The Field Of Cognitive Psychology Essay

The Field Of Cognitive Psychology Essay

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Edward C. Tolman shaped the field of cognitive psychology by presenting a theory of the cognitive map. The cognitive map is an organism’s mental picture of a specific area. Therefore, the cognitive map aids in memorization of one’s environment. The cognitive map can be broken down into how a person’s spatial memory records the location of their surroundings. Hence, a cognitive map is not a physical place, but rather how an organism perceives their environment.
Tolman discovered a way to intertwine observing a behavior with setting a definitive objective. He referred to his discovery as a purposive behaviorism. His research included many different types of principles and applications. They are: Expectation, A Block-Path, A Place in Learning Studies, and the Latent Learning Experiment. His principles which he explored were that learning was always centered on purpose and goal driven. His application was simple, list the desired goal clearly and specifically. He then was able to proclaim an organism has learned a new behavior based on witnessing a change in their existing behavior. Thus, Tolman believed an association could be made between information gained from the surroundings and that of the organism’s environment. In effort to explore his theory of purposive behavior; he used an experiment with rodents to test his theory.
Tolman’s experiment with the cognitive map used rodents. His research led him to formulate the idea of learning as using a cognitive map or mental picture. He configured a maze that looked like a cross with end caps. He labeled each end with a letter. Tolman set a definitive objective for the rodent to travel from the start of the maze to the right corner where a reward could be located. The rodent was able...


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...erving me dressing him each day. However, he never realizes that he knows how to do so until he is put in a position to dress himself. Also, my son learns how to walk to school by observing the route we use daily. If I am unable to walk him to school one day, he has to recall the route in order for him to walk by himself.
In conclusion, Edward C. Tolman made a huge discovery in cognitive psychology by introducing his theory of purposive behaviorism and the cognitive map. He was able to explain through a series of experiments that organisms can learn without a reward or reinforcement and later called this latent learning. He declared learning as being a mental picture one can recollect when needed as a cognitive map. More importantly, his theory of the cognitive map is something organisms use each day. The information learned is there waiting to be used.













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