— Dissertation Proposal –

–Dissertation Proposal –

Methodof Cognition Analysis

Tableof Contents

Background 3

Research Objectives 4

Literature Review 5

Neurological Aspect 10

Methodology 11

Respondents 11

Proposed Analysis 13

Ethical Considerations: 14

Appendix1: Parental Consent Form 15

References 18


Eventhough most of the studies have focused mainly on how attitude iscreated as evidenced in a number of studies done by Joseph Woelfelthis study however focuses on the creation of attitudes throughself-referencing (Cross &amp Markus, 1994). Most intervention thatare related to the self-referencing method operate on the concept oridea that student learn to perform a mental task that has a number ofsteps or elements, whether they may be in concrete or conceptualform. The student learns to perform this task through developing somekind of mental link or direct connection for each of the portion thatrelates to the primary mental task that is under review. Forinstance, when an individual learns to execute a specific task whichis considered the primary mental task, the individual developscertain distinct mental impression each time they execute anothertask that is directly and logically related to the first task thatwas executed. This means that there is some kind of link orconnection that arises between two or more parts, one task always beprimary and the other being a related task that is connected to theprimary task in some sort of logical mental step. This method isapplicable in many areas and is significant in the learning ofmusical instrument, learning of foreign language, test taking skillsas well as mathematics.

Thisstudy is mainly based on the theoretical knowledge that concerns thescientific model and the two main theories that support this studyare the general theory of self-referencing networks and the theory ofprimary and related elements. This study while exploring creation ofattitudes employs the use of the self-referencing theory to backtheir stance. According to the self-referencing networks theory,human behaviours are seen as self-components which are mainly definedthrough certain known situations through direct learning experiencesor even communication with other persons. According to this theory,in case a person was taught to be brave, they would be brave enoughor show some sense of brevity in instances that are deemed dangerous.On the other hand, if the individual was taught to be a coward, theindividual is expected to have spineless acts in cases where such aperson is exposed to dangerous situations. In accordance to theself-referencing model the different behaviours that each individualis exposed to at different situations are because they are learned bythe individual.


Thecore objectives of this study are listed as follows

  1. To carry out a detailed literature review on the creation of attitudes as explored by different authors in past studies

  2. To find out the process of attitude creation through self-referencing

  3. To determine the cognitive process in which individuals create link between the self-relevant incoming information with information that was stored in the memory previously



Self-referencingis clearly defined as the cognitive process in which individualscreate some sort of link between the self-relevant incominginformation with information that was stored in the memory previously(Lord, 1980). The information that was previously stored in memorycan be alluded to be one’s self-concept which enables individualsgive the new information that they get a meaning. For instance, inscenarios where a company is marketing, the target audience may bemotivated to relate an advertising message to their personalperception through some personal information that is stored withinthe structure of the self-concept. Often, persons who self-referenceinformation are usually able to remember the information which theyself-reference as it becomes meaningful to them and ultimately theyare in a position to respond to it or act on it in a favourablemanner. Numerous studies have documented that self-referencing has anumber of effects which include facilitation of message recalling,learning and memory which are all important in guiding the creationof attitudes (Lord, 1980).

Theself-reference has some grounds and basis on a number of theoriesthat are related to the self-structure in the memory. Usually, theself is seen to be a representation of some kind of elaborate andorganized network of associations in memory. Through thisassociation, the self-referencing affects the encoding and theretrieval of the necessary and essential information stimulus.Additionally, the effect is seen in the individual’s potentialevaluative judgements in many occasions in the persuasion context.

Accordingto Bower &amp Gilligan (1979) the self refers to a schema thataffects the judgement and memory of an individual. Usually, itprovides different meaning to the incoming stimuli in the cases wherethe stimuli are seen to fit the knowledge structure of an individualin memory. According to Lord (1980), individuals can be categorizedas schematic for a particular trait especially in instances where thetrait is judged as self-descriptive. In instances where the traitcannot be established then it is classified as aschematic.

Greenwald(1981) found that schematics often made the self-relevant traitjudgements to be more rapid than aschematics. Additionally,schematics also made judgements on specific and relevant traits to befaster than the judgements on the existing traits that are deemedirrelevant. Thus according to Cross &amp Markus (1994), individualsharbour a number of schemas in memory however the self is usuallythe most easily recalled schema because it is known that it has oneof the most relevant structural complexities.

