Cognitive psychology is an important field in the study of human behavior and thought processes. It focuses on how people perceive, process, and remember information. But who is the founder of cognitive psychology?

The answer to this question is not straightforward as cognitive psychology emerged as a field in the 1950s and 1960s as a reaction to behaviorism. However, there are several influential figures that contributed significantly to the development of cognitive psychology.

George Miller

One of the most prominent figures in the early development of cognitive psychology was George Miller. He was a professor at Harvard University and published a paper titled “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two” in 1956. This paper argued that people can only hold about seven pieces of information in their working memory at once.

Miller’s research and ideas had a significant impact on the field of cognitive psychology, particularly in regards to memory and language processing.

Ulric Neisser

Another influential figure in the development of cognitive psychology was Ulric Neisser. He coined the term “cognitive psychology” and published a book with the same title in 1967. This book presented a comprehensive overview of the field and outlined its main principles and goals.

Neisser’s work focused on perception, attention, and memory, among other topics. He emphasized that studying these mental processes required both experimental research and an understanding of real-world situations.

Jerome Bruner

Jerome Bruner was another important contributor to cognitive psychology. He argued that learning is an active process in which learners construct their own understanding through interaction with their environment.

Bruner also emphasized the importance of storytelling and narrative as a way to understand complex information. He believed that our minds organize information into stories or narratives that help us make sense of what we experience.


While it is difficult to pinpoint a single founder of cognitive psychology, the contributions of George Miller, Ulric Neisser, and Jerome Bruner were instrumental in establishing the field. Their work has influenced generations of researchers and continues to shape our understanding of human cognition and behavior today.

If you are interested in learning more about cognitive psychology, studying the work of these influential figures is a great place to start.