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Information processing systems in the brain are studied under Cognitive psychology (Sternberg, 2008). Cognitive psychology is a broad range of study, which includes the study of internal mental conditions, thinking, and language, solving problems, processing information, artificial intelligence, development of infants, feelings and how the mind performs these functions.
Development of Cognitive psychology has provided many significant points in research and has turned out to be a most important discipline in psychology that looks inside the mental processes, for example, solving problems, language, and memory, the study of how an individual thinks, perceives, remembers, learns, and then behaves.
In the later part of the 19th century several psychologists became increasingly interested in the field of cognition. Considering theories of earlier behaviorists, for example Jean Piaget in the early part of the 19th century with his attention on the thoughts of children, B.F. Skinner in the mid-19th century with his operant conditioning, or Noam Chomsky who challenged B.F. Skinner's idea some years later. After many doubts and uncertainties of the ability of the research attained from the behaviorists, currently what is known as cognitive psychology replaced these theories. Therefore, the interest with the study of cognition starts to increase and cognition turns out to be an enormous concept in psychology, which has been known as the cognitive revolution, and then became to be known as cognitive psychology.
A significant point in the advancement of cognitive psychology begins with a psychologist named Wilhelm Wundt, who was the first individual to identify the subject of psychology, in the last part of the 18th century (Taylor, 2005). Wundt thought that psychology dealt with the examination of experience (structuralism), which he described in a table of the brain that was similar to the periodic table. Another psychologist, who's name was William James, challenged Wundt's findings. The research that James conducted, allowed James to recognize that, "Mental processes must have a purpose; they must be for something" (Willingham, 2007, p. 15). In other words, the experience of an individual was not what was important but the meaning of the experience to the individual (functionalism). Additionally, William James took part in the James-Lange Theory. This theory indicates that an individual's emotion that is experienced is based upon the decided action in which the individual engaged in. After structuralism (Wundt) and functionalism (James), a theorist emerged to challenge the theories of James and Wundt, this theorist was named John Watson. Watson's theory is known as behaviorism and was based upon his own beliefs. After Wundt's structuralism and James' functionalism, a theorist named John Watson emerged and challenged both Wundt's and James' theories by his own beliefs, which is known as behaviorism. Behaviorism can be described as what an individual is doing or is observed to be doing by another individual. Watson's theory indicated, first study the individual's behavior and make an assumption, then determine the basic relations between the stimuli and the response. Watson believed that a stimuli and a response can be interchangeable.
After Watson's theories of behaviorism, the decline of behaviorism began and another theory was started to study the mind, this other theory compared the mind to a computer. This theory turned into the bond connecting behaviorism and cognitive psychology. As technology advanced, this comparison of the mind to a computer allowed psychologists to understand more of the internal human, which became a major part in how theorists studied human thought processes and behaviors.
Behavioral observation of psychologists' transformed curiosity of the mental process was brought about by the development of the computer (Rosenzweig, Breedlove, & Watson, 2005). This development offered a fascinating image of the human mind, which associated the computer to the brain. The computer codes used, offered a step-by-step model of how information obtained from the environment each day is recorded, stored, and recovered to provide a response. The formation of computer comparison gave psychologists the idea to begin a plan for information processing models of the human thought process and behavior.
The goal of a cognitive psychologist is to understand the action of humans performing intellectual tasks and to form assumptions of the summary of the methods motivating the behavior. Cognitive psychologists offer theories about what is occurring inside an individual's mind on the basis of that individual's external behaviors. Without a doubt, there is no way to recognize for sure what is happening inside the brain of a human being. What is important is that the theory be accurate in determining an individual's action in a challenging situation.
Cognitive Psychology is an extensive subject that deals with the different functions taking place inside the mind of an individual. Through the growth of this subject, psychologists are at this time able to understand humans' behaviors and thought processes.
- Rosenzweig, M.R., Breedlove, S.M., & Watson, N.V. (2005). Biological Psychology: An Introduction to Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience (4th ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, Inc.
- Sternberg, J. R. (2008). Cognitive Psychology (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Publishing.
- Taylor, L. (2005). Introducing Cognitive Development. New York, NY: Psychology Press Inc.
- Willingham, D.T. (2007). Cognition, The Thinking Animal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.