PSY 360 Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper

Topics: Psychology, Philosophy, Mind Pages: 6 (987 words) Published: July 8, 2015


Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper

PSY/360
May 20, 2015
Melissa Jackson
Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper
A sub-field of psychology is cognitive psychology. Cognitive psychology investigates the cognitive abilities of people with damaged or otherwise unusual brain structures (Cherry). Cognitive psychology has rapidly grown into one of the most studied fields in psychology. Up until the 1950’s behaviorism was the school of thought in regards to psychology. The tides of change came between the 1950’s and 1970’s when the focus would change from behaviorism to attention, memory, and problem solving. This period is known as the cognitive revolution (Cherry). Cognitive psychology has the main purpose of evaluating clients for various mental disorders, and diseases. However, an importance need to be placed on the relationship between behavioral observations in regards to cognitive psychology and the key milestones in the development of cognitive psychology as a discipline.

Key Milestones
Cognitive psychology can be traced back to the times of the Greek philosophers Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates. Aristotle had the belief that one’s reality only lies in that of a concrete world of objects that the human body can sense. With Aristotle believing that any knowledge could be acquired through observations or experiences. Plato is known for his principles of rationalism where one’s reality should be viewed. In other words, reality exists not on the focus of concrete objects that humans perceive but in the conceptual forms that the objects symbolize. Furthermore, Plato had the belief that logical analysis was the path one needed to take to gain knowledge. Whereas, Socrates is known as being the founding of western philosophy as well as the best known person who questioned everything and everyone. The Greek philosophers put down a foundation on how the human mind receives, perceives, and process information. After the foundation was put into place others would jump on board and started to place their focus on how the human mind receives, perceives, and process information. According to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was a central figure in modern philosophy (“Immanuel Kant”, 2010). Furthermore, it was the conclusion of Immanuel Kant that the mental process of a person will take place in time, but will not occupy any space and therefore the ability to measure does not exist. Therefore, because the ability to measure did not exist a scientific methodology could not be applied to mental processes. Therefore, Immanuel Kant was able to persuade many people who concluded that there was no point in the use of scientific methods to understand the mental processes. (Willingham, 2007, p. 11). Immanuel Kant was very persuasive but there was still those who countered his position with their own empiricist position, Berkeley, Hume, Locke, and Mill all followed the teachings of Aristotle. Whereas, Descartes and Kant were in alignment with Plato in a nativist position (Galotti, 2014). George Berkeley was one of the first great philosophers of what is known as the early modern period. In addition, he was very much a critic of his predecessors, specifically Descartes, Malebranche, and Locke. Berkeley was a skilled metaphysician and was famous for defending idealism (“George Berkeley”, 2011). David Hume was regarded as the most important philosopher to put pen to paper in English. Charles Darwin regarded David Hume’s work as a central influence on the theory of evolution. Philosophers have recognized him as complete exponent of philosophical naturalism, which is the precursor of contemporary cognitive science, and what inspired a large number of the most significant types of ethical theories that were developed in contemporary moral philosophy (“David Hume”, 2014).

Importance of behavioral observations
Because humans do not have the ability to observe cognitive processes they are forced to...
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