When Did Cognitive Psychology Start?


Jane Flores

Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes such as perception, thinking, memory, and problem-solving. It emerged as a new field of study in the mid-20th century, but its roots can be traced back to ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle.

In the 19th century, psychologists like Wilhelm Wundt and William James focused on studying consciousness and introspection. However, it was not until the 1950s that cognitive psychology started to gain traction as a separate field of study.

One of the pioneers of cognitive psychology was George Miller, who published a seminal paper in 1956 titled “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information.” In this paper, Miller argued that human beings have a limited capacity for processing information and that this capacity could be measured using various techniques.

Another key figure in the development of cognitive psychology was Ulric Neisser, who published a book titled “Cognitive Psychology” in 1967. Neisser’s book helped to establish cognitive psychology as a distinct field of study by providing a comprehensive overview of its theories and methods.

Since then, cognitive psychology has continued to evolve and expand. Today, it encompasses various subfields such as cognitive neuroscience, cognitive linguistics, and cognitive development.

In conclusion, while the roots of cognitive psychology can be traced back to ancient philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, it emerged as a distinct field of study in the mid-20th century. Pioneers like George Miller and Ulric Neisser helped to establish its theories and methods, paving the way for an ongoing exploration of how we think and process information.