The Cognitive Revolution and Scientific Study of Psychology

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The cognitive revolution in psychology was a period during the 1950’s and 1960’s which involved radical changes to two major concepts in psychology which are consciousness and causality. It was also a period that saw to the abolishment of traditional science values of dichotomy and the worship of atomisation in science, replacing reductive micro deterministic views of personhood with holistic top-down view (Overskeid, 2008)

The aim of this essay is to give an account of what constitutes the cognitive revolution, and also assess the contributions that the cognitive revolution has made to the scientific study of psychology.

The cognitive revolution represents a diametric turn around in the century’s old treatment of mind and consciousness in science, such as the contents of conscious experience, whose subjective qualities were being discarded as mere causal epiphenomena (Sperry 1993). This paradigm shift brought with it alternative beliefs about the ultimate nature of things thereby bringing forth new answers to some of humanities deepest questions. The key assumption of cognitivism is that people have different mental states each of which can lead to a different response. The manipulation of these different states can be described in terms of algorithms all of which has become the defining paradigm of psychology (Sperry 1993)

One major contribution that cognitivism had on the study of psychology as a science came in the form of psychological theories. It returned the conditioning theory as well as comparative psychology back to a position where they recognized the there were a number of qualitative differences between the psychological processing of humans and animal (Greenwood, 1999). This is as a result of the empirical prob...

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