Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes. The American Psychological Association defines cognitive psychology as “The study of higher mental processes such as attention, language use, memory, perception, problem solving, and thinking. “ Much of the work derived from cognitive psychology has been integrated into various other modern disciplines of psychological study including social psychology, personality psychology, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, and educational psychology.Cognitive psychology is the scientific investigation of human cognition, that is, all our mental abilities – perceiving, learning, remembering, thinking, reasoning, and understanding.
The term “cognition” stems from the Latin word “ cognoscere” or “to know”. Fundamentally, cognitive psychology studies how people acquire and apply knowledge or information. It is closely related to the highly interdisciplinary cognitive science and influenced by artificial intelligence, computer science, philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, biology, physics, and neuroscience. ———————————————— History  Cognitive psychology in its modern form incorporates a remarkable set of new technologies in psychological science. Although published inquiries of human cognition can be traced back to Aristotle’s ‘’De Memoria’’ (Hothersall, 1984), the intellectual origins of cognitive psychology began with cognitive approaches to psychological problems at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s in the works of Wundt, Cattell, and William James (Boring, 1950).
Cognitive psychology declined in the first half of the 20th century with the rise of “behaviorism” –- the study of laws relating observable behavior to objective, observable stimulus conditions without any recourse to internal mental processes (Watson, 1913; Boring, 1950; Skinner, 1950). It was this last requirement, fundamental to cognitive psychology, that was one of behaviorism’s undoings.
For example, lack of understanding of the internal mental processes led to no distinction between memory and performance and failed to account for complex learning (Tinklepaugh, 1928; Chomsky, 1959).These issue led to the decline of behaviorism as the dominant branch of scientific psychology and to the “Cognitive Revolution”. The Cognitive Revolution began in the mid-1950s when researchers in several fields began to develop theories of mind based on complex representations and computational procedures (Miller, 1956; Broadbent, 1958; Chomsky, 1959; Newell, Shaw, ;amp; Simon, 1958). Cognitive psychology became predominant in the 1960s (Tulving, 1962; Sperling, 1960). Its resurgence is perhaps best marked by the publication of Ulric Neisser’s book, ‘’Cognitive Psychology’’, in 1967.Since 1970, more than sixty universities in North America and Europe have established cognitive psychology programs. ( http://www. scholarpedia. org/article/Cognitive_psychology) Philosophically, ruminations of the human mind and its processes have been around since the times of the ancient Greeks. In 387 BC, Plato is known to have suggested that the brain was the seat of the mental processes.  In 1637, Rene Descartes posited that humans are born with innate ideas, and forwarded the idea of mind-body dualism, which would come to be known as substance dualism (essentially the idea that the mind and the body are two separate substances). 3] From that time, major debates ensued through the 19th century regarding whether human thought was solely experiential (empiricism), or included innate knowledge (nativism). Some of those involved in this debate included George Berkeley and John Locke on the side of empiricism, and Immanuel Kant on the side of nativism.  With the philosophical debate continuing, the mid to late 18th century was a critical time in the development of psychology as a scientific discipline.Two discoveries that would later play substantial roles in cognitive psychology were Paul Broca’s discovery of the area of the brain largely responsible for language production, and Carl Wernicke’s discovery of an area thought to be mostly responsible for comprehension of language.  Both areas were subsequently formally named for their founders and disruptions of an individual’s language production or comprehension due to trauma or malformation in these areas have come to commonly be known as Broca’s aphasia and Wernicke’s aphasia.In the mid-20th century, three main influences arose that would inspire and shape cognitive psychology as a formal school of thought: * 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.The effective result was more of a framework conceptualization of mental functions with their counterparts in computers (memory, storage, retrieval, etc. ) * Noam Chomsky’s 1959 critique of behaviorism, and empiricism more generally, initiated what would come to be known as the “cognitive revolution”. Ulric Neisser is credited with formally having coined the term “cognitive psychology” (in terms of the current understanding of cognitive psychology) in his book Cognitive Psychology, published in 1967. 