What is Cognitive Psychology?
Cognitive psychology is an approach to psychology which asserts that an understanding of internal states and episodes is essential to a complete understanding of behaviour. Furthermore, these internal states and episodes are physically embodied. In humans and other organisms, these processes of "mind" are embodied in the brain and nervous system. Whether or not non-organic devices, such as digital computers, could give rise to intelligent behaviour continues to be a matter of debate.
Cognitive psychology is part of cognitive science, which is "the interdisciplinary study of mind, informed by theoretical concepts drawn from computer science and control theory"1. According to Margaret Boden (see footnote one), early researchers had intended that the term "cognition" would include all mental processes, such as motivation, emotion, thinking about social interaction, and motor control. However, those first three topics were harder to study than other aspects of cognition, let alone simulate in computers, and so were put aside whilst researchers focused on perception, attention, memory, knowledge representation, language, problem solving, reasoning, and decision making. Consequently, people have come to think of motivation and emotion as separate areas of psychology from cognition. However, the terms "cognitive" psychology and "cognitive" science were originally chosen simply to distinguish the focus on mental processes from the behaviourist approach that had been so prevalent throughout much of the twentieth century.
This site is under construction
This site is intended primarily for students of cognitive psychology at university level. Cognitive psychology lecturers who would like to contribute to the development of the material here are invited to join by clicking the "How do I join this site?" link to the left. Please include your real name and a verifiable university email address.
Recent additions to the site are shown below:
|Most recent additions/updates|
|Perception and attention||Perception section is currently being constructed||updated on 27 June 2009|
|Foundations||Precursors||updated 16 April 2009|
|Thought||Problem solving||12 April 2009|
|Thought||Problem solving and insight||12 April 2009|
|Thought||Problem solving in animals||12 April 2009|
A note on style and sources
Students please note: For ease of reading, and because this site makes many links to other sources, I have not followed the standards for citations and references that will probably be expected of you on your course. The standard style for psychology students is APA style. Another useful site for style guidelines is The University of Hull's Reference Psyte.
Authors, publishers, and site editors please note: Contributors to this site are asked to ensure that, to the best of your knowledge, your contributions are all your own work (copying text that you yourself have published elsewhere may still be in violation of publishers' copyright). This material is contributed on the understanding that it is covered by a Creative Commons License (see note at the foot of the page).
Material on this site may have been produced by various individuals; if any author or publisher has a concern about any text of image, please draw this to my attention.
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