Antecedents of Cognitive Psychology

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Cognitive Psychology

Definition and Subject Matter

“Cognitive psychology is a modern approach to the study of [processes by which people come to understand the world- such processes as memory, learning, comprehending language, problem solving, and creativity. Cognitive psychology has been influenced by developments in language, computer science, and of course, earlier work in philosophy and psychology” – Hayes (cited by Lundin)

This definition of Hayes emphasizes the notion that cognitive psychology gives significance to the study of higher mental processes. According to Lichtenstein, among the appealing aspects of cognitive psychology is that it corresponds quite well to the common sense psychology of the layperson. If a student is asked to give definition to psychology without prior introductory course about the course, a statement of “psychology is the study of the mind” will be usually given. As what Neisser said, “Cognitive psychology refers to all the processes by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered and used.”

Antecedents of Cognitive Psychology

British Empiricism: Locke, Berkeley, and Hume

John Locke (1632-1704)

He proposed the theory of knowledge in which he suggested an explanation of how we came to know the world. In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, he attacked the notion of innate ideas, but rather claimed that all the ideas of human came from experience. He is convinced that human mind can execute two things and that are to receive experiences from the outside world (through sensation) and to reflect upon them (reflection). These two, sensation and reflection, are the fountain of knowledge, from where ideas do spring. His notion for reflection was his attempt to explain higher mental processes, such as thinking and reasoning. The source of all idea is sensation, yet these ideas gathered through sensation can be acted on and rearranged by the operations of the mind, they...
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