Thursday, August 5, 2021

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology

Define cognitive psychology and describe the domains of cognitive psychology

Cognitive psychology is the science of how we think. It’s concerned with our inner mental processes such as attention, perception, memory, action planning, and language. Each of these components are pivotal in forming who we are and how we behave. The thoughts related to these concepts can be conscious or nonconscious – we might consciously make an effort to focus our attention on a lecture for example, but the light flickering in the room could trigger a nonconscious shift elsewhere. Many cognitive psychologists [1] refer to this field as encompassing both the traditional cognitive psychology approach, and also cognitive neuroscience.

MPC 001 Solved Assignment 2021-22 Free Cognitive neuroscience is a field that uses neuroimaging methods to examine cognitive processes – it has many overlaps with cognitive psychology, takes a similar approach and worldview, but offers a route to visualize the brain activity that is associated with these inner thoughts. Cognitive psychology also has many overlaps with cognitive neuropsychology (primarily concerned with the effects of brain damage on cognition) and to an extent, with computational neuroscience (concerned with creating computational models of brain function).

To really understand the basis for these overlaps, it’s important to consider the context and time in which cognitive psychology emerged. Starting as a disciple in the 1950’s, the field was in some sense a reaction to the dominant psychology research approach at the time – behavioral psychology (a topic we’ve covered before in a previous blog post).

MPC 001 Solved Assignment 2021-22 Free Behavioral psychology starts with the precept that all human behavior is learned and adaptable to the context and environment it’s in. Behavior can be reinforced or punished in various ways, leading to increases or decreases of certain actions. As life progresses, a set of behaviors is ultimately shaped by these experiences giving rise to a multifaceted human with varying interests, desires, pursuits, skills, and habits. Cognitive psychology on the other hand essentially assumes more agency – thoughts and feelings are seen as more active in the process of behavior formation. Individuals are perceived to process thoughts that determine if and how behaviors are to be carried out (rather than being seen as a more passive recipient and producer of experiences or behavior).

This paradigm shift, from a primarily behaviorist view to a primarily cognitivist view, has multiple triggers and it is difficult to single out a single source. However, some crucial influences can be found in the emergence and development of information theory (a formalization of information communication that has similarities with the cognitive approach) [2], and Noam Chomsky’s devastating critique of behaviorism. Information theory was – and remains – important as it formalizes how information communication occurs. The extent of influence and reach of this theory is difficult to overstate – almost any domain that features the transmission of information (be it signalling in the brain, genetics, physics, and beyond) has been influenced by information theory in some way.

Information theory emerged hand-in-hand with the most important invention of modern times – that of the computer. The emergence of the computer invited parallels (both in the popular and scientific imagination) to the way in which the brain processes the world – a logical breakdown of inputs, outputs, storage, and processing were easily compared with stimuli / the environment, behavior, memory, and cognition, respectively. This helped give rise to cognitive psychology by considering the brain as a computational device, the rules of which could be formalized, reduced, and understood. While behaviorism also followed a reductionist approach, it largely avoided (or downplayed the importance of) the process and impact of inner thoughts.

MPC 001 Solved Assignment 2021-22 Free This section will provide an overview of the major domains of psychology today, as well as some additional sub-fields and content areas. This is not meant to be an exhaustive listing, but it will provide insight into the major areas of research and practice of modernday psychologists. You’ll come to see that while psychology is defined as the study of the mind and behavior, there are many different types of psychologists who emphasize and apply psychological principles in various ways.

As mentioned in your previous reading, the cognitive revolution created an impetus for psychologists to focus their attention on better understanding the mind and mental processes that underlie behavior. Thus, cognitive psychology is the area of psychology that focuses on studying cognitions, or thoughts, and their relationship to our experiences and our actions. Like biological psychology, cognitive psychology is broad in its scope and often involves collaborations among people from a diverse range of disciplinary backgrounds.

This has led some to coin the term cognitive science to describe the interdisciplinary nature of this area of research (Miller, 2003). Cognitive psychologists have research interests that span a spectrum of topics, ranging from attention to problem solving to language to memory. The approaches used in studying these topics are equally diverse. The bulk of content coverage on cognitive psychology will be covered in the modules in this text on thinking, intelligence, and memory. But given its diversity, various concepts related to cognitive psychology will be covered in other sections such as lifespan development, social psychology, and therapy. For example, imagine that a woman is diagnosed with depression. What is the cause of the depression? Is it her biology or chemical imbalances in her brain? Evolutionary predispositions? Perhaps it is caused by experiences in her past, or something else that triggered a downward spiral of emotions? Or maybe it is caused by social factors, or cultural expectations? All of these things could, in fact, play a role in her depression.

MPC 001 Solved Assignment 2021-22 Free In this section, you’ll see how psychologists analyze behavior from a variety of perspectives and better understand the breadth of psychology. Traditionally, cognitive psychology includes human perception, attention, learning, memory, concept formation, reasoning, judgment and decision-making, problem solving, and language processing. For some, social and cultural factors, emotion, consciousness, animal cognition, evolutionary approaches have also become part of cognitive 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.

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