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Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper

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Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper

Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with a person's internal states and their cognitive functions such as his or her problem- solving abilities, motivation, thinking, and even his or her attention. The development of cognitive psychology is marked by several milestones in the field of psychology. With the need for change in theories and methods on how things are researched, certain developments ultimately led to the development of cognitive psychology. The cognitive psychology concept believes in the dominance of knowledge in the context of the human existence. Although humans rationally regulate his or her behavior, actively form his or her environment to meet life goals (Ruisel, 2010). This paper will cover four of the milestones that led to the development of cognitive psychology and also cover why observable behavior is important in cognitive psychology.

Development of Cognitive Psychology

The development of cognitive psychology came about marked by different milestones that all paved the way for the cognitive perspective. One of the four major milestones that helped the development of cognitive psychology was behaviorism. Behaviorism as a perspective of psychology had its shortfalls such as not being able to account for all the experimental data that was being introduced (Willingham, 2007). The experimental data included studies in language and memory. Another drawback to behaviorism was that it was founded on the basic principle that psychology should only focus on that, which was observable. Everything that was not observable, such as a person's thoughts, was considered not important to behavior.

The second milestone that this paper will discuss is that abstract construct's ability to account for the data shortfall mentioned in the first milestone. An abstract construct is a theoretical set of processes and representations that are useful in explaining some data (Willingham, 2007). Clark Hull was one of the people to work with abstract constructs. Hull defined the mechanism of reinforcement in terms of drive reduction, hypothesizing theoretical constructs such as primary drives and secondary drives (Goodwin, 2005). The downside of abstract constructs was that they could not be demonstrable in observable behavior and thus were really speculative.

The third milestone that this paper will discuss is the neuroscientists and artificial intelligence that researchers provided examples of how the abstract constructs could be used effectively in a scientific way (Willingham, 2007). With the concepts of artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, which was known as the new behaviorism, could take on new light. The unobservable that was previously speculative became a more corporeal reality. Artificial intelligence offered researchers a way to reproduce the unobservable mechanisms that occur during thought in a person. Neuroscience allowed a window into the biological framework within the brain and led a better understanding of the neurochemical activity in the brain. It also showed how it was affected by the person's activities as well as his or her thoughts.

The fourth and final milestone that will be discussed is the interaction of representations and the processes that manipulate them that can be likened to the workings of a computer (Willingham, 2007). The theory behind the mind working like a computer is that a computer uses representations to store and process information. It is believed that the human mind works in a similar way to process and store information. The computer itself allowed researchers a metaphor for human thought that could be studied through observable behavior. Each of the four milestones that this paper has discussed added benefits to the development of cognitive psychology. With each of these milestones



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