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Historical development and trends in cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is mostly defined as the scientific study of mental and mind function and this includes consciousness, attention, learning, decision making, reasoning, memory, conceptual development, perception and language. The contemporary scientific study of cognitive psychology is basically based on the assumption that the brain can be comprehended as an intricate computing system. Psychologists in cognitive psychology attempt to develop information processing cognitive models based on the minds of people (Dodig-Crnkovic, 2012).
Historical development and trends
Behavioral psychology before the 1950s, dominated the psychology field with several theories highlighting popular experiments and famous psychologists in behavioral psychology in the behavioral revolution. Behavioral psychology ultimately made the field of psychology very respectable and this was due to the fact that it examined objective behavior interpreted as appropriate scientific data while on the other hand cognitive psychology is considered to be subjective. The historical development of cognitive psychology particularly occurred during the 1950s and 1960s when psychoanalysis and behaviorism were replaced by cognitive psychology as the key approach in the field of psychology. Cognitive psychology revolution was definitely a counter revolution for behavioral psychology with the initial revolution taking place when several experimental psychologists who were mostly impacted Pavlov among others suggested to review the field of psychology as behavioral science. The historical development was mostly championed by several scholars like Noami Chomsky, Ulric Neisser, George Miller and Jerome Bruner among others. Psychologists increasingly focused their attention on observable behavior in relation to the brain structure and the brain activity. During the historical development of cognitive psychology a lot of attention was placed on memory and perception like the working memory size capacity (Qualls & Abeles, 2000).
Some of the trends that took place in the cognitive psychology field include the increasing importance of statistical models and these models have been ultimately applied in this field based on Bayesian probability theory and with this theory mental operations work statistically such as language processing and also vision. Another trend is the emphasis particularly on embodiment, with appropriate acknowledgement that the thinking aspect like emotions and images need modification and expansion. Appreciation of the social aspects of cognitive psychology, where this field shows ways in which the thinking of human beings is influenced by the connection that humans have with other humans especially in the culture that people share. Cognitive psychology revolutionized to become a dominant by the late 1970s and the concern by pioneers in mental processes was re-established by the works of Tolman and Piaget. However computer arrival gave definition to the terminology of cognitive psychology and enabled many psychologists to attempt to understand human cognition complexities. (“Journal of Cognitive Psychology Volume 27, 2015, List of reviewers”, 2015).
Major theoretical positions
Several theoretical positions have been established and they range across distinct cognition areas. Major concepts in the field of cognitive psychology have been used to analyze it. The modern cognitive psychology principle entails that it involves information storing and processing which is gained through transformation of mental representations that are structured. Laboratory experiments have been basically used by some cognitive psychologists to study human behavior and this is due to the fact that this approach is scientific. The aspect of cognitive psychology also uses a nomothetic approach which enables the discovery of cognitive processes in human beings and this takes the theoretical position that all human behavior regardless of complexity can be diminished into a cognitive process that is simple like perception or memory (Shanon, 1991).
Key contributors of cognitive psychology
Several cognitive psychologists have majorly contributed to this field. Language acquisition has certainly been a source of debate between cognitive psychologists and behaviorist as behaviorists have the belief that all language capabilities for humans were mastered through the environment and that human beings were born with no capability of language acquisition. While other psychologists were focused on redefining psychology, other significant milestones were taking place elsewhere. To simulate cognitive processes, Herb Simon and Alan Newell were using computers, Cybernetics by Norbert Wiener was attaining popularity and on the other hand Naom Chomsky made an effort to redefine linguistics. Naom Chomsky, one of the theorists asserted that human beings have the natural language capability in their brains and that this capacity was learned as well as inborn. In 1967, the term cognitive psychology became widely spread and the invention of computers and machines for used for brain imaging enabled the cognitive psychology field to rapidly grow and this was because of expansion in the research capabilities (Matlin, 2014).
George Miller, was another pioneer of cognitive psychology, he basically applied to human beings the working memory concept and the information processing concept of computer science. Miller performed a popular experiment which gathered that human beings had the ability to averagely remember at a time, seven times minus or plus two. George Miller published a revolutionary article and the findings of this experiment had key implications with regards to how human beings learned (Sternberg, Sternberg, & Mio, 2017).
Wolfgang Kohler contributed uniquely in this field. Kohler established the branch of Gestalt psychology which is concerned with the human behavior science and structuralism concept and this theory puts emphasis on dealing the perceptions of human beings.
Edward Titchener is credited for contributing to the cognitive psychology field with regards to introspection and structuralism concepts which purposes to define the mind of the human into distinct categories and also analyzing the learning needs, desires, opinions and objectives of humans respectively. He focuses primarily on how the conscious mind functions (Garavaso, 2001).
Edward Tolman majorly contributed to this field through the latent learning and cognitive mapping concepts which enabled several psychologists to understand how the human brain works. These concepts provided an avenue particularly for enhancing learning and these theories assert that the effectives of undertaking newly acquired behavior will escalate if the action learned is promptly awarded with a supporting agent.
David Rumelhart uniquely contributed to the cognitive psychology field through the computational mind theory and he further examined the subtle difference of the human mind. Rumelhart also established the comprehension and flexibility capacity with regards to human intelligence (Padilla, 1989).
Wilhelm Wundt is also another famous contributor in the field of cognitive psychology. He is popularly regarded as the father and premiere of psychology as he has been considered to separate the aspect of philosophy from the psychology aspect in order to ultimately understand the mind of the human being specifically as an individual entity. The voluntarism branch by Wundt is defined as the science of understanding and organizing the human mind. Many contemporary scientists acknowledge Wundt for the efforts made in understanding the complicatedness of the unconscious mind which demonstrates the outward behavior of a human being.
James Mill also contributed to this field of cognitive psychology he had the belief that the mind of the human being was a machine working the same as a clock. He asserts that the human mind should be studied through elementary component analysis and that ideas are only specific types of mental processes. Mill was concerned on the basic task of the connection between conscious associations and processes.
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Major events that influenced cognitive psychology field
A number of events influenced the cognitive psychology field. The commencement of the movement of cognitive psychology began in the 1950s, one behaviorist Guthrie, analyzed the mechanistic model and asserted that most psychologist defined stimuli in cognitive terms with regards to responding organism. The meaning of this concept is a cognitive process and therefore cannot be defined specifically in behaviorist terms. Tolman suggested cognitive plans with regards to animal behavior and persistent variables that define unobservable states that are internal. The cognitive movement with regards to structure, connections and organization and the role played by the memory and learning perception according to the Gestalt psychology (Pickren & Zimbardo, n.d.).
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