What is cognitive psychology?

Essay by psychmajorUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2009

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

When an individual faces a problem, they may not know its solution, but might have insight, increasing knowledge, and a notion of what they are looking for. When an individual faces a mystery, however, they might only be able to stare in wonder and puzzlement, not knowing what an explanation would even look like. Many theories have been projected over the years to explain the developmental adjustments that individuals experience over the path of their lives. These theories vary in the beliefs of human nature they embrace and in what they consider to be the essential causes and means of human inspiration and behavior. Cognitive psychology has had many stemmed milestones and has become one of the major schools of thought within psychology which examines internal mental processes such as problem solving, memory, and language, studying how people think, perceive, remember, learn, and behave.

The cognitive perspective in psychology resides on a literal and figurative school of "thought".

Cognitive psychology "focuses on how people perceive, process and retrieve information" (Kowalski & Western, 2005, p. 15). Thoughts and memories are the mechanisms that structure, guide and determine how an individual behaves. Mental thought processing is the focal point of cognitive psychology, and resulting behavior that is formed through the mental connection of thoughts in the mind, spirit and soul, or input. "From this perspective, thinking is information processing: The environment provides inputs, which are transformed, stored, and retrieved using various mental programs, leading to specific response outputs" (Kowalski & Western, 2005, p.15). With a focus on how individuals process information like memory or make decisions, the cognitive perspective makes the assumption that the thought process determines human behavior. The cognitive perspective leads the way to modern day behaviorism.

The behaviorist perspective is based on the assumptions that environmental influences determine observable...