Apartfrom the cognitive component of the self, Bower &amp Gilligan (1979)suggest that the self also has some kind of evaluative or affectivecomponent which plays meaningful role in the encoding of certainpersonal information. According to him, the self-referencing processhas some tones of emotional quality which the cognitive model isdeemed to ignore and some attribute improved memory ofself-referenced information to both the cognitive and affectivecomponents of the self. Thus, through this, it is clear thatself-referencing can easily be used to create certain attitudes indifferent areas. The manipulation of self-referencing in attitudecreation is clear for in instance in the advertising field. Thusthrough creation of attitudes, the self-referencing can be used toformulate different strategies in different fields of individual’sinterest.


Mostof the research studies discussed so far suggests the different waysto measure the extent to which self-referencing occurs and thesubsequent effect that might occur. Most of the studies done earlierfocussed on the latter. The effectiveness of self-referencing wasprimarily evaluated through recalling of certain stimulus traitwords. The first measurement of the occurrence of self-referencingwas done by Davis and Brock through analysis of the cognitiveresponses of individuals. According to them, the use of first personpronoun by individuals was an indication that indeed there wasself-referencing on the part of such individuals. Individuals in theself-referencing condition were expected to employ more use of firstperson pronouns compared to the other individuals, some kind ofresult that was indeed supported.

Ina later study, Cacioppo &amp Petty (1979) began by categorizing andordering the cognitive responses of different individuals. Thesepersons did not just measure the valence of the subjects’ cognitiveresponses and the far extent of raising counter arguments but alsowent on to support the different argument and some source derogationwhich are typical measurement procedures to measure their semanticcontent. The authors went ahead and crafted a cognitive responsecoding scheme which included self, product, and thoughts related todifferent executions. Self-thoughts were known to be most importantand very significant in influencing the attitudes of individuals(Campbell &amp Keller, 2003). They conceptualized self-thoughts orself-referencing on two main dimensions and these dimensions wereself-as-origin and self being viewed as target.

Thethoughts that were grouped within the former were those in which theindividuals were seen to express their own beliefs and experiences inrelation to the message, rather than giving or presentingcounter-argument messages. The self-as-target thoughts are those thatportrayed some link between the respondent and the message, in thiscase, the respondent referred to the product relative to their ownneeds and interests. This kind of perception is seen to be in synchwith the notion of Krugman high involvement which alludes to thenumber of conscious bridging experiences, connections or personalreferences that the viewer makes between his life and the stimulus.Owing to the previous reviews, self-referencing did not induce moreself-thoughts in comparison to other treatments and theseself-thoughts were related to the attitudes and behaviour ofindividuals, two other measures which were taken up as well (Bower &ampGilligan, 1979).

Greenwald(1981) also collected cognitive responses. In their studies they hadthe judges categorize the responses in four main groups. The groupswere the nutrition related, the taste related, those related toexecution of message, those related to other products and then theyrated the valence of every thought. Initially, these individualsclassified responses as self-associations or associations thatdirectly related to the message to the self but ultimately found somesort of inconsistency in the evaluations of the judges. The manner inwhich they treated the self-referencing was found to influencedifferently the nature and the degree of the cognitive responses ofindividuals. Whether the individuals were able to self-reference theinformation was mainly determined by the different associations tothe nutrition or taste as well as the attitude of a person towardsthe nutritional value and taste of a product measured in certainscales. However, the measurements were not done by the number ofself-associations as had been reported in the previous studies.

Forinstance, in determination of the effectiveness of differentstrategies employed by individuals, for instance in marketing, itappears that cognitive responses, the different attitudes and thebehavioural measures of the persons should be put into consideration(Cacioppo &amp Petty, 1979). This helps in assessing the actualoccurrence of self-referencing among different individuals given thatcertain studies support the art of spontaneous occurrence. Incarrying out analysis of the cognitive responses, more impression ison the coding scheme that was crafted by Shavitt and Brock whichmainly focuses on self-thoughts (Shavitt &amp Brock, 1990).

Additionally,recommendations would be given on the self-referencing manipulationcheck like the one used by Shavitt and Brock. For instance, Shavittand Brock (1990) asks that when reacting to the commercial whatextent was one trying to focus their own experiences or the questionswhich address the process of self-referencing. A case in point,Shavitt and Brock (1990) subjected individuals to some rating scalewhere they would state the degree to which each thought came fromtheir own thinking or rather from the experiences they had and thishelped to assess the origin of each of the responses.

Campbell&amp Keller (2003) on the other hand sought to ask his subjects howeasy it was to relate each trait word to the personal experience.This is viewed as a measure of the extent to which individuals couldrelate with each of the word. In the event that the stimulus was aslice of life commercial or a sex-role portrayal, the individualswould be asked to state the extent to which they would see themselvesin those kinds of situations.

