Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper Psy 360 6/ 27/11 INTRODUCTION What is cognitive psychology? Cognitive psychology (2011), according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is defined as,??”a branch of psychology concerned with mental processes (as perception, thinking, learning, and memory) especially with respect to the internal events occurring between sensory stimulation and the overt expression of behavior”. Cognition is controlled by the part of the brain that is called the cerebrum.
The cerebrum makes up 85% of our brain weight, and is responsible for the way we perceive, think, learn, and memorize things. It is the most important part of the body, because it allows us to function in our everyday routine. In the past ten years we have learned more about cognition and the brain. Cognitive psychology has had many milestones thanks to the evolution of science. DEVELOPMENT OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY The study of cognitive approach in the field of psychology had been around for years, but it wasn’t until the 1970’s when it made an impact in the laboratory.
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Although there were many different theories that had been developed about personality as well as information- processing, intelligence tests, and many cognitive therapies, cognitive psychology emerged as a reaction to behaviorism. Behaviorist insisted that only stimuli and response were responsible for the way people behaved; cognitive psychology changed that with the study of superior mental processes, which proved that there was more happening in the brain that controlled how people behaved than just a stimuli and response. E. C.
Tolman was one of the psychologists that contributed to cognitive psychology. While conducting experiments with rats to study learning, Tolman observed how reinforcement played a role in the way the rats were learning. This led him to his theory of cognitive maps. His study proved that latent learning (learning that does not consist of an obvious reward) could occur in rats. In his study rats left alone in a maze, even when not rewarded for their behavior, formed “cognitive maps” (mental pictures of the maze) which in return allowed them to run the maze accurately and fast when later reinforced with food.
He argued that people also use that type of learning on a daily basis. Jean Piaget was another psychologist who contributed to cognitive psychology, with many theories on the cognitive development of children. Along with his key concepts (schemas, assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration) Piaget’s stages of cognitive development made a big impact on not only the field of psychology but also to the field of education.
Another contributor to the field of psychology was Howard Gardner with his theory of multiple intelligences. In which he argues that there are 8 intelligences and that people do not only have one intellectual ability but many different intelligences. Although many educators have criticized his theory for being to broad, many others have tried to integrate this theory into their classroom. Another great contribution to psychology was the cognitive dissonance theory that was created by Leon Festinger.
Cognitive dissonance is the mental state when a belief contradicts another belief a person may have. In his theory Festinger states that humans naturally avoid dissonance to stay consistent with their selves. OBSERVABLE BEHAVIOR IN COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY Because cognitive psychology emerged as a response to behaviorism, behaviorist claimed that psychologist should not describe mental processes in their theories because you can’t visibly observe mental events.
But cognitive psychologist debated conducting experiments on the mind does allow scientist to create theories which are more reliable and that predict outcomes. Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner described it as the following ” an all-out effort to establish meaning as the central concept of psychology […]. It was not a revolution against behaviorism with the aim of transforming behaviorism into a better way of pursuing psychology by adding a little mentalism to it. …] Its aim was to discover and to describe formally the meanings that human beings created out of their encounters with the world, and then to propose hypotheses about what meaning-making processes were implicated” (Bruner, 2011, Response to behaviorism,??para. 3) CONCLUSION In conclusion, while psychology is trying to make the transition from a behavior only approach to a cognition and behavior approach there have been many contributions to the study of cognition and development of the brain and mind.