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Cognitive Psychology

Powerful Essays
Cognitive Psychology

Psychology is defined as the study of mind, emotion and behaviour. One

major perspective within psychology is known as cognitive psychology,

which is primarily concerned with the explanation of thought processes

through the development of theoretical mental systems. Cognitivism is

somewhat broad in it’s approaches to psychology and only linked in

it’s goal to create hypothetical mental structures to explain

behaviour (“History & Scope Of Psychology”).

The exact origins of cognitivism are difficult to pinpoint. Ideas that

make up the perspective have been traced back to ancient Greece;

however it is in modern times that it has developed to it’s prominent

status of today. This period of time is referred to as the “cognitive

revolution” of the 1960’s, lead by the work of those such as Piaget

and Chomsky. Prior to this revolution, behaviourism (the study of

cause and effect; environmental factors and their effect upon

behaviour) was considered to be the dominant school of thought in

psychology; however cognitivism soon emerged as the new dominant

perspective. (“The History & Scope of Psychology”). It was in the 1967

publication of Cognitive Psychology by Neisser that a name was coined

for the rising field of psychological science, and an outline of major

research-to-date and significant concepts was offered. (Maclin &

Solso, 2000)

The goals of cognitivism are to attempt to understand the way in which

the many processes of our minds work, through use of the scientific

research method. It emphasises the importance of the mind in
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Piaget, J (1962) Play, Dreams & Imitation In Childhood. WW Norton: New

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Piaget, J (1970), Piaget's theory. In P. Mussen (ed) Handbook of child

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Ross, Suzanne L & Sharpe, Pete R. (1987) Living Psychology. Scribe

Publications: Victoria

Shannon, CE (1948) Mathematical Theory Of Communication in Bell System

Tech. J. 27, 379-423, 623-656

Smith, E.E (2001) “Cognitive Psychology: History” in Encyclopedia of

Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol 3. Elsevier: Oxford
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