Lastly,it is imperative to measure the differences of the individuals tohelp assess whether there are some individuals who are indeed moreprone and reactive to certain specific strategies in comparison toother individuals. There is a scale that was crafted by Snyder andwas referred to as the Self-Monitoring Scale (SM). This scale allowsfor the identification of the individuals who are probably going tomonitor themselves and adjust their behaviour out of concern for thepurpose of social appropriateness. In his study and use of scale,Snyder established that persons who were deemed to be highself-monitors were notably likely to use social comparisoninformation compared to the individuals who were low self-monitors.Therefore, in creating attitudes in the scenarios such asadvertising, high SMs should be more prone to judging the socialappropriateness of sex-role portrayals or slice-of-life advertisingand they should be more likely to respond negatively to the differentsocially inappropriate portrayals as compared to the low SMs.

Itis also useful to measure the self-schema of individuals relative tothe persuasive communication in determination of their messagereception. Thus, according to Greenwald (1981) the self-schema ofindividuals should be critical in the prediction of their responsesto the various slice-of-life commercials and different sex-roleportrayals.


Inseveral instances, the ability to imagine any elaborative event froma personal viewpoint of individuals heavily rely on numerouscognitive processes. The cognitive processes are known to potentiallyfacilitate the memory of an event and this include having visualimagery, being able to semantically elaborate items semantically aswell as capability to carry out emotional processing andself-referential processing.

Upto date there are few studies that have been carried out to establishthe concept of sef-reference in neuroscience. To this effect therehas been unclear link between the concepts and neural processing inthe brain regions. In this study to establish the aspect ofself-reference, neuroimaging is incorporated. In doing the study,comparison of neural correlates in stimuli processing in relation tothe self with those of non-self-referential (D`Argembeau et al.,2007).

Inevent that there are self-related stimuli, there are activation inmedial regions of the brains’ cortex (D`Argembeau et al., 2007).The activation occurs across all the functional domains. Thus it isevident that self-referential processing is facilitated by thecortical midline structures (D`Argembeau et al., 2007). Thus,self-referential processing in CMS makes the core of an individualand is crucial for showcasing various experiential feelings ofindividuals bringing together a number of unique concepts that areobserved in the field of neuroscience today.


Thisresearch will take after a deductive reasoning as proposed by Adamset al. (2009) on the grounds that it will be an endeavour to getconclusions from something that is known to be genuine, and anexplanatory methodology where qualitative and quantitative researchsystems will be used. An explanatory configuration methodology willguarantee the variables included in the research, that there isrelation between cognition analysis and attitude creation. Thisresearch will depend on both primary and secondary data gatheringtechniques.

Thequalitative system will be used to disregard the results of theresearch speculation and grow further study to test and help theresearch. Concerning the quantitative methodology, Cognolizer methodwill be the primary instrument of research. The use Cognolizers isfavored because of their legitimacy and unwavering quality in testingand monitoring the progress of individuals in the study. Thecognolizers will allow the users to do their research through the useof management module. The management module has users who are membersof the user group and the group that are used are set up by theowner’s administrators. Qualitative interviews will be utilized toconfirm and illuminate the data gathered (Adams et al., 2009).

Primarydata will be accessible from through the cognolizer modules. Whilesecondary data might be gathered from the Internet, diaries, dataeffectively gathered, distributions, for example, company reports,course readings, newspaper articles, and data from the governmentsources.


Giventhat little information is known concerning the creation of attitudethrough self-referencing as a method of cognition analysis, aqualitative approach will be used to get more details and gain betterinsight and understanding into the field. With qualitative approach,new opportunities to explore new topics are given. Primary data willbe accessible through the cognolizer modules. Through the modules theinformation got gives a whole new meaning to the researchers.

Thestudy will entail subjects ages 4 to 12. In each of the ages, 50members will be sampled out for the study making the study to have atotal of 450 respondents. The participants will mainly be made ofthose attending their elementary school in the region. Therespondents will be nearly evenly divided by gender. All the studentsthat will be interviewed through the cognolizer module will havereceived the parental consent form.

Forthe best results to be obtained, the participants in the differentages were divided in the following groups. First there was 4-5 yearsas the pre-operational stage, 5-6 years also in the pre-operationalstage 7-8, 9-10 form the operational stage and 11-12 as the formaloperational stage (Inhelder &amp Piaget, 1958). This division of thestudents is to inform the approach used to carry out the study oncognolizer modules given that their cognitive development isdifferent.

Forthe children aged between 4 to 7 years the use of duo interviews isemployed in the cognolizer modules given that children in this stageneed more assistance and also have fewer communication skills(Schaffer, 1988). Through this approach the children will feel freeand the process will be less scary to them.

