A-Z cognitive psychology terms you should know


A-Z cognitive psychology terms you should know

Cognitive psychology is playing an ever increasing role in both education and sport. But psychological terms often sound complicated, which can put people off from using or exploring the concepts behind them. To help, we have put together an A-Z list explaining the key terms we think are most important.

Authentic Leadership – we are looking for leaders to be authentic so those who follow their instruction have a better social connection, as they understand who the leader is away from their professional role.

Blocking – a poor revision technique where you dedicate whole days to each subject rather than mixing them up, which has been shown to be more effective.

Circadian Rhythm – our body’s internal clock that ensures we are most awake when it is light and sleepy when it is dark.

Deliberate Practice – focused practice that looks to achieve a specific goal.

Elaborative Interrogation – asking ‘why is this true?’ helps connects new knowledge to existing memories, thus solidifying it in the brain.

Fixed Mindset – the belief that abilities are set in stone and cannot be improved.

Growth Mindset – thinking that your abilities can be improved through effort and learning.

Halo Effect – describes how we are unduly influenced by our first experience with a person, and how this can cloud all future perceptions.

Interleaving – a good revision technique which involves mixing up the type of question one revises.

Jigsaw Method – a technique that uses cooperative learning. Students are split into groups and are each responsible for learning a specific set of information, which they then teach to the rest of their group.

Knowledge Acquisition – it is easier to gain new knowledge if we already have similar existing knowledge. This places more anchor points in the brain for new information to connect to.

Looping – if students have the same teacher for two years or more, this can build relationships and thus improve academic performance.

Metacognition – the ability to critically analyse and monitor the way we think.

Note Taking – taking notes in class gives you something positive and productive to focus on, and reduces the need to seek distractions elsewhere.

Out Group - a social group that you don’t identify with, which often leads to a negative view of the people within the group.

Procrastination – finding other tasks to do to delay the completion of a more important task.

Quality of Practice – it is not only about the number of hours of practice, the quality also needs to be high.

Retrieval Practice – doing an activity that requires you to answer questions, cementing this knowledge in the long-term memory.

Spacing – revising by doing a little and often, instead of a lot all at once.

Thinking biases – an error in thinking that causes misconceptions and changes the decision and judgements we make.

Urgency vs Importance – a method famously used by Eisenhower which gives a suggestion on how to manage time more effectively. He stated that a balance between urgency and importance is needed so that we can address issues promptly whilst still having time for issues that we personally value.

Verbal or Visual Feedback – both verbal and visual feedback allows students to recognise what they have done well whilst also identifying areas they can improve on for next time.

Wellbeing – feeling healthy and content with our lives.

Xenodochial – being friendly to new people and acting in a hospitable way.

Yerkes-Dodson Law – a concept that states that a little stress is ideal, as it focuses and energises individuals. Too much stress can lead to fatigue and exhaustion, whilst no stress can cause boredom.

Zeigarnik Effect – describes the observation that, once you start a task, your brain remains alert until you finish it, which is why starting a task is often the hardest part.

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