7] Neisser’s definition of “cognition” illustrates the, then, progressive concept of cognitive processes well: 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.  Since the beginning of experimental psychology in the nineteenth century, there had been interest in the study of higher mental rocesses. But something discontinuous happened in the late 1950s, something so dramatic that it is now referred to as the ‘cognitive revolution,’ and the view of mental processes that it spawned is called ‘cognitive psychology. ’ What happened was that American psychologists rejected behaviorism and adopted a model of mind based on the computer. The brief history that follows (adapted in part from Hilgard (1987) and Kessel and Bevan (1985)) chronicles mainstream cognitive psychology from the onset of the cognitive revolution to the beginning of the twenty-? rst century. 1. BeginningsFrom roughly the 1920s through the 1950s, American psychology was dominated by behaviorism. Behaviorism was concerned primarily with the learning of associations, particularly in nonhuman species, and it constrained theorizing to stimulus–response notions. The overthrow of behaviorism came not so much from ideas within psychology as from three research approaches external to the ? eld. 1. 1 Communications Research and the Information Processing Approach During World War II, new concepts and theories were developed about signal processing and communication, and these ideas had a profound impact on psychologists active during the war years.One important work was Shannon’s 1948 paper aboutInformation Theory. It proposed that information was communicated by sending a signal through a sequence of stages or transformations. This suggested that human perception and memory might be conceptualized in a similar way: sensory information enters the receptors, then is fed into perceptual analyzers, whose outputs in turn are input to memory systems. This was the start of the ‘information processing’ approach—the idea that cognition could be understood as a ? ow of information within the organism, an idea that continues to dominate cognitive psychology.Perhaps the ? rst major theoretical e? ort in information processing psychology was Donald Broadbent’s Perception and Communication (Broadbent 1958). According to Broadbent’s model, information output from the perceptual system encountered a ? lter, which passed only information to which people were attending. Although this notion of an all-or-none ? lter would prove too strong (Treisman 1960), it o? ered a mechanistic account of selective attention, a concept that had been banished during behaviorism. Information that passed Broadbent’s ? ter then moved on to a ‘limited capacity decision channel,’ a system that has some of the properties of short-term memory, and from there on to long-term memory. This last part of Broadbent’s model—the transfer of information from short- to long-term memory—became the salient point of the dual-memory models developed in the 1970s. Another aspect of Information theory that attracted psychologist’s interest was a quantitative measure of information in terms of ‘bits’ (roughly, the logarithm to the base 2 of the number of possible alternatives).In a still widely cited paper, George Miller (1956) showed that the limits of short-term memory had little to do with bits. But along the way, Miller’s and others’ interest in the technical aspects of information theory and related work had fostered mathematical psychology, a sub? eld that was being fueled by other sources as well (e. g. , Estes and Burke 1953, Luce 1959, Garner 1962). Over the years, mathematical psychology has frequently joined forces with the information 2140 Cognitie Neuroscienceprocessing approach to provide precise claims about memory, attention, and related processes. . 2 The Computer Modeling Approach Technical developments during World War II also led to the development of digital computers. Questions soon arose about the comparability of computer and human intelligence (Turing 1950). By 1957, Alan Newell, J. C. Shaw, and Herb Simon had designed a computer program that could solve di? cult logic problems, a domain previously thought to be the unique province of humans. Newell and Simon soon followed with programs that displayed general problem-solving skills much like those of humans, and argued that these programs o? red detailed models of human problem solving (a classic summary is contained in Newell and Simon (1972)). This work would also help establish the ? eld of arti? cial intelligence. Early on, cross-talk developed between the computer modeling and information-processing approaches, which crystallized in the 1960 book Plans and the Structure of Behaior(Miller et al. 1960). The book showed that information-processing psychology could use the theoretical language of computer modeling even if it did not actually lead to computer programs.With the ‘bit’ having failed as a psychological unit, information processing badly needed a rigorous but rich means to represent psychological information (without such representations, what exactly was being processed in the information processing approach? ). Computer modeling supplied powerful ideas about representations (as data structures), as well as about processes that operate on these structures. The resultant idea of human information processing as sequences of computational processes operating on mental representations remains the cornerstone of modern cognitive psychology (see e. . , Fodor 1975). 