Theuse of the children group from ages 4 to 12 is mainly because at thisstage they still undergo cognitive development thus the creation ofattitude through self-referencing as a method of cognition analysisis still evident. The children are developing and learning thusacquire the various skills through the process of self-referencing.Through the ages, the development of the children in terms of memorytasks involving self-referencing increases. Thus, this is the rightage group to involve in the study.


Thedata analysis procedure will be caught on a scale that ranges from&quotDisagree&quot and `Agree`. With the assistance of the softwarelike Microsoft Excel will be utilized to present the quantitativedata. Some regular factual methodologies used will be mean andstandard deviation.


Inany research there are ethical issues that the researcher shouldcontemplate before engaging in the research. The ethics include therequirements for daily work and the publication of information ethicswhere the protection of the dignity and confidentiality ofinformation provide is paramount up to the point that the participantrequires to be the case. This paper examines the method of cognitionanalysis with special interest on creation of attitudes. The researchwill be conducted in a professional manner and high standards toensure the document is in line with the ethical standards. There areethical considerations which the researcher will consider before,during and after conducting the research to ensure he does notinfringe upon either parties interest.

Oneof the requirements is that the research will be objective andfocused towards the main subject of the research. This means that theresearcher will ensure that they concentrate solely on the researchquestion or the subject of the research without making any otherforms of research which may not be within the specific researchoriginally intended to be conducted. The researcher will also ensurethat they do not form their own opinions or have their own agenda orbias when doing the research. As a result, the researcher should beconcentrated on the research question and the answers provided by theparticipants when drawing his conclusions. This in turn means thatthe questions directed to the participants should not be biased todraw a specific conclusion. The researcher will acknowledge all thesources from which the information is borrowed that are not theirs.

Appendix1:Parental Consent Form

Projecttitle: Methodof Cognition Analysis- Creation of Attitude through Self-Referencing

SectionA: Parent’s Details

Givenname/s __

Familyname ___

Relationshipto child_


_Postcode _

Telephone(home) _ (work) ___

Mobile_ _

Email_ __

SectionB: Purpose

Thepurpose of the study is to assess the creation of attitude throughself-referencing. This is applied as a method of cognition analysis.

SectionC: Procedures

Theprocedure of the research entails use of interview session whichlasts for approximately 10 minutes. My child will be taken out ofclass and the interview carried out in a quiet and serene settingwithin the school. The research will be carried out by a trainedresearch assistant from the University of _

Mychild will be interviewed together with others in their age group.The process that the child will be taken through is to be logicalenough.

SectionD: Confidentiality

Theinformation collected from the study is confidential. The name of mychild will not be exposed or identified after the initial study. Eachof the children will have non-identifiable identification numbersthat shall be assigned and all the information kept as per theagreements.

SectionE: Risks

Thereare no expected risks that will be occurring nor will theparticipants be exposed to risks while participating in this study.

SectionF: Benefits: Freedom to Withdraw and ask questions

Theparticipation of my child in this study is completely on voluntarybasis. I am at discretion to ask any questions or withdraw my childfrom being part of the study without any form of penalty. My childwill be informed that they are at discretion to stop participating ifthey choose to do so.

SectionD: Parental Consent

I(full name of parent)of (address)_Postcode _ give my permission for (full name ofchild) ___ to bepart of the research study:


Iagree to allow my child to participate in the research program beingcarried out by Professor/Doctor___, Departmentofin___


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Campbell,M. C., &amp Keller, K. L. (2003). Brand familiarity and advertisingrepetition effects.&nbspjournalof Consumer Research,&nbsp30(2),292-304.

Cross,S. E., &amp Markus, H. R. (1994). Self-schemas, possible selves, andcompetent performance.&nbspJournalof Educational Psychology,&nbsp86(3),423.

D`Argembeau,A., Ruby, P., Collette, F., Degueldre, C., Balteau, E., Luxen, A.,… &amp Salmon, E. (2007). Distinct regions of the medialprefrontal cortex are associated with self-referential processing andperspective taking. CognitiveNeuroscience, Journal of,19(6),935-944.

Greenwald,A. G. (1981). Self and memory.&nbspThepsychology of learning and motivation,&nbsp15,201-236.

Inhelder,B., &amp Piaget, J. (1958). Adolescent thinking.

Lord,C. G. (1980). Schemas and images as memory aids: Two modes ofprocessing social information.&nbspJournalof Personality and Social Psychology,38(2),257.

Shavitt,S., &amp Brock, T. C. (1990). Delayed recall of copytest responses:The temporal stability of listed thoughts.&nbspJournalof Advertising,&nbsp19(4),6-17.

Schaffer,H. R. (1988). Child Psychology: the future. In S. Chess &amp A.Thomas (eds),&nbspAnnualProgress in Child Psychiatry and Child Development.NY: Brunner/Mazel.