Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology that studies mental processes including how people think, perceive, remember, and learn (Cherry, n.d.). This is a fairly new branch of psychology; however it has started to become one of the more popular subfields. In 1879 Wilhelm Wundt converted a laboratory into the first institute for research in experimental psychology (Galotti, 2014). Some of the practical applications for cognitive psychology are memory, language acquisition, and attention, forgetting, and learning styles. Key Milestones in the Development of Cognitive Psychology
One of the first concepts of psychology was Structuralism. It broke down mental processes, so that the components could be studied and diagnosed. Wilhelm Wundt was credited with being one of the first psychologists. A research method that he used was introspection. Introspection consisted of presenting highly trained observes (usually graduate students) with various stimuli and asking them to describe their conscious experiences ( Galotti, 2014).
One key milestone is behaviorism. The term behaviorism refers to the school of psychology founded by John B. Watson based on the belief that behaviors can be measured, trained, and changed (Cherry, n.d.). Unlike cognitive psychology, behaviorism was not able to explain different human processes or explain why people function the way they do. One of the general doctrines of behaviorism is that references to unobservable, subjective mental states (such as consciousness), as well as to unobservable, subjective processes (such as expecting, believing, understanding, remembering, hoping for, deciding, and perceiving), are to be banished from psychology proper, which behaviorists took to be the scientific study of behavior (Galotti, 2014). Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, which includes the brain and the spinal cord. The debate in the neuroscience community was that different parts of the brain control different functions, for example the ability to see or talk (Galotti, 2014). Through research neuroscientist were able to prove that different parts of the brain do conrtol different functions. Each year, the map of the brain's structural and functional anatomy becomes more and more detailed, and our understanding of brain development, processing, and defects develop accordingly (Carmicheal, 2013). The research of neuroscientists enables the understanding of states of consciousness, sensory experiences, emotion, motivation, development through life spans, and psychological, and physical health. Gestalt Psychology
Gestalt psychologists, who studied mainly perception and problem solving, believed an observer did not construct a coherent perception from simple, elementary sensory aspects of an experience but instead apprehended the total structure of an experience as a whole (Galotti, 2014). Gestalt theory emphasizes that the whole of anything is greater than its parts. In 1912 Wertheimer discovered the phi phenomenon, an optical illusion in which stationary objects shown in rapid succession, transcending the threshold at which they can be perceived separately, appear to move (Gestalt psychology, 2014). An example of this would be a neon sign that appears to be moving because the bulbs are lighting up at different times. Importance of Behavioral Observation in Cognitive Psychology One of the key components to cognitive psychology is behavioral observation. Behavioral observation is important to cognitive psychology because it is a focus of the feedback from a person’s environment. Cognitive psychologist use behavioral observations as a way to test and evaluate theories about behavior. Psychologists are not able to observe what is going on mentally in a direct fashion, so they have to observe the process...
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