Cognitive psychology refers to the process of investigating one’s ability to perceive, learn, remember, think, reason, and understand. Essentially, cognition studies the process of acquiring and applying information or knowledge. Cameron seems distracted during discussions in group therapy despite having no history of attention disorder. Instead, he has oppositional defiant disorder, which does not relate to attention. However, stress is found have some impact on his ability to focus. This paper will explore how memories are created, stored, and recalled. In addition, the paper will investigate how perception of stress might have affected Cameron’s ability to focus. The paper will also explore how Cameron’s intelligence might affect his ability to concentrate. Finally, the paper will propose possible strategies that would help Cameron increase his ability to concentrate (Lu & Dosher, 2007).
How memories are created, stored, and recalled
Memory refers to the practice of preserving information for a given period. In essence, the term memory is given to the processes and structures utilized in storing, as well as retrieving data. Information processed in memory includes images and meanings, as well as sounds. Memory involves three main steps namely encoding, storage and retrieval. The first step involves conversion of information into a form, which can be interpreted by the brain. Encoding can be done in three main ways namely, visual, acoustic and semantic. Visual coding occurs when an individual sees a picture or a number. On the other hand, acoustic coding occurs when the information can be rehearsed verbally. On the other hand, semantic coding occurs when meaning can be derived from information. Memory can be stored in two forms namely short-term memory and long-term memory. Short-term memory lasts 30 seconds while long-term memory lasts throughout one’s life. Short-term memory is usually retrieved sequentially while long-term memory is retrieved by association. It should be noted that arranging information helps in its retrieval (Xu, 2010).
How perception of stress interferes with ability to pay attention and why attention is difficult to direct when an individual is stressed
Attention is essential to learning and memory. In fact, without attention, memory skills cannot be applied. Moreover, learning skills cannot be applied without attention. In essence, individuals learn less when they concentrate less, and vice versa. Cameron’s attention is affected by the news of his parents’ divorce. It is necessary to note that one can only concentrate on a single event at any given time. Consequently, no one can concentrate on two things at any given time. However, an individual can easily switch from one event to another. However, this is quite difficult because one can easily forget both events. For instance, Cameron is stressed, this means that Cameron focuses his attention on the problems at home. Cameron’s perception of stress is negative, if he does not have the ability to handle the divorce between his parents. Negative stress instigates a strong reaction, which affects one’s ability to concentrate. Switching attention from home to therapy has the ability of causing distraction. Stress is therefore affecting Cameron’s attention in group therapy. Attention is therefore very difficult to direct when one is stressed since he/she cannot concentrate on two things at the same time (Logan, 2004).
How Cameron’s intelligence is affected by attention problems and possible problems when intelligence is used to adapt to school situations
Paying attention is important because it helps one to increase his/her intelligence. Paying attention determines amount of information received, stored and retrieved in an individual. Similarly, amount of information received, stored and retrieved in an individual determines his/her intelligence. In this regard, Cameron would have difficulties in processing information effectively in school situations. In addition, Cameron would find it difficult to interpreting the meaning of information in memory process. This would be detrimental to Cameron’s intelligence. Moreover, Cameron would meet obstacles in adapting to school life. Poor processing of information would limit Cameron’s ability to create, store and retrieve information (Goldstein, 2008).
Strategies/activities to be used to help Cameron increase his ability to direct his attention
A number of strategies can be utilized to increase Cameron’s ability to pay attention in group therapy. Firstly, I would introduce activities that help Cameron to relax to help increase his learning process. Specifically, I would introduce breaks during group therapy to give him time to relax. During the breaks, I can let Cameron take on activities that help flow of blood. Secondly, I would work to increase Cameron’s motivation in group therapy, as this would make the discussion interesting as well as meaningful. Thirdly, I would perform guidance and counseling to Cameron to help improve his perception of stress since stress can be positive or negative depending on an individual’s perception.
Cameron is only 15 years old but he suffers from stress disorder because of his parents’ divorce. Stress causes Cameron not to concentrate during group therapy. Stress affects Cameron’s ability to concentrate on group therapy. In effect, Cameron’s attention is distracted from topics of group therapy. Attention prompts poor memory processing which reduces Cameron’s intelligence. Therefore, Cameron needs guidance and counseling, as well as motivation to pay attention to discussions in group therapy. Additionally, Cameron needs breaks during group therapy to help in relaxing his cognitive processes.
Goldstein, B. (2008). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, brain, and everyday experience (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage.
Logan, D. (2004). Cumulative progress in formal theories of attention. Annual Review of Psychology, 55(1), 207-234.
Lu, Z., & Dosher, B. (2007). Cognitive psychology. Scholarpedia, 2(8), 2769.
Xu, X. (2010). Introduction to Cognitive Psychology. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Psychology, Kaplan University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.