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History of Cognitive Psychology - Essay Example

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History of Cognitive Psychology

The contribution of early researchers under the guidance of cognitive behaviour made it possible to verify every research. They did not design a grand scheme to guide cognitive psychology through its development. Rather, early researchers applied insights from their immediate work to make initial headway. Their accomplishments were substantial and are reflected extensively in current work. (Barsalou, Lawrence.1992, p. 341) Modern psychology is initiated with the enhanced significance in cognition, which is unsceptical, as the same approach has been shared by all the researchers hitherto, which possess a solid ground of theoretical methodology.
Cognitive psychology began to explore towards the end of the nineteenth century when in 1879 the first psychology laboratory was set up by Wilhelm Wundt at Leipzig. Wundt's research was mainly concerned with perception, including some of the earliest studies of visual illusions. Among one of the major studies on visual illusions was visual processing proposed by Mishkin in 1982. (Hahn, Martin, 1999, p. 71). In 1885 Hermann Ebbinghaus published the first experimental research on memory, and many subsequent researchers were to adopt his methods over the years that followed. Perhaps the most lasting work of this early period was a remarkable book written by William James in 1890, entitled Principles of Psychology. (Groome, David, 1999, p. 5). In this book James proposed a number of theories, which still remain acceptable to modern cognitive psychologists, including a theory distinguishing between short-term working memory and long-term storage memory.
Watson (1913)
Watson was the first cognitive psychologist to state the behaviourist position clearly as before Watson there was little progress in cognitive psychology in the early years due to the growing influence of behaviourism. Being the first influential figure, he maintained that psychologists should consider only observable variables such as the stimulus presented to the organism and any consequent response to that stimulus. He argued that they should not concern themselves with processes that they could not observe in a scientific manner, such as thought and conscious experience. The behaviourists were essentially trying to establish psychology as a true science, comparable in status with other sciences such as physics or chemistry. This was perhaps a worthy aim, but it had unfortunate consequences for the study of psychology for the next fifty years, as it had the effect of restricting experimental psychology mainly to the recording of externally observable responses. (Groome, David, 1999, p. 5) Indeed, some behaviourists were so enthusiastic to explore beyond human experience that they never bothered to eliminate inner mental processes from their studies, which showed their eagerness to work on rats rather than on human subjects. No doubt, what experience a human being brings to a laboratory, nothing else can bring.
B.F. Skinner (1938)
Skinner, continued the classic work on the behaviourist approach, by training ...Show more


Cognitive Psychology as compared to other experimental sciences is very young. Although a wide variety of cognition has already been explored, from linguistics to the advent of abnormal psychology, a wide phenomenal cognition is there to tell its story of 30 years of success, but there are still some areas which needs further modifications in terms of better approaches to be adopted, needs theoretical cognitive mechanisms to be applied like the advent of artificial intelligence…
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