1. 3 The Generatie Linguistics Approach A third external in? uence that lead to the rise of modern cognitive psychology was the development of generative grammar in linguistics by Noam Chomsky. Two of Chomsky’s publications in the late 1950s had a profound e? ect on the nascent cognitive psychology. The ? rst was his 1957 book Syntactic Structures (Chomsky 1957). It focused on the mental structures needed to represent the kind of linguistic knowledge that any competent speaker of a language must have.Chomsky argued that associations per se, and even phrase structure grammars, could not fully represent our knowledge of syntax (how words are organized into phrases and sentences). What had to be added was a component capable of transforming one syntactic structure into another. These proposals about transformational grammar would change the intellectual landscape of linguistics, and usher in a new psycholinguistics. Chomsky’s second publication (1959) was a review of Verbal Behaior, a book about language learning by the then most respected behaviorist alive, B.F. Skinner (Skinner 1957). Chomsky’s review is arguably one of the most signi? cant documents in the history of cognitive psychology. It aimed not merely to devastate Skinner’s proposals about language, but to undermine behaviorism as a serious scienti? c approach to psychology. To some extent, it succeeded on both counts. 1. 4 An Approach Intrinsic to Psychology At least one source of modern cognitive psychology came from within the ? eld. This approach had its roots in Gestalt psychology, and maintained its focus on the higher mental processes.A signal event in this tradition was the 1956 book A Study of Thinking, by Bruner, Goodnow, and Austin (Bruner et al. 1956). The work investigated how people learn new concepts and categories, and it emphasized strategies of learning rather than just associative relations. The proposals ? t perfectly with the information-processing approach— indeed, they were information processing proposals—and o? ered still another reason to break from behaviorism. By the early 1960s all was in place. Behaviorism was on the wane in academic departments all over America (it had never really taken strong root in Europe).Psychologists interested in the information-processing approach were moving into academia, and Harvard University went so far as to establish a Center for Cognitive Studies directed by Jerome Bruner and George Miller. The new view in psychology was information processing. It likened mind to a computer, and emphasized the representations and processes needed to give rise to activities ranging from pattern recognition, attention, categorization, memory, reasoning, decision making, problem solving, and language. ( http://mechanism. ucsd. edu/teaching/w07/philpsych/smith. ogpsychhistory. pdf) Plato, the great Greek philosopher, was the first person to present a coherent theory of how knowledge is acquired and retained. He proposed that ideas are created in the human mind and that these ideas are then projected out in the world. These projections serve as images that we see through our senses. In other words, the outside world is an illusion made up of projections of ideas and the true reality lies inside of us. Therefore, Plato concluded that perception is an internal process and we can learn everything by looking inwards.When psychology was first taught in European universities, it was subsumed under the title of mental philosophy. Philosophers throughout the history have been concerned with concepts of perception and knowledge, as to how these interact with reality. Similarly the field of epistemology within philosophy has been concerned with the nature of knowledge. Thus cognitive psychology has been present as an undercurrent in the field of ontology and epistemology throughout the last two millennia. More recently, in 1875 Wilhelm Wundt set up the first psychological laboratory o study perception and cognition. A lot of the perceptual experiments and studies conducted were included in the field he called psychophysics. An example of psychophysics is the relationship of sensation and intensity of the stimulus. A major problem with most psychological studies of this time was over-reliance on introspective reports. In these reports, information was acquired by asking subjects what they felt, thought or saw, heard etc. and these reports were then used for deriving psychological principles. This was around the same time that Freud proposed the idea of unconscious processing.We now know for sure that most cognitive processing takes place at an unconscious level. The criticism of the introspective technique soon led psychology to its opposite extreme and the behaviorist school took over. The behaviorists argued that anything that we could not observe could not form part of the science of psychology. They