Exam Question Bank: Paper 1: Cognitive Approach

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB), Cognitive Psychology, Revision and Exam Preparation 38 Comments

Whether you're a student looking for help with studying or a teacher writing mock exams, these questions should help.

Disclaimer: These questions are not IB “official” questions and are written with our best guess as to what the probable exam questions may look like. Therefore, not every possible question is covered.

READ MORE  IB Psychology Exam Question Banks

    • Paper 1: Biological approach (Link)
    • Paper 1: Sociocultural approach (Link)
    • Paper 1: HL Ext Bio Animal Studies (Link)
    • Paper 1: HL Ext Cog Technology & Cognition (Link)
    • Paper 1: HL Ext Soc/cult Globalization (Link)
    • Paper 2: Human Relationships (Link)
    • Paper 2: Abnormal Psychology (Link)

Cognitive Approach

The following table is taken from “IB Psychology: A Revision Guide” (Link).

Screen Shot 2019-04-18 at 9.49.18

The exam questions will be based on the topic and content headings as shown above (Note: terms in italics will only be asked from May 2020 onwards).

Exam Questions

TOPIC Content SAQs Essay Questions

Cognitive Processing

Models of memory

  • Describe one model of memory.
  • Outline one study related to one model of memory.
  • Contrast two models of memory.
  • Evaluate one model of memory.
  • Evaluate one study related to one model of memory.
  • Discuss models of memory.
Multi-store model
  • Outline the multi-store model of memory.
SAQ term only
Working memory model
  • Describe the working memory model.
  • Explain how one study supports the working memory model.
SAQ term only

Schema theory

  • Explain schema theory.
  • Describe how one study relates to schema theory.
  • Evaluate schema theory.
  • Discuss one or more studies related to schema theory.
Cognitive schema
  • Explain one study related to cognitive schema.
SAQ term only

Thinking and decision making

  • Explain one theory or study related to  thinking and decision-making.
  • Describe one theory of thinking and decision making.
  • Evaluate one theory or study related to  thinking and decision-making.
  • Discuss one theory of thinking and decision making.
Rational (controlled)
  • Describe one example of rational (controlled) thinking.
SAQ term only
Intuitive thinking (automatic)
  • Outline one example of intuitive (automatic) thinking.
SAQ term only
   

Reliability of cognitive processing.

 
  • Outline one study on the reliability of one cognitive process.
  • Discuss the reliability of one cognitive process.
  • Evaluate one or more studies on the reliability of one cognitive process.

Reconstructive memory

  • Explain one theory or study relevant to reconstructive memory.
  • Describe how one study demonstrates reconstructive memory.
  • Evaluate one theory or study relevant to reconstructive memory.

Bias in thinking and decision making

  • Explain one bias in thinking and decision making.
  • Explain how one bias in thinking and/or decision making can be shown in one study.
  • Discuss one  or more biases in thinking and decision making.
  • Discuss one biases in thinking and decision making.
   

Emotion and cognition

The influence of emotion on cognitive processes

  • Explain the influence of emotion on one cognitive process.
  • Explain how one study demonstrates the influence of emotion on cognition.
  • Explain how emotion may affect one cognitive process.
  • Discuss the influence of emotion on one cognitive process.
  • To what extent does emotion affect cognition?
  • Discuss how emotion may affect one or more cognitive processes?

Research Methods & Ethical Considerations

Questions about research methods and ethics will be based on the three “topics” for the cognitive approach (cognitive processes, the reliability of cognitive processes and emotion and cognition).

Research Methods

Short Answer Questions

  • Outline one research method used to study cognitive processes.
  • Describe the use of one research method used to study cognitive processes.
  • Explain how and why one research method is used to study the reliability of one cognitive process.
  •  Explain the use of one research method used in the cognitive approach to understanding human behaviour.

Essay Questions

  • Discuss one research method used to study cognitive processes.
  • Evaluate one or more research methods used to study cognitive processes.
  • Evaluate the use of one research method used to study the reliability of cognitive processes.
  • Evaluate how and why one research method is used to study the effects of emotion on cognition.
  • Discuss the use of one or more research methods used in the cognitive approach to understanding human behaviour.

Ethical Considerations

Short Answer Questions

  • Outline one ethical consideration related to studies on cognitive processes.
  • Explain one ethical consideration relevant to studies on the effects of emotion on cognition.
  • Explain one ethical consideration relevant to one study on the reliability of cognitive processes.
  • Outline one ethical consideration related to studies in the cognitive approach to understanding human behaviour.

Essay Questions

  • Discuss one ethical consideration relevant to studies on cognitive processes.
  • Discuss one ethical consideration relevant to one study on the reliability of cognitive processes.
  • Discuss ethical considerations relevant to research on the effects of emotion on cognition.
  • Discuss one or more ethical considerations relevant to research on cognitive processes.
  • Discuss one or more ethical considerations related to research in the cognitive approach to understanding human behaviour.

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Notes

Paper One has two sections – A and B. In Section A you have three compulsory short answer questions, one from each approach (biological, cognitive and sociocultural). In Section B, you have three exam questions, also one from each approach and you answer only one. This means you should prep all core approach topics for SAQs and you can choose one approach for essays.

  1. For short answer questions, because you can use the command terms interchangeably (outline, describe, explain) their selection for the above questions has been random.
  2. The italicized terms above (e.g. cognitive schema) are the SAQ additional terms. It’s often difficult to predict how these will be phrased in IB exam questions.

