Five Best Theories/ Model for your IBDP Psychology IA

In this blog post, I'll outline different theories students can choose when completing their Internal Assessments, but which one is the best? I’ll also suggest some good studies that go with those theories.

We will explore the five best theories for the Internal Assessment and discuss why each might be the best option for you. Stay tuned!

List of the theories

these theories are effectively used in top-scoring IAs, but it is guided that you must consult your teacher and seek advice on which one is best suited to your studies.

the best theories for IA are

  • levels processing models
  • Dual processing model
  • multistore models
  • schema theory
  • working memory model

Theory 1:

Levels of processing model (Craik and Lockhart)

The model consists of three levels of processing: shallow, intermediate, and deep. External processing occurs when information is first encoded into the system and involves little mental effort or analysis.

 Intermediate processing involves more mental effort and research, such as encoding the meaning of a word or the Association between two items. Deep processing is the most cognitively demanding level of processing and involves elaborative rehearsal, which can lead to long-term memory encoding. 

Relevant studies:

Levels of processing (Craik and Tulving)

The pen is mightier than the sword

Self-referent effect (by rogers and Kirker)

Theory 2:

Dual processing model (Craik and Lockhart)

The dual processing model, also known as Craik and Lockhart's theory of internal assessment, posits that there are two separate types of processing: fast and slow. Fast processing leads to cognitive biases and requires little effort or attention, such as the anchoring effect, while slow processing is more complex and meaningful. 

Relevant studies are

  • Anchor effect
  • Availability heuristic
  • Effort heuristic

Theory 3:

Multistore model (Atkinson and Shiffrin)

The basic idea is that information is first stored in our short-term memory, which has a limited capacity. If we want to remember the information for the long term, it must be sent to the long-term memory, which has a much larger capacity.

However, this transfer is not always successful, and some information may be lost along the way. 

Relevant studies:

The recency effect (Glanzer and Cunitz)

A short-term memory duration of trigram(Peterson)

Theory 4:

Schema theory (Bartlett (and others)

The schema theory suggests that students construct internal mental representations of knowledge, which they use to organize and interpret new information. Therefore, students are more likely to remember information consistent with their existing schemas and less likely to remember information that contradicts them.

However, students who do not have well-developed schemas may find the IA more difficult, as they will have more difficulty making sense of the information they are given.

Relevant study:

The Laundry studies

Theory 5:

Working memory model (Baddeley and Hitch)

This model states three components of working memory: the central executive, the phonological loop, and the visuospatial sketchpad. The prominent executive is responsible for regulating attention and controlling information flow between the other two components.

The phonological loop deals with auditory information, while the visuospatial sketchpad processes visual input. This model can be applied to an internal assessment by using the components to process different types of information. 

Relevant study:

  • The effect of music on the cognition 
  • Articulatory suppression (speaking in between trying to remember something reduces memory)
  • Noise and working memory

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