1 History 2 Mental processes
2.1 Attention 2.2 Memory
2.2.1 Working memory 2.2.2 Long-term memory
2.3 Perception 2.4 Language 2.5 Metacognition
3 Modern 4 Applications
4.1 Abnormal psychology 4.2 Social psychology 4.3 Developmental psychology 4.4 Educational psychology 4.5 Personality psychology
Philosophically, ruminations of the human mind and its processes have
been around since the times of the ancient Greeks. In 387 BCE, Plato
is known to have suggested that the brain was the seat of the mental
processes. In 1637,
With the development of new warfare technology during WWII, the need
for a greater understanding of human performance came to prominence.
Problems such as how to best train soldiers to use new technology and
how to deal with matters of attention while under duress became areas
of need for military personnel.
Behaviorism provided little if any
insight into these matters and it was the work of Donald Broadbent,
integrating concepts from human performance research and the recently
developed information theory, that forged the way in this area.
Developments in computer science would lead to parallels being drawn
between human thought and the computational functionality of
computers, opening entirely new areas of psychological thought. Allen
Newell and Herbert Simon spent years developing the concept of
artificial intelligence (AI) and later worked with cognitive
psychologists regarding the implications of AI. This encouraged a
conceptualization of mental functions patterned on the way that
computers handled such things as memory storage and retrieval, and
it opened an important doorway for cognitivism.
Noam Chomsky's 1959 critique of behaviorism, and empiricism more
generally, initiated what would come to be known as the "cognitive
revolution". Inside psychology, in criticism of behaviorism, J. S.
Bruner, J. J. Goodnow & G. A. Austin wrote "a study of thinking"
in 1956. In 1960, G. A. Miller, E. Galanter and K. Pribram wrote their
famous "Plans and the Structure of Behavior". The same year, Bruner
and Miller founded the Harvard Center for Cognitive Studies, which
institutionalized the revolution and launched the field of cognitive
Formal recognition of the field involved the establishment of research
institutions such as George Mandler's Center for Human Information
Processing in 1964. Mandler described the origins of cognitive
psychology in a 2002 article in the Journal of the
Ulric Neisser put the term "cognitive psychology" into common use through his book Cognitive Psychology, published in 1967. Neisser's definition of "cognition" illustrates the then-progressive concept of cognitive processes:
The term "cognition" refers to all processes by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used. It is concerned with these processes even when they operate in the absence of relevant stimulation, as in images and hallucinations. ... Given such a sweeping definition, it is apparent that cognition is involved in everything a human being might possibly do; that every psychological phenomenon is a cognitive phenomenon. But although cognitive psychology is concerned with all human activity rather than some fraction of it, the concern is from a particular point of view. Other viewpoints are equally legitimate and necessary. Dynamic psychology, which begins with motives rather than with sensory input, is a case in point. Instead of asking how a man's actions and experiences result from what he saw, remembered, or believed, the dynamic psychologist asks how they follow from the subject's goals, needs, or instincts.
See also: Cognitive control
The main focus of cognitive psychologists is on the mental processes
that affect behavior. Those processes include, but are not limited to,
Main article: Attention
The psychological definition of attention is "a state of focused
awareness on a subset of the available perceptual information". A
key function of attention is to identify irrelevant data and filter it
out, enabling significant data to be distributed to the other mental
processes. For example, the human brain may simultaneously receive
auditory, visual, olfactory, taste, and tactile information. The brain
is able to handle only a small subset of this information, and this is
accomplished through the attentional processes.
The Baddeley & Hitch Model of Working Memory
Many models of working memory have been made. One of the most regarded is the Baddeley and Hitch model of working memory. It takes into account both visual and auditory stimuli, long-term memory to use as a reference, and a central processor to combine and understand it all. A large part of memory is forgetting, and there is a large debate among psychologists of decay theory versus interference theory. Long-term memory Modern conceptions of memory are usually about long-term memory and break it down into three main sub-classes. These three classes are somewhat hierarchical in nature, in terms of the level of conscious thought related to their use.
