Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with the study of the mind and its processes. It focuses on how people perceive, think, learn, remember, and solve problems. The field emerged in the 1950s and has since become one of the most influential areas of psychology.
The term “cognitive psychology” was first used by Ulric Neisser in his book “Cognitive Psychology” published in 1967. Neisser was a prominent American psychologist who played a key role in defining and shaping cognitive psychology as a field.
Neisser believed that cognitive processes could be studied scientifically using experimental methods. He argued that the mind should be viewed as an information-processing system, much like a computer. This view contrasted with the prevailing behaviorist approach to psychology at the time, which focused on observable behavior rather than mental processes.
One of Neisser’s major contributions to cognitive psychology was his concept of “cognitive maps.” He proposed that people have mental representations or maps of their physical environment, which they use to navigate and interact with their surroundings. This idea has since been applied to various fields such as geography, urban planning, and computer science.
Another influential figure in cognitive psychology was George Miller. Miller was an American psychologist who is best known for his work on human memory. In his famous paper “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on our Capacity for Processing Information,” Miller argued that people can only hold about seven pieces of information in their short-term memory at once.
Miller’s work had a significant impact on how researchers approached the study of memory and information processing. His ideas about chunking – grouping pieces of information together – continue to influence research in cognitive psychology today.
Other important figures in the development of cognitive psychology include Jerome Bruner, Noam Chomsky, Jean Piaget, and Lev Vygotsky. Each made significant contributions to our understanding of how the mind works and how we learn and process information.
In conclusion, cognitive psychology is a field that emerged in the 1950s and was defined by Ulric Neisser. He believed that mental processes could be studied scientifically using experimental methods.
George Miller’s work on human memory and Jerome Bruner’s work on cognitive development were also influential in shaping the field. Today, cognitive psychology continues to evolve and expand our understanding of the mind and its processes.