Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology that studies mental processes like perception, attention, memory, and problem-solving. It focuses on how people process information, learn new things, and make decisions.
Cognitive psychologists make several assumptions about how the mind works. Here are the three major assumptions of cognitive psychology.
Assumption 1: Mental processes can be studied scientifically
Cognitive psychologists assume that mental processes are not just abstract concepts but can be studied scientifically. They believe that mental processes can be observed, measured, and analyzed using various research methods such as experiments and surveys. This assumption is based on the idea that mental processes are not just subjective experiences but also have objective properties that can be studied.
One research method used by cognitive psychologists is reaction time experiments. In these experiments, participants are asked to respond to a stimulus as quickly as possible. The time it takes for them to respond is measured and analyzed to understand how they process information.
Assumption 2: Mental processes are hierarchical
Cognitive psychologists assume that mental processes are organized hierarchically. This means that some mental processes are more basic or fundamental than others and build upon each other. For example, perception is a more basic process than attention because you cannot attend to something you have not perceived.
The dual-process theory of thinking suggests that there are two types of thinking: System 1 thinking (fast, automatic, unconscious) and System 2 thinking (slow, deliberate, conscious). System 1 thinking is more basic than System 2 thinking because it relies on automatic processing of information.
Assumption 3: Information processing is an active process
Cognitive psychologists assume that information processing is an active process rather than a passive one. This means that people actively select, interpret, and organize sensory information in their minds. They also use their prior knowledge and experience to make sense of new information.
Schema theory suggests that people use pre-existing mental frameworks (schemas) to understand new information. For example, if you have a schema for a restaurant, it will help you make sense of new information when you go to a new restaurant.
In conclusion, cognitive psychology is based on several assumptions about how the mind works. These assumptions include the idea that mental processes can be studied scientifically, that mental processes are hierarchical, and that information processing is an active process. By understanding these assumptions, we can gain insights into how we think, learn, and make decisions in our daily lives.