University of Phoenix
April 16, 2012
The cognitive approach to human and comparative psychology rests on two main assumptions, the first one is cognitive representations and processes that act on those representations and secondly humans can discover these representations and processes, albeit indirectly (Willingham, 2007). This approach offers a middle ground between B.F. Skinner’s cut-and-dry input—output relations and C.L. Hull’s hypothetical constructs and intervening variables. In the first case, there is no room for intermediary cognitive processes between stimulus and response, outside the realm of simple associative learning. In the second case, there is lacking an explicit scientific means by which to observe objectively the theoretical cognitive mechanisms in question. However, E. C. Tolman was the first psychologists to suggest the induction of the intermediary cognitive processes through the results of scientifically rigorous experimentation (Zentall, 2002). It is on this very basic proposition that theoretical cognitive processes is inferred by observing behavior, which most informs the developmental milestones in the formation of the cognitive perspective as a branch of psychology. The development of the cognitive approach as a mainstream psychological perspective has four major milestones and these are the shortfalls of the behaviorist perspective of psychology, secondly, the ability for abstract constructs to account for the aforementioned shortfalls, thirdly the bridging of abstract constructs with observable mechanisms through the medium of artificial intelligence and neuroscience and fourth, the realization that the representations and processes of cognition is similar to the internal functioning of a computer. The behaviorism of the early 20th century could not account for many observable behaviors documented...