coined and exclusively used terms like stimulus, response, reinforcement, conditioning etc. All of these had to do with phenomena that could be converted into some kind of numerical representation. Hunger, for example, was called “number of hours of food deprivation. “Behaviorists relied only on things that could see and rejected phenomena such as memory and imagery as unscientific just because they couldn’t think of a way of observing and measuring them. During the 2nd world war, human factors research and information theory combined to generate the information processing approach. This approach along with several other factors led to the creation of a new field called cognitive psychology. Among these factors was Noam Chomsky’s critique of Skinner’s book Verbal Behavior. Chomsky in his groundbreaking paper “On verbal behavior” shattered the simple minded behaviorist model of language designed by Skinner.He argued that language was far too complex to be explained by stimulus response alone. Around the same time, computers had emerged as thinking machines, where a lot of similarities with human information processing were coming to the fore. The field o artificial intelligence had also emerged which sought to make computers that thought like humans and solved problems and learned new things. Donald Broadbent was working at the same time on attention and visual perception. A lot of experimental work during that time along with Bartlett’s classic experiments on memory combined. 8th CENTURY: THE BRITISH EMPIRICISTS George Berkeley Berkeley’s most influential essay is A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. It was this that earned Berkeley the title of “subjective idealist,’ imaterialist,” “Spiritualist,” and these are what helped to make his small book one of the more misunderstood essays in philosophy. What Berkeley set out to achieve was the removing of validity from materialism and to do this by refuting the latent or explicitly materialistic content both in Locke’s Essay and in Descartes’ and Hobbes’ “geometric ” theories” of man and society.David Hume (1711-1776) Hume published a Treatise of Human Nature. He emphasized Locke’s notion of the compounding of simple ideas into complex ideas, developing and making more explicit the notion of association. He abolished mind as a substance and said that it is a secondary quality like matter. The mind is observable only through perception. More importantly, is the distinction he drew between two kinds of mental contents: impressions and ideas. Impressions are the basic elements of mental life. Impressions are kin to sensation and perception.Ideas are the mental experiences that we have in the absence of any stimulating element. The modern equivalent is image. Hume did not define these two concepts in psychological terms or in reference to any external stimulating object. These mental contents differ not in terms of their source or point of origin, but in terms of their relative strength and vivacity. Impressions are strong and vivid, whereas ideas are but weak copies of impressions. He proposed two theories about association: 1) resemblance or similarity, and 2) contiguity in time and place.His work fits into the categories of empiricism and associationism. He believed that just like the astronomers determine the laws of the universe through which the planets function, it is also possible to determine the laws of mental universes James Mill (1773-1836) James Mill believed that the human mind was totally passive. He felt that the mind was a machine functioning in the same way as a clock, acting upon external stimuli. His most important work and contribution to psychology is his book, Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind, written in 1829.Mill states that the mind must be studied through its reduction or analysis into elementary components. Mill believed that ideas and sensations are only certain kinds of mental processes. He felt that ideas result as a process of sensations that have occurred at the same time in a certain order. Thus, James Mill was considered a British empiricist, focusing on the primary role of sensation processes and the relationship between conscious processes and association. John Stuart Mill, who believed in Mental Chemistry, was the son of James Mill. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)John Stuart Mill was a British empiricist who was concerned with Associationism. Associationism studies how ideas can be hooked together and how many laws of association there should be. Mill believed the mind to be active, which is opposition to his father’s belief that the mind was passive. He developed the idea of mental chemistry in which he believed the sum of two ideas compounded together is greater than the sum of the individual ideas. Along with Mill’s research, he wrote several books which also influenced the work of James, Gestalt, and Wundt. 19th CENTURYPsychology broke away from philosophy and began to form its own discipline based upon empirical results rather than on speculation. “Only in the last 100 years has it been realized that human cognition could be the subject of scientific study rather than philosophical speculation” (Anderson, 1995). Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) Wilhelm Wundt was born on Aug. 16, 1832 in Neckarau Baden, Germany. Wundt established the first psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany in 1879 and published the first journal, Philosophische Studien, that contained a report of experimental results.Wundt taught at the University at Leipzig from 1875 to 1917. Wundt founded the psychological institute at the University of Leipzig. Wundt is regarded as the founder of psychology as a formal academic discipline and the first person in history to be designated as a psychologist. Wundt believed that psychology is based on the observation of experience. Wundt taught many psychologists, such as Tichener. His method of inquiry was largely introspection (having highly trained observers report on the contents of their consciousness under carefully controlled conditions according to Anderson, 1995).Hermann Helmholtz (1821-1894) Hermann Helmholtz was born it 1821 in Potsdam, Germany. Helmholtz was know for his research in physics and physiology and he is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the nineteenth century. Helmholtz is known for his theory of unconscious inference, for example visual perception of space. Helmholtz was an advocate of the natural sciences. He had a particular interest in the speed of neural impulses. His research was one of the first to demonstrate that it is possible to experiment on and measure a psychophysiological process.Helmholtz developed the Young-Helmholtz theory of color vision. Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) Hermann Ebbinghaus was educated at the University of Bonn. As a young doctor of philosophy, he was determined to study higher mental processes and examine these processes that were neglected by Wundt. The experiment began in 1879 with Ebbinghaus as his only subject. The result was Memory in 1885. Memory utilized the first use of nonsense syllables to discover the fundamental laws of learning. The nonsense syllables were meaningless, therefore uninfluenced by previous learning.He also used nonsense syllables because any one nonsense syllable is not easier to learn than another. Ebbinghaus also studied forgetfulness. He would memorize lists of nonsense syllables, 13 in each list, and measure how long it took him to forget the syllables. His results have been summarized in the forgetting curve. Sir Frances Galton (1822-1911) Galton is considered the founder of eugenics which is controlled breeding to improve the condition of mankind. Galton did not believe the environment determined human character. He believed there existed innate social worth.He was interested in a small portion of the population, the exceptional. Galton published Hereditary Genius which “proposed to show that a man’s natural abilities are derived by inheritance”. Galton’s statistical methods made possible the comparisons of individuals. He devised a number of important methods used today. He was the first to systematically apply statistics to psychological data, and he invented the correlation coefficient. He also did substantial research about the debate of Nature vs. Nurture, and invented the free-association technique. Edward Titchener (1867-1927)Born in 1867, Edward Titchener was a follower of the psychological teachings of Wilhelm Wundt. He attended school at Malvern College and Oxford on scholarships because his family was very poor. He spent most of his career teaching at Cornell University in New York state. Titchener’s view was based on his belief that all consciousness was capable of being reduced to three states: sensations, which are the basic elements of perception; images, which are the pictures formed in our minds to characterize what is perceived; and affections, which are the constituents of emotions.By 1915 Titchener had formulated his context theory of meaning. According to his theory, core referred to raw experiences such as sensations of light, sound, touch, and smell; context consisted of associations brought on by raw experiences. Context is what gives meaning to the core. Titchener also believed that emotions are intensified feelings arising from sensations inside the body. Titchener died in 1927. William James (1842-1910) William James wrote the first psychology textbook, Principles of Psychology, which was the central work of his career.The concept of functionalism is expressed in James’ psychology which he treats as a natural science. Functionalism is the adaption of living persons to their environment. James also contributed to the James-Lange theory. This theory states that we feel an emotion because of the action in which we choose to engage. For example, we infer are afraid because we run. EARLY 20TH CENTURY Edward Tolman Edward Tolman was known for “his work that centered around demonstrating that animals had both expectations and internal representations that guided their behavior. (Galotti, 1994) He believed that rats used a cognitive map in order to complete the maze instead of memorization. He showed this by putting rats in different places