How Does Cognitive Revolution Affect the Field of Psychology?


Vincent White

Cognitive Revolution refers to a period in the 1950s and 1960s when psychologists shifted their focus from behaviorism to the study of internal mental processes. This shift led to a significant change in the field of psychology, with researchers exploring new areas such as memory, decision-making, and problem-solving.

What is Cognitive Psychology?

Cognitive psychology is a subfield of psychology that studies mental processes such as perception, attention, memory, language use, problem-solving, and decision-making. It focuses on how people acquire, process, and store information.

The Rise of Cognitive Psychology

Before the rise of cognitive psychology, behaviorism was the dominant approach in psychology. Behaviorists believed that behaviors could be explained by environmental stimuli and reinforcement. However, this approach did not take into account internal mental processes such as thinking and memory.

In the 1950s and 1960s, researchers began to study mental processes using new methods such as computer simulations and brain imaging. This led to a shift toward cognitive psychology as researchers began to explore internal mental processes.

The Impact of Cognitive Revolution on Psychology

The cognitive revolution had a profound impact on the field of psychology. It led to new discoveries about how we think and process information. For example:

  • Cognitive psychologists discovered that humans have limited processing capabilities. We can only process a certain amount of information at once before becoming overwhelmed.
  • Researchers found that people use mental shortcuts or heuristics when making decisions.
  • Cognitive psychologists also discovered that how we perceive things can be influenced by our expectations.

These discoveries were groundbreaking for their time and helped reshape our understanding of human cognition.

Applications of Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology has numerous applications in various fields such as education, medicine, business, and technology. For example:

  • Education: Cognitive psychology has helped develop new teaching methods that take into account how learners process information.
  • Medicine: Cognitive psychology has been used to develop treatments for mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
  • Business: Understanding heuristics can help businesses develop more effective marketing strategies.
  • Technology: Cognitive psychology has helped design user interfaces that are intuitive and user-friendly.


The cognitive revolution marked a significant shift in the field of psychology. It led to a greater focus on internal mental processes, which has yielded numerous discoveries and applications. Today, cognitive psychology continues to be a vital area of research, with ongoing studies exploring topics such as decision-making, attention, and memory.