Broca's and Wernicke's areas of the brain, which are critical in language
Significant work has been done recently with regard to understanding the timing of language acquisition and how it can be used to determine if a child has, or is at risk of, developing a learning disability. A study from 2012, showed that while this can be an effective strategy, it is important that those making evaluations include all relevant information when making their assessments. Factors such as individual variability, socioeconomic status, short-term and long-term memory capacity, and others must be included in order to make valid assessments. Metacognition Metacognition, in a broad sense, is the thoughts that a person has about their own thoughts. More specifically, metacognition includes things like:
How effective a person is at monitoring their own performance on a given task (self-regulation). A person's understanding of their capabilities on particular mental tasks. The ability to apply cognitive strategies.
Much of the current study regarding metacognition within the field of cognitive psychology deals with its application within the area of education. Being able to increase a student's metacognitive abilities has been shown to have a significant impact on their learning and study habits. One key aspect of this concept is the improvement of students' ability to set goals and self-regulate effectively to meet those goals. As a part of this process, it is also important to ensure that students are realistically evaluating their personal degree of knowledge and setting realistic goals (another metacognitive task). Common phenomena related to metacognition include:
Déjà Vu: feeling of a repeated experience Cryptomnesia: generating thought believing it is unique but it is actually a memory of a past experience, aka unconscious plagiarism. False Fame Effect: non-famous names can be made to be famous Validity effect: statements seem more valid upon repeated exposure Imagination inflation: imagining an event that did not occur and having increased confidence that it did occur
Modern Modern perspectives on cognitive psychology generally address cognition as a dual process theory, expounded upon by Daniel Kahneman in 2011. Kahneman differentiated the two styles of processing more, calling them intuition and reasoning. Intuition (or system 1), similar to associative reasoning, was determined to be fast and automatic, usually with strong emotional bonds included in the reasoning process. Kahneman said that this kind of reasoning was based on formed habits and very difficult to change or manipulate. Reasoning (or system 2) was slower and much more volatile, being subject to conscious judgments and attitudes. Applications Abnormal psychology Following the cognitive revolution, and as a result of many of the principle discoveries to come out of the field of cognitive psychology, the discipline of cognitive therapy evolved. Aaron T. Beck is generally regarded as the father of cognitive therapy. His work in the areas of recognition and treatment of depression has gained worldwide recognition. In his 1987 book titled Cognitive Therapy of Depression, Beck puts forth three salient points with regard to his reasoning for the treatment of depression by means of therapy or therapy and antidepressants versus using a pharmacological-only approach:
1. Despite the prevalent use of antidepressants, the fact remains that not all patients respond to them. Beck cites (in 1987) that only 60 to 65% of patients respond to antidepressants, and recent meta-analyses (a statistical breakdown of multiple studies) show very similar numbers. 2. Many of those who do respond to antidepressants end up not taking their medications, for various reasons. They may develop side-effects or have some form of personal objection to taking the drugs. 3. Beck posits that the use of psychotropic drugs may lead to an eventual breakdown in the individual's coping mechanisms. His theory is that the person essentially becomes reliant on the medication as a means of improving mood and fails to practice those coping techniques typically practiced by healthy individuals to alleviate the effects of depressive symptoms. By failing to do so, once the patient is weaned off of the antidepressants, they often are unable to cope with normal levels of depressed mood and feel driven to reinstate use of the antidepressants.