on the maze than ones where they had been trained. The rats reached the goal point without going to the learned place. This supported the notion that they had created a cognitive map. Wolfgang Kohler Wolfgang Kohler was known for his early criticism of the characterization of problem solving. His famous study involved an ape in a cage, Sultan, that was given two hollow bamboo sticks.A banana was placed outside the cage out of range for the sticks to reach it. For a certain amount of time the ape tried to reach the banana with the sticks, failing each time. At a certain point Sultan was observed to sit quietly for a time, after which he put the two sticks together. Kohler called the sudden solution that followed the quiet time “insight” and concluded that it was a typical property of problem solving. Sir Frederick Bartlett Sir Frederick Bartlett was known for his study of memory. He placed his emphasis on studies under natural conditions.Therefore, he rejected laboratory research. He felt that past experiences helped reconstruct the material able to be retrieved. He used a method called serial reproduction. This method allowed subjects to recall stories on more than one occasion with varying retention intervals. He focused on information that was remembered and ” misremembered”. His results showed that overtime the subjects’ recall was progressively more distorted. Therefore “He rejected that the idea of long term memory where material is stored unchanged until retrieval”. He saw memory as an active and often inaccurate process.The famous story he used was “The War of the Ghosts. ” Skinner, B. F. (1904-1995) Born in Subsequenna PA, Skinner is famous for his theory of operant conditioning. He believed that behaviors and language were learned through reinforcement (Solso, 317-318). He invented the Skinner box, which was used to control and measure learned animal behavior. He believed that behavioral changes resulted from responses of the individual to environmental stimuli. He believed that the cognitive revolution was a backward, rather than a forward, step in the history of psychology (Murray, 415).Among his main scientific works were The Behavior of Organisms (1938) and Verbal Behavior (1957). Behaviorism caused the study of mental events to be put aside. In many ways it was a reaction against introspection. There was a behavioral revolution in America. Behaviorists believed that psychology should be only concerned with external behavior and “should not try to analyze the workings of the mind that underlay this behavior” (Anderson, 1995). Watson (1930) said that “Behaviorism claims that consciouness is neither a definite nor a usable concept. ” The behaviorist program and the issues it spawned all but eliminated any serious research in cognitive psychology for 40 years…. Perhaps the most important lasting contribution of behaviorism is a set of sophisticated and rigorous techniques and principles for experimental study in all fields of psychology, including cognitive psychology. ” (Anderson, 1995) REEMERGENCE OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY According to Anderson (1995), cognitive psychology first emerged in the two decades between 1950 and 1970. The modern development of cognitive psychology was due to the WWII focuss on research on human performance and ttention, developments in computer science, especially those in artificial intelligence, and the renewal of interest in the field of linguistics. Noam Chomsky (1928-) Noam Chomsky’s review of Skinner’s book on language (Verbal Behavior) in the 1959 journal Language is considered the famous turning point for Cognitive psychology. Chomsky, a linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argued that language cannot be explained through a stimulus response process as Skinner explained, because this does not account for some of the common facts about language.The creative use of language can be better explained as a central process than a peripheral process. Language is a way to express ideas, and the way that these ideas are turned into language is a cognitive process. Chomsky’s critique stimulated much more interest in the cognitive processes of all types of human activity (Benjafield, p. 41). He showed that language was much more complex than anyone previously believed and that behavioral explanations could not reasonably explain the complexities of language.Chomsky’s language model included two types of structures: surface structures and deep structures. David Rumelhart & James McClelland Rumelhart and McClelland are prime examples of modern cognitive psychologists. Their names are associated with Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP). This model stresses that information processing happens simultaneously (parallel) as opposed to serially (one at a time). Their theory suggests that many simple processing units are responsible for sending excitatory and inhibitory signals to other units.By understanding these basic features, they believe that the complex system can be explained. The idea that processing involves interconnected elements and the reference to neural models, makes up their Conn