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PSYC 575 Cognitive Psychology

PSYC 575 Cognitive Psychology

PSYC 575 Cognitive Psychology: Journal Article Summary Assignment Instructions

Article review. You can select any article pertaining to cognitive psychology, but I suggest that you select an article that you could use in your paper on false memories.  The article should be a peer-reviewed journal article that discusses an experiment the authors actually conducted (i.e. a primary source).  In other words, the article cannot be a review article, meta-analysis, editorial or something from the popular press.  In all of these examples, the author is discussing someone else’s work and you’re reading about it second-hand.


For each Journal Article Summary, you will choose an article to review and use the Journal Article Summary Template to complete the assignment. The article you select must be a peer-reviewed journal article in the field of cognitive psychology. The article must also be a primary source, meaning that the authors are discussing their own research, not others’ research (e.g. review articles). Do not use an article that conducted a meta-analysis. It is ideal to select an article that you will be using in your paper; however, this is not a requirement. If you use an article that does not meet these criteria, you will not receive credit for this assignment. See the example below for a detailed explanation of the required material for each question. Submit the completed form and a PDF of the article being reviewed. All material must be in the current APA format.


1. APA reference of article being reviewed

Write the reference for the article as if it were in the reference section of your paper.

2. What is the research problem that is being investigated? What is the purpose of the research being conducted?

Provide the “why” behind the paper. Why have they conducted this experiment? For example: “These experiments were designed to explore the role of second-order conditioning in anxiety disorders.”

3. What is the research question?

The research question is more specific. What is the specific question or questions the article will answer as a result of the study or experiment? For example: “Are adolescents more sensitive to the memory-imparting effects of alcohol?”

4. What are 2 or more theories that are discussed in the Introduction? How are they used to motivate (or set up) the research question? Do the authors agree or disagree with these theories?

Simply restate the theories discussed in the introduction in your own words. State how these theories are driving the research questions. If the authors’ hypothesis is correct, will it support the theory or be inconsistent with the theory? You should have a good idea of where the authors stand based on the evidence presented and the arguments they are making.

5. How is the research question operationalized? First, identify the abstract constructs being studied. Next, identify the concrete way these are being observed or measured. This should include your IV and DV.

A construct is an abstract explanatory variable that this not directly observable (e.g. memory). The concrete way the construct is measured will point you to the dependent variable (DV). For example, if the paper is concerned with memory, the DV may be the number of items recalled. The independent variable (IV) could be the amount of sleep each participant was allowed the night before the test. Remember that we cannot directly measure many of the constructs that are studied in psychology, so it is important that we identify how they are being operationalised in each research study.

6. What is the research design (i.e. between or within subjects, what type of statistical tests were used, what were the levels of each variable)?

This information will be in the methods section of your paper. Be sure to provide enough detail to describe how the study was designed.

7. Describe the results (but not their broader implications). Were the results significant? Which ones? Do these support or not support the hypothesis?

Describe the result in your own words. For example Group X were able to recall significantly more words than Group Y. This finding supports the hypothesis that manipulation Y would reduce recall.

8. What limitations are mentioned? Why are these limitations theoretically interesting?

Limitations can be found in the discussion section of the paper. If a limitation is that they didn’t have an X control group, then explain in your own words why that is important. Does it change the interpretation of the findings?

Sample Solutions

APA reference of article being reviewed:
Loftus, E. F., & Pickrell, J. E. (1995). The formation of false memories. Psychiatric Annals, 25(12), 720-725.

What is the research question being investigated? What is the goal of the research being carried out?
The creation of false memories is the research problem addressed in this article. The study’s goal is to investigate the mechanisms underlying false memory creation and to comprehend how such false memories can be produced and maintained.

What exactly is the research question?
“How may false memories be produced and maintained?” is the research question.

What are two or more of the theories addressed in the introduction? How do they serve to motivate (or frame) the research question? Are the authors in agreement or disagreement with these theories?
The source monitoring framework and constructivist theory are two theories presented in the introduction. According to the source monitoring framework, people have difficulty discerning the source of a memory, which can lead to the formation of false memories. According to constructivist theory, memories are not fixed but rather recreated each time they are recovered, which can result in the formation of false memories. These theories are accepted by the writers, who use them to motivate the study question.

How is the research question put into action? First, determine the abstract constructs under consideration. Next, determine how these are being observed or measured in practice. This includes your IV and DV.
Memory and the development of false memories are the abstract constructs being investigated. This is measured concretely through the use of experimental procedures such as suggestion, imagination, and repeated recall, which can result in the formation of false memories. The experimental manipulation (e.g., suggestion, imagination, repeated recall) is the independent variable (IV), while the accuracy of memory recall is the dependent variable (DV).

What is the research design (for example, between or among individuals, what statistical tests were employed, and what were the levels of each variable)?
The study is within-subjects, which means that the same people are assessed in all situations. Chi-square and ANOVA tests were utilized as statistical testing. The experimental interventions are the levels of the independent variable (e.g. suggestion, imagination, repeated recall).

Describe the outcomes (but not their broader implications). Were the findings significant? Which ones are they? Do these support or refute the hypothesis?
False memories can be produced by suggestion, imagination, and repeated recall, according to the findings. These fake memories were discovered to be similar to actual recollections in certain ways, but not significantly different in terms of vividness, confidence, and emotionality. The findings support the concept that these experimental manipulations can lead to the formation of false memories.

What restrictions are mentioned? Why are these constraints conceptually intriguing?
The paper mentions several limitations, including the small sample size, the use of solely female participants, and the data’ limited generalizability. These limitations are potentially intriguing because they emphasize the need for additional study to corroborate the findings and to broaden our understanding of false memory creation to include various groups and circumstances.