Social psychology Many facets of modern social psychology have roots in research done within the field of cognitive psychology. Social cognition is a specific sub-set of social psychology that concentrates on processes that have been of particular focus within cognitive psychology, specifically applied to human interactions. Gordon B. Moskowitz defines social cognition as "... the study of the mental processes involved in perceiving, attending to, remembering, thinking about, and making sense of the people in our social world". The development of multiple social information processing models (SIP) has been influential in studies involving aggressive and anti-social behavior. Kenneth Dodge's SIP model is one of, if not the most, empirically supported models relating to aggression. Among his research, Dodge posits that children who possess a greater ability to process social information more often display higher levels of socially acceptable behavior. His model asserts that there are five steps that an individual proceeds through when evaluating interactions with other individuals and that how the person interprets cues is key to their reactionary process. Developmental psychology Many of the prominent names in the field of developmental psychology base their understanding of development on cognitive models. One of the major paradigms of developmental psychology, the Theory of Mind (ToM), deals specifically with the ability of an individual to effectively understand and attribute cognition to those around them. This concept typically becomes fully apparent in children between the ages of 4 and 6. Essentially, before the child develops ToM, they are unable to understand that those around them can have different thoughts, ideas, or feelings than themselves. The development of ToM is a matter of metacognition, or thinking about one's thoughts. The child must be able to recognize that they have their own thoughts and in turn, that others possess thoughts of their own. One of the foremost minds with regard to developmental psychology, Jean Piaget, focused much of his attention on cognitive development from birth through adulthood. Though there have been considerable challenges to parts of his stages of cognitive development, they remain a staple in the realm of education. Piaget's concepts and ideas predated the cognitive revolution but inspired a wealth of research in the field of cognitive psychology and many of his principles have been blended with modern theory to synthesize the predominant views of today. Educational psychology Modern theories of education have applied many concepts that are focal points of cognitive psychology. Some of the most prominent concepts include:
Metacognition: Metacognition is a broad concept encompassing all manners of one's thoughts and knowledge about their own thinking. A key area of educational focus in this realm is related to self-monitoring, which relates highly to how well students are able to evaluate their personal knowledge and apply strategies to improve knowledge in areas in which they are lacking. Declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge: Declarative knowledge is a persons 'encyclopedic' knowledge base, whereas procedural knowledge is specific knowledge relating to performing particular tasks. The application of these cognitive paradigms to education attempts to augment a student's ability to integrate declarative knowledge into newly learned procedures in an effort to facilitate accelerated learning. Knowledge organization: Applications of cognitive psychology's understanding of how knowledge is organized in the brain has been a major focus within the field of education in recent years. The hierarchical method of organizing information and how that maps well onto the brain's memory are concepts that have proven extremely beneficial in classrooms.
Cognitive therapeutic approaches have received considerable attention
in the treatment of personality disorders in recent years. The
approach focuses on the formation of what it believes to be faulty
schemata, centralized on judgmental biases and general cognitive
Induction and acquisition Judgement and classification Representation and structure Similarity
Dual-coding theories Media psychology Mental imagery Numerical cognition Propositional encoding
Aging and memory Autobiographical memory Childhood memory Constructive memory Emotion and memory Episodic memory Eyewitness memory False memories Flashbulb memory List of memory biases Long-term memory Semantic memory Short-term memory Source-monitoring error Spaced repetition Working memory
Attention Object recognition Pattern recognition Perception
Psychophysics Time sensation
Choice (Glasser's theory)
Influential cognitive psychologists
John R. Anderson Alan Baddeley David Ausubel Albert Bandura Frederic Bartlett Elizabeth Bates Aaron T. Beck Robert Bjork Gordon H. Bower Donald Broadbent Jerome Bruner Susan Carey Noam Chomsky Fergus Craik Antonio Damasio Hermann Ebbinghaus Albert Ellis William Estes Eugene Galanter Vittorio Gallese Michael Gazzaniga Dedre Gentner Vittorio Guidano Philip Johnson-Laird Daniel Kahneman Nancy Kanwisher Eric Lenneberg Alan Leslie Willem Levelt Elizabeth Loftus Alexander Luria Brian MacWhinney George Mandler Jean Matter Mandler Ellen Markman James McClelland George Armitage Miller Ulrich Neisser Allen Newell Allan Paivio Seymour Papert Jean Piaget Steven Pinker Michael Posner Karl H. Pribram Giacomo Rizzolatti Henry L. Roediger III Eleanor Rosch David Rumelhart Eleanor Saffran Daniel Schacter Otto Selz Roger Shepard Richard Shiffrin Herbert A. Simon George Sperling Robert Sternberg Larry Squire Saul Sternberg Anne Treisman Endel Tulving Amos Tversky Lev Vygotsky
Cognitive bias biology description development interventions module neuropsychology poetics robotics
Connectionism Digital infinity Discursive psychology Ecological psychology Evolutionary psychology Fuzzy-trace theory
Intelligent system Intertrial priming Logical fallacy Models of abnormality Neurocognitive Perceptual control theory Personal information management Psychological adaptation Rubicon model (psychology) Situated cognition Social cognition Water-level task
^ "American Psychological Association (2013). Glossary of
psychological terms". Apa.org. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
^ "Mangels, J.
John A. Groeger. 2002. "Trafficking in cognition: applying cognitive
psychology to driving." Transportation Research Part F: Traffic
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