Is Cognitive Psychology Research or Applied?


Jane Flores

Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the study of mental processes such as attention, language use, perception, problem-solving, and memory. It is a fascinating field that has provided valuable insights into how the human mind works.

However, some people may wonder whether cognitive psychology is research-oriented or applied. In this article, we will explore this question in detail.

Research in Cognitive Psychology

One of the primary goals of cognitive psychology is to understand how the mind processes information. To achieve this objective, cognitive psychologists conduct extensive research studies using various experimental methods such as behavioral experiments, brain imaging techniques, and computer simulations.

For instance, a cognitive psychologist might conduct an experiment to investigate how people process visual information. Participants might be presented with different visual stimuli while their brain activity is measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The results of such studies can help researchers understand how specific regions of the brain are activated during certain types of cognitive processing.

Since research is an integral part of cognitive psychology, it is essential for cognitive psychologists to have a solid understanding of research methodologies and data analysis techniques.

Application in Cognitive Psychology

While research plays a crucial role in cognitive psychology, it also has practical applications. Cognitive psychologists use their knowledge to develop interventions that can improve people’s lives by addressing various issues related to mental health and well-being.

For instance, a cognitive psychologist might develop a program to help individuals suffering from anxiety disorders learn coping strategies that can reduce their symptoms. The program might involve teaching individuals relaxation techniques or helping them reframe negative thoughts into more positive ones.

Similarly, cognitive psychologists may work with athletes to help them improve their performance by developing mental training programs that focus on enhancing attentional control and visualization skills.


In conclusion, cognitive psychology involves both research and application. While researchers conduct studies to gain insights into how the mind processes information, cognitive psychologists use this knowledge to develop interventions that can improve people’s lives. Whether it is through research or application, cognitive psychology remains an essential field that continues to expand our understanding of the human mind.