What Is Cognitive Perspective in Psychology?


Diego Sanchez

Cognitive perspective is a key concept in psychology that focuses on the study of mental processes such as thinking, perception, attention, and memory. This perspective emphasizes the importance of understanding how people process information and how they use that information to form beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

What is Cognitive Perspective?

The cognitive perspective in psychology explores how people perceive, process, and retrieve information. It examines how our brain processes information from our environment to generate thoughts and behaviors. Cognitive psychology studies mental processes such as attention, language use, perception, problem-solving skills, memory recall, and decision making.

Origins of Cognitive Perspective

The cognitive perspective emerged in the 1950s as a response to behaviorism. Behaviorists believed that all human behavior was learned through conditioning and that internal mental processes played no role in behavior control. However, cognitive psychologists argued that mental processes were crucial to understanding human behavior.

  • Early pioneers: Jean Piaget and Ulric Neisser were pioneers of cognitive psychology.
  • Theories: Piaget’s theory of cognitive development emphasized stages of intellectual growth during childhood. Neisser’s theory focused on the study of cognitive processing during perception.

Cognitive Perspective Theories

There are several theories associated with the cognitive perspective in psychology.

Social Information Processing Theory:

This theory examines how people process social cues by exploring the way they interpret events based on their past experiences.

Social Cognitive Theory:

This theory explores how people learn from their surroundings by observing others’ behaviors and outcomes.

Cognitive Behavioral Theory:

This theory proposes that a person’s thoughts determine their feelings and behaviors.

Cognitive Perspective Applications

The cognitive perspective has applications across several fields such as education, medicine, and business.


Cognitive psychology helps educators understand how students learn and how to tailor teaching methods to fit individual learning styles.


Cognitive psychology is used in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.


Cognitive psychology is used in marketing research to understand consumer behavior and decision-making processes.


The cognitive perspective in psychology emphasizes the importance of studying mental processes such as perception, attention, and memory. Understanding these processes can help us understand how people think, behave, and learn.

It has applications across several fields such as education, medicine, and business. Through cognitive psychology research we can improve our understanding of the human mind and develop new ways of helping individuals with mental disorders.