c0gnitive psychology Essay

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Cognitive Psychology Definition
Cognitive Psychology Definition
Cognitive psychology studies a person’s mental processes such as “how people think, perceive, remember, and learn” (Cherry, n.d., para. 2). This branch of study also deals with one’s mental state such as when an individual categorizes, reasons, and how they decide, it helps to understand behaviors and emotions.
Four key milestones that led to the development of cognitive psychology are structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism, and Gestalt psychology. Behavioral observation is important in the study of cognition as it is used to record behavior and emotions.
Founded by Wilhelm Wundt in 1879, he “wanted to establish a “science of mind” to discover laws and principles that explained our immediate conscious experience” (Galotti, 2014, p. 3). Wundt did research by using a technique called introspection. In this technique, an observer would describe his or her conscious thoughts when given different types of stimuli. He was also "the first to approach cognitive questions scientifically" and "design experiments to test cognitive theories” (p. 4). He also conducted experiments to what we now call sensation and perception (Moore, 2011).
The name structuralism was first used by Edward B. Titchener in 1892, who was more concerned with mental elements and connected through association. He believed "the elements of mental life were our sensations, images, and feelings" (Moore, 2011, p. 450).
William James was also interested in conscious experiences as was Wundt but not in the elementary units. He wanted to know how the mind worked and why, James was also interested in mystical events such as telepathy. Although he did not do a lot of research, he wrote eloquently and with his opposition to Wundt’s ideas he offered a new way of looking at the mind. John Dewey and Edward L. Thorndike, also “shared James’s conviction that the most important thing the mind did was to let the individual adapt to her or his environment” (Galotti, 2014, p. 5). One of the books James wrote The Principles of Psychology, is still used today and discusses “instinct, habit, association, disassociation, imagination, memory, conception, reasoning, the emotions and will” (Thorndike, 1910, p.473).
Psychologist of functionalism “study mental phenomena in real-life situations” and their belief is “that psychologists should study whole organisms doing whole, real-life tasks” (Galotti, 2014, p. 5).
This branch of psychology began in the “1930’s and dominated academic psychology until well into the 1960’s” (Galotti, 2014, p. 5). Founded by John B. Watson “on the belief that behaviors can be measured, trained, and changed” (Cherry, n.d., para. 3).
They believe "all behaviors are acquired through conditioning” which “occurs through interaction with the environment” (Cherry, n.d., para. 3).
Watson believed "behavior was a subject matter in its own right, to be studied by the observational methods common to all sciences" (Moore, 2011, p. 449). He also encouraged "psychologists to think in terms of measures and research methods that moved beyond subjective introspection" (Galotti, 2014, p. 6).
B.F. Skinner approached behavior differently as he believed in the study of verbal behavior (Moore, 2011). Skinner believed in images and thoughts, and being good objects of study, but disagreed that mental events were different from behavioral events (Galotti, 214).
Gestalt Psychology
Gestalt "emphasizes that the whole of anything is greater than its parts" (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2014, para. 1). It began in 1911 from a meeting of three psychologist's Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka, and Wolfgang Kӧhler. Perception and problem-solving are the main topics of study (Galotti, 2014).
The study of Gestalt led to attention of visual perception to problem solving and cognition, “they chose to study people’s subjective