Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the study of mental processes such as perception, attention, memory, problem-solving, and reasoning. It is concerned with how people acquire, process, and store information. Cognitive psychology has a rich history that dates back to the late 19th century.
One of the most influential figures in the development of cognitive psychology was Wilhelm Wundt. He established the first psychological laboratory in Leipzig, Germany in 1879 and is considered the father of experimental psychology.
Wundt’s approach to psychology was based on introspection, which involved examining one’s own thoughts and feelings. He believed that by studying conscious experience, psychologists could gain insight into mental processes.
Another important figure in the history of cognitive psychology was Edward Titchener. He was a student of Wundt’s and brought his ideas to America where he established his own laboratory at Cornell University. Titchener’s approach to psychology was known as structuralism and he believed that by breaking down conscious experience into its component parts, psychologists could understand how mental processes worked.
However, it was not until the 1950s and 60s that cognitive psychology began to emerge as a distinct field of study. This was due in part to advances in technology such as computers which allowed researchers to model human thought processes. One of the key figures in this new wave of cognitive psychologists was George Miller who wrote an influential paper called “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two” which argued that people could only hold about seven pieces of information in their working memory.
Another major development during this time period was the emergence of information processing theory which viewed mental processes as analogous to computer processing systems. Researchers such as Allen Newell and Herbert Simon developed computer models of problem-solving which helped them understand how people solve complex problems.
In conclusion, cognitive psychology has a rich history dating back over a century. It has been influenced by a number of important figures including Wilhelm Wundt, Edward Titchener, George Miller, Allen Newell, and Herbert Simon. Through their work, cognitive psychologists have gained a better understanding of how people acquire, process, and store information.