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Cognitive

Psychology

Antecedents of
Cognitive Psychology
1. Cognitive Psychology Defined
• Cognitive Psychology
• The study of how people perceive, learn,
remember, and think.
• Examples
• How people perceive various shapes
• Why they remember some facts and forget others
• How they learn language
• Cognition (Ashcraft, 2002)
• The collection of mental processes and activities
used in perceiving, learning, remembering,
thinking, and understanding, and the act of using
those processes
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.1.Philosophical Antecedents of Psychology
PLATO (ca. 428-348 B.C) – Rationalism
• Nature of reality
• Reality resides not in the concrete objects we
perceive but in the abstract forms that these
objects represents…in the concepts and logic of the
mind.
• How to investigate reality
• Observation is misleading
• The route to knowledge is through logical analysis
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.1.Philosophical Antecedents of Psychology
PLATO (ca. 428-348 B.C) – Rationalism
• Psyche = Soul/mind
• Psyche = soul/animating principle
• Nous = thinking part, intellect, mind
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.1.Philosophical Antecedents of Psychology
ARISTOTLE (ca. 384-322 B.C) – Empiricism
• Nature of reality
• Reality lies only in the concrete world of objects that
our bodies sense; it is found in the observations of
concrete objects in the external world.
• How to investigate reality
• The route to knowledge is through empirical evidence,
obtained through experience and observation
• Observations of the external world are the only means
to arrive at truth
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.1.Philosophical Antecedents of Psychology
ARISTOTLE (ca. 384-322 B.C) – Empiricism
• Psyche = Soul/Mind
• Psyche = Soul/one’s purpose, meaning, definition,
essential function
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.1.Philosophical Antecedents of Psychology
RENE DESCARTES(1596-1650) – Rationalism/Idealism
• “Cogito ergo sum.” “I think therefore I am.” “I doubt
therefore I exist.”
• Mental representations
• Descartes raised, directly or indirectly, virtually all
the significant issues related to the foundations of
the science of the mind.
• He had taken the principles from his writings on
meteors, optics, mathematics, and mechanics and
considered their applicability to human
phenomena.
• Innate ideas
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.1.Philosophical Antecedents of Psychology
JOHN LOCKE (1632-1704)– Empiricism
• “tabula rasa” (“blank slate/tablet”)
• both sighted and blind people ought to be able to
learn the meanings of words like statue and feel
but the blind ought to be unable to acquire words
like picture and see…
• Learning through observation and experience.
• Humans are born without knowledge
• No innate ideas
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.1.Philosophical Antecedents of Psychology
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
• Copernican revolution in Philosophy
• The mind receives information from the
environment and then reorganizes them to
give them sense and meaning; the mind
frames received information in terms of:
• Times
• Space
• Causality
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.2.Psychological Antecedents of Cognitive Psychology
Structuralism
• Goal of psychology
• To understand the structure of the mind and its
perceptions by analyzing those perceptions into their
constituent components
• Method
• Introspection – looking inward at pieces of information
passing through consciousness
• Proponents
• Wilhelm Wundt, Edward Titchener
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.2.Psychological Antecedents of Cognitive Psychology
Functionalism
• Goal of psychology
• To study the processes of mind rather than its contents
• Method
• Various methods – introspection, observation,
experiment
• Proponents
• William James
• Principles of Psychology (1890)
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.2.Psychological Antecedents of Cognitive Psychology
Behaviorism
• Goal of psychology
• To study observable behavior
• Any hypotheses about internal thoughts and ways of
thinking are nothing more than speculation
• We cannot say anything meaningful about cognition
• Method
• Animal experiments, conditioning experiments
• Proponents
• John Watson, B.F. Skinner
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.2.Psychological Antecedents of Cognitive
Psychology
Gestalt Psychology
• Goal of psychology
• To understand psychological phenomena as
organized, structured wholes
• The whole differs from the sum of its parts
• Method
• Various methods – experiment, observation
• Proponents
• Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.2. Emergence of Cognitive Psychology
Karl Lashley (1890-1958)
• Psychobiological arguments against behaviorism
• Playing piano
• On a behaviorist, stimulus-response account, an
activity such as rapidly playing a correct sequence of
notes from memory on an instrument would involve an
associative chain of stimuli and responses
• Such associative chains cannot explain the behavior;
input is never put into a a static system, but always
into a system which is actively organized
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.2. Emergence of Cognitive Psychology
Noam Chomsky
• Linguistic arguments against behaviorism
• Arguments from language acquisition
• Behaviorists cannot explain how children can
produce novel sentences they never heard.
• Infinite number of sentences we can produce can
not be learned by reinforcement – there must be a
cognitive algorithmic structure in our mind
underlying language.
2. From Plato to Cognitive
Psychology
2.2. Emergence of Cognitive Psychology
Alan Turing
• Analogy between computers and human minds
• Hardware (brain), Software (mind)
• Thinking can be described in terms of algorithmic
manipulation of some information
• These ideas gave rise to the information processing
paradigm in psychology – cognitive psychology