Evolution of Cognitive Psychology Cognitive psychology is defined as “the scientific study of mental processes” (Riegler & Riegler 2008, p. 1). During the 1960s, cognitive psychology became an emerging presence in the field of psychology. During this time period, attention to the study of “how internal states, such as thoughts, feelings, and moods influence behavior” (Cherry 2010, p. 12). Cognitive psychology studies how individuals think, comprehend language, and form beliefs. Human development involves cognitive development.
Researchers attempted to study thought through introspection. However, introspection was not impartial because individuals are far too complex and do not share similar thoughts and ideas. Throughout this analysis the author explains the interdisciplinary perspective in relation to cognitive psychology, the emergence of cognitive psychology as a discipline, and the impact of the decline of behaviorism on the discipline of cognitive psychology. Interdisciplinary Perspective Many sub disciplines contain cognition that is based on the root of psychology.
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According to Riegler & Riegler (2008) cognitive psychology is the center focus “within the interdisciplinary field study termed cognitive science” (p. 5). Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary perspective utilized to understand the mind. There are several disciplines involved in this concept. The disciplines consist of philosophy, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, linguistics, and anthropology. Riegler & Riegler (2008) indicate that all of these disciplines involve the mind in an effort to form understanding.
The basis for cognitive psychology is much derived from experimental psychology. Both fields share similar factors: linguistics, memory, reasoning, attention, and thinking (Bruno, 2002). Recent research has accentuated the significance of vigorous characteristics of visual processing. The development of brain imaging was established to focus on how the nervous system alters and embodies visual inputs (Cherry, 2010). Due to adulthood and aging the study of cognitive psychology has never been more necessary. The rate of cognitive processing concurs with aging.
Aging adults concern themselves with degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Cognitive psychologists aim to study mental functioning within the aging process. Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, medications have been utilized to slow down the disease. Neuropsychology (also a sub discipline) has conducted studies on the factors that contribute to the decline in cognitive processing. Emergence of Cognitive Psychology The emergence of cognitive psychology became prominently known during the 1960s. Technology emerged which became a correlation to cognitive psychology.
Scientists were able to study the human mind “in depth and to create cognitive models; tools for understanding how the brain processes information” (Thomas-Cottingham 2004, p. 50). Researchers have built models that were created to clarify the internal functioning of the brain. A popular theory in cognitive psychology was the information-processing model. This model emphasized that thought compromised multiple parts of the brain. This model compared the human mind to the functioning of a computer. A study conducted in 1968 by R. C. Atkinson and R. M.
Shiffrin based their work on the information-processing model (Thomas-Cottingham, 2004). By utilizing this model, Atkinson and Shiffrin projected the three stages of memory. Technology influenced cognitive psychology greatly. According to Riegler & Riegler (2008) “an effective communications system will transmit information with as much fidelity as possible, minimizing distortion and the effects of outside interference” (p. 21). Human beings process information in a similar way. The creation of the computer was a great advantage in the field as well.
Scientists found that the human mind and a computer shared many features in input, information processing, and organization. Another reason in the emergence in cognitive psychology was the S-R approach. The S-R approach of learning language was devised by B. F. Skinner; which was a behaviorist approach. Skinner argued “that even complex ability like language could be captured in purely S-R terms” (Riegler & Riegler 2008, p. 20). Noam Chomsky criticized Skinner’s analysis regarding the S-R approach claiming it to appear to be scientific.
Chomsky felt that language was grasped in the mind, thus, popularized cognitive psychology. Overall, behaviorism was unreliable in the explanation of language. Impact of the Decline of Behaviorism on Cognitive Psychology The decline of behaviorism enabled the presence of cognitive psychology. Critics of behaviorism believed that the failure was to address factors such as free will, internal thoughts, and other methods of learning (Cherry, 2010). Behaviorists introduced the emphasis on scientific method, therefore, opening the door to cognitive psychology.
According to Riegler & Riegler (2008) “the failure of the S-R approach, coupled with the promise and excitement generated by new theoretical approaches and new technologies, fueled what some have termed the cognitive revolution” (p. 23). Arguments from Karl Lashley and Noam Chomsky hit behaviorism hard. Cognitive psychology also enforced studies regarding the cognitive map, learning without reinforcement, and learning without responding (Riegler & Riegler, 2008). There are many beliefs as to why behaviorism fell from grace so to speak.
Cognitive psychologists believed that the decline in behaviorism was due to not excepting a scientific approach of the mind. Overall, when cognitive psychology emerged, it introduced new perspectives and plausible explanations to how the human brain thinks. Behaviorism still exists within modern society, however, not as prominent as it once was. Behaviorism is involved “theorizing in current cognitive psychology” (Riegler & Riegler 2008, p. 24). Conclusion In conclusion, cognitive psychology has been a tremendous presence in the modern world.
Theories, models, and research have been developed and utilized for the scientific study of the mind. Cognitive psychology has come a long way over the past fifty years. The sub disciplines of cognitive psychology have expanded and established many benefits. Most psychologists refer to themselves as cognitive due to the prevailing force of the approach of cognitive psychology. Scientists such as Chomsky, Lashley, Newell, and Simon are just a few of the contributors of cognitive psychology. Their research laid the foundation for technological advances and additional sub disciplines.
It is evident that cognitive psychology will continue to be a strong presence among the world. References Bruno, F. J. (2002). Psychology: A self teaching guide. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons, Inc. Cherry, K. (2010). The everything psychology book: an introductory guide to the science of human behavior (2nd ed. ). Avon, MA: Adams Media. Robinson-Reigler, G. and Robinson-Reigler, B. (2008). Cognitive psychology: Applying the science to the mind. (2nd ed). Boston, MA. Pearson/Allyson and Bacon. Thomas-Cottingham, A. (2004). Psychology made simple. New York, NY: Broadway Books.