June 25, 2012
This paper will define cognitive psychology and identify at least four key milestones in the development of cognitive psychology as a discipline. It will also clarify the importance of behavioral observation as it relates to cognitive psychology. Behaviorism
The development of behaviorism in one of the four key milestones that led to the development of cognitive psychology because it aided in finding the gap created when looking at human behavior. In the 1905s, “behaviorism was perceived by psychologists as proposing that the experiences of an animal during its lifetime completely determined its behavior-in other words, that the animal’s genetic inheritance counted for nothing and that what the animal did was a function of what it had been rewarded and punished for doing” (Willimgham, 2007, p. 22). “The first problem with behaviorism, then, was that it could not account for some elements of animal behavior. The second problem was that people became uneasy about whether behaviorism could account for human behavior in all cases” (Willimgham, 2007, p. 24). According to Willimgham (2007), Behaviorists could not account for stereotyped and complex behaviors that require more practice and reward, such as mating rituals and migration patterns demonstrated by many birds. Another aspect that behaviorism failed to account for, is what ethologists called the critical period, “a window of time during which an organism is primed to learn some particular information” (Willimgham, 2007, p. 23). For example, chicks have a critical period after birth when they assume the first large object they see is there mother. In essence, the nervous system is ‘primed’ to learn certain things, but behaviorism could not explain this behavior. Abstract Constructs
Abstract concepts, “a theoretical set of processes and representations that are useful in explaining some data”...