University of Phoenix
July 111, 2011
Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper
Cognition is the “science” term for "the process of thought.” Its usage varies in different ways in accordance with different disciplines: For example, in psychology and cognitive science, it refers to an information processing view of an individual's psychological makeup. It addresses the questions of how psychological/cognitive functions are produced by the neural circuitry. Cognitive psychology is the bases for most learning theories today, so it has made its mark to never be erased. This work would emphasize its impact and show its relevance, so consider the literature under review. Cognitive Psychology Defined
Cognitive psychology is “the scientific investigation of human cognition, that is, all our mental abilities – perceiving, learning, remembering, thinking, reasoning, and understanding” (New World Encyclopedia, 2008, para. 3). Cognitive psychology studies how one applies and acquires information and knowledge. It is a close relative of cognitive science and influenced by philosophy, computer science, artificial intelligence, anthropology, biology, linguistics, neuroscience, and physics (New World Encyclopedia, 2008). Cognitive Psychology has three main approaches: Computational Cognitive Psychology that develops computational models and formal mathematics of human cognition based upon dynamical systems and symbolic representation; Neural Cognitive Psychology, which uses neurobiological methods (e.g., lesion patients) and brain imaging (e.g., MEG, PET, Optical Imaging, fMRI, SPECT, EEG) to have a better understanding of the human neural basis of cognition; and Experimental Cognitive Psychology, which applies methods of experimentation in order to investigate human cognition, which places cognitive psychology into the natural sciences (Hothersall,2005). As was indicated before, cognitive psychology analyzes the way people perceive, think, learn and remember. Making a move from the behaviorist views of focusing on the external, cognitive psychologists’ primarily focused on the internal mental state of an individual (Nagowah, 2009). Primary questions asked in cognitive psychology revolve around how to improve memory and increase problem solving. Cognitive psychology suggests that mental processes can be identified and understood by breaking down the components involved through scientific method. The field runs on a model of information processing, which likens the brain to a computer with inputs and outputs. The comparison to a computer is a strength, and a weakness, for cognitive psychology in as much that the computer is a complex machine with various sequences affected by inputs and outputs; however, the computer is not a living organism. Donald Olding Hebb contributed to strengthening the tie between the brain and the computer with the consolidation theory. His consolidation theory was much like connectionism, merely translated to neurological functioning (Nagowah, 2009). Unfortunately for cognitive psychology, the connection to the computer accounts for the process but not truly why understanding and creativity occur. Four Milestones in Development
Human cognition can be traced back to Aristotle, but the intellectual aspects began with psychological problems that could be solved by the cognitive approaches of William James, Cattell, and Wundt in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Cognitive psychology started to decline when behaviorism founded by Watson and Skinner became popular. Behaviorism lacked an understanding of “internal mental processes”, which led to its lack of dominance in the branch of scientific psychology and ushered in the “Cognitive Revolution.” The Cognitive Revolution started in the 1950s when researchers in various scientific fields began to develop theories of concerning the...