August 10, 2015
Cognitive Psychology Definition
Cognitive psychology was introduced when there were flaws found in the areas of behaviorism (Galotti, 2014). The field of behaviorism began moving their concerns towards observable behaviors instead of focusing on the mind (Galotti, 2014). Since this was occurring cognitive psychology was born. This aspect of psychology began emphasizing on how the mind thinks and functions (Galotti, 2014). For instance, cognitive psychology encompasses areas of learning, memory, attention, perception, reasoning, language, conceptual development, and decision making (Galotti, 2014). It is defined as the scientific study of mental processing (Galotti, 2014). Cognitive psychology concentrates on how an individual stores, processes, acquires, and interprets the world around them. And it also tries to classify certain behaviors that are presented through different characteristics (Willingham, 2007). Once this area of psychology was introduced it brought back the importance of studying the mind. In the next following sections they will cover the key milestones in the development of cognitive psychology and the importance of behavioral observation in this field.
Key milestones in the development of cognitive psychology There were four key milestones that had a hand in developing cognitive psychology. The milestones were: neuroscience, information processing model, artificial intelligence, and the criticism of behaviorism (Carley, 2012). The criticism that behaviorism received was a key milestone for the development of cognitive psychology because behaviorism could not explain the reasoning behind the different thinking processes that occurred (Galotti, 2014). Behaviorist were mainly focused on the behaviors that were observable and most of their experiments were conducted on animals not humans (Carley, 2012). This caused a problem because they could not answer the explanations behind reasoning and thinking (Carley, 2012). And they had total disregard for the importance of biological factors like genetics (Willingham, 2007). Plus, behaviorist could not fully explain ones intrinsic drives and mental processes (Willingham, 2007). Furthermore, behaviorism had a hard time explaining the abilities of human language (Galotti, 2014). Despite the effort from behaviorism, cognitive psychology was able to answer these questions that behaviorism couldn’t (Galotti, 2014). The second milestone that had an impact on the revolution of cognitive psychology was neuroscience. The world of neuroscience knew there was some type of connection that cognitive psychology had with them. “Scholars from fields such as cognitive psychology, computer science, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, and anthropology, recognizing their mutual interests, came together to found an interdisciplinary field known as cognitive science” (Galotti, 2014, p. 11). Neuroscience was able to help cognitive psychologist by offering them ways to use their techniques of localization in identifying the function of certain brain areas (Willingham, 2007). The field of neuroscience offered a definitive link of establishing the connection between that brains structures and functions (Willingham, 2007). It gave the cognitive world the ability to examine how the brain and nervous system effects one’s behavior. Plus, the research that neuroscientist conducted enabled the understanding of physical health, emotions, sensory experiences, consciousness, motivation, and stages of development (Willingham, 2007). The last two milestones, information processing model and artificial intelligence, offered even more growth for the field of cognitive psychology. Information processing model is used by cognitive psychologist as a way to describe and explain the mental process (Willingham, 2007). Cognitive psychologist compared the human mind to the