For example, a researcher might manipulate the amount of time participants have to study a list of words and then measure how many words they remember.
Laboratory experiments are a type of experimental research that are conducted in controlled environments. These studies often use highly controlled stimuli and procedures to investigate cognitive processes. For example, researchers might use reaction time tasks to investigate attention or memory.
Field experiments are conducted outside the laboratory in natural settings such as classrooms or workplaces. These studies often have higher ecological validity than laboratory experiments because they take place in real-world situations. For example, researchers might conduct a field experiment to investigate how people remember information presented in a lecture.
Observational research involves observing behavior without manipulating any variables. In cognitive psychology, researchers might observe behavior such as problem-solving or decision-making. This type of research can be done in both laboratory and natural settings.
Naturalistic observation involves observing behavior without interfering with it in any way. For example, researchers might observe children playing at a playground to investigate social development.
Structured observation involves observing behavior within a structured environment. For example, researchers might observe how children solve puzzles under different conditions.
Correlational research investigates the relationship between two or more variables. In cognitive psychology, researchers might investigate the relationship between attention and memory, or between problem-solving ability and intelligence.
Survey research involves asking participants questions about their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For example, researchers might ask participants how often they use different memory strategies.
Case studies involve in-depth investigation of a single individual or group. For example, researchers might study a patient with a brain injury to investigate the effects of the injury on cognitive processes.
In conclusion, cognitive psychology uses a variety of research methods to investigate mental processes such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. Experimental research involves manipulating variables to observe their effects on dependent variables.
Observational research involves observing behavior without manipulating any variables. Correlational research investigates the relationship between two or more variables. Each type of research has its strengths and weaknesses and can provide valuable insights into cognitive processes.