Disclaimer: These questions are not IB “official” questions and are written with our best guess as to what the probable exam questions may look like. Therefore, not every possible question is covered.

Comments 38

  1. Since the IB Psychology guide specified that more than one piece of research study is expected for each ERQ, may I ask if questions like “Evaluate one study related to one model of memory.” are actually possible?

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      Luciano – can you quote the line and page number where it says that in the guide? I don’t think it does, but happy to be shown otherwise.

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  2. Hi,

    For the 2019 November Exams can we be asked the subset specific topics for SAQ’s (e.g. “Describe the working memory model”, rather than just only specifying a general area like “Describe one model of memory”) ?

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      I wouldn’t consider it a memory model. The guide is clear that students need to know the MSM and WMM, so stick to those as the memory models.

  3. Hi Travis, I’ve taught my students MSM and WMM. Flashbulb memory is a phenomenon and the result of emotion interacting with memory. Could it also be considered a memory model?

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      Author

      It MIGHT be accepted, but personally I wouldn’t risk it. The exam questions might state WMM or MSM specifically, so I think it’s best just to prepare to use these models for this topic.

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  4. What would you suggest as a key study for the question you provided above: ‘Describe one example of rational (controlled) thinking’?

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  7. Hi Travis. Do you think it would be possible to bypass studying ethical considerations and research methods at an essay level? Thanks!

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  8. Hi Travis! For an essay on one bias in thinking, is it possible to use Cohen (1981) and Stone (2010) for confirmation bias or are they too similar (say the same thing)?

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  9. Hello, can we be given an SAQs about describing a research method or ethical consideration in a specific topic, like “Explain one research method in Social Identity Theory” or “Describe one ethical consideration in Social Cognitive Theory”? If so, does this also apply to sub-topics like “Social Groups”?

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      Author

      No, you can’t. Research methods and ethics are linked to the topic headings, not the content (or italics) headings. This is explained in this blog post – read above.

  10. Hello. I will be giving my exams in May 2020. here you have mentioned that the specific parts like instead of asking models of memory they can ask a specific question about the multistore memory model. So does include the may 2020 batch or from November 2020?

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      Author
  11. Hi Mr Dixon,
    Can I use Tversky and Kahneman (1981) for the SAQs on Rational and Intuitive Thinking? If so, How? I don’t really know how to link the findings to each of the systems for their respective SAQ without mentioning the other.

    Thanks
    Mondira

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      Author

      You can. It would be OK to mention both if asked about one as you’re right, it’s tough to talk about one without the other.

  12. Dear Mr Dixon,

    I noticed that you separated “schema theory” and “cognitive schema”: how are they different exactly?

    Thank you for your help.

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      Author

      They both appear in the IB Psych’ guide. They’re the same thing, though. Why did the IB add “cognitive schema?” Who knows.

  13. Hello Mr. Dixon,
    Is it possible for us to be asked to compare/contrast theories of thinking and decision-making or theories on the influence of emotion on cognitive processes? (Just like how we could be asked to compare/contrast models or theories of memory)

  14. Hello Mr. Dixon,

    Is it possible for us to be asked to compare/contrast theories of thinking and decision-making or theories on the influence of emotion on cognitive processes? (Just like how we could be asked to compare/contrast models or theories of memory)

    Thank you

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      Author

      I do not believe such a question is possible. Double-check in the guide to see where it says “one or more.” If it says that, then you know they can’t ask contrast questions for those topics.

      1. Thank you, in the guide it said ‘one or more’ for influence of emotions on cognitive processes but not for theories of thinking and decision-making. Does that mean the latter is still possible?

        Also, is it possible for there to be a question asking for TWO or more research methods used to study the reliability of memory or to study the effect of emotion on cognition?

  15. Hi Travis,
    In the question bank, there is a possible question of discuss one ethical consideration related to one study. Do you think there would be enough content to answer that if they are only talking about one EC and one study? What does critical thinking look like in this situation?

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      Author

      Good questions – I’d hope the IB wouldn’t ask this question. Hopefully the IB would ask “one or more” for all topics, but we don’t have this in writing (to my knowledge) so there are no guarantees.

      Critical thinking is the toughest in any ethics question – I recommend students look at the downsides of following the guidelines (e.g. giving informed consent). I’d hope the IB wouldn’t ask such a question, but I think it’s better to prepare students for depth over breadth. Some got caught out a couple of years ago with the “two ethical considerations” question in animal studies.

  16. Hello Mr. Dixon,
    I am following up with your response to my previous comment above: In the guide it said ‘one or more’ for influence of emotions on cognitive processes but not for theories of thinking and decision-making. Does that mean the latter is still possible?

    Also, is it possible for there to be a question asking for TWO or more research methods used to study the reliability of memory or to study the effect of emotion on cognition?

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      Author

      1) You should only be asked about one theory of thinking and decision making. It might be one or more, but it should not be two.

      2) It’s POSSIBLE, but not PROBABLE. They have asked before for “two or more” ethical considerations. I would become an expert in either true expts or correlational studies, and use the second as a back-up to (a) evaluate the first and (b) use in case they ask for “two.”

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        Updating: in May 2021 they asked for “Two research methods” in Abnormal psychology, so it is a possible question.

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