This paper will give an overview of the evolution of cognitive psychology. In this overview the term cognition will be defined as it relates to cognitive psychology and explain the interdisciplinary perspective. In providing an overview this paper will describe how cognitive psychology emerged as a discipline and address the manner in which the decline of behaviorism affected cognitive psychology.
In order to discuss cognitive psychology the term cognition must be defined (Gardner, 1987). A basic definition is that cognition is a term used by science to describe mental processes. These processes would include retention, attention, language, decision making and problem solving. The term is used and the concept is studied in various disciplines of science. Thus the definition is somewhat flexible depending on the discipline. In social psychology for example, the term cognition is used to describe group dynamics including attribution and attitudes. In cognitive psychology however the term generally refers to information processing. Cognitive psychology is a field of study that examines the internal mental processes. The cognitive psychologist seeks to understand how individuals solve problems, think, perceive, speak and remember (Gardner, 1987).
Cognitive psychology is a sub-discipline of psychology (Gardner, 1987). It differs from psychological disciplines in two distinct ways. First, in contrast to other psychological disciplines it does not agree with the notion that introspection is a valid investigation method. Rather cognitive psychology embraces the scientific method as the logical method of investigation. The second key way in which cognitive psychology differs is that as a discipline it acknowledges and embraces the existence of internal mental states. These internal mental states include but are not limited to desire, knowledge, idea, judgment, comprehension, motivation and belief (Gardner, 1987). Cognitive...
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