Research Paper: Cognitive Psychology

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Cognitive psychology is stated to be "concerned with the advances in the study of memory, language processing, perception, problem solving and thinking" according to editor of the Journal of Cognitive Psychology, G.D. Logan. (2009) Logan states that areas of research in cognitive psychology include the areas relating to: (1) artificial intelligence; (2) developmental psychology; (3) linguistics; (4) neurophysiology; and (5) social psychology. (Logan, 2009) This work will identify four key milestones in the development of cognitive psychology as a discipline and will discuss the importance of behavioral observation in cognitive psychology.


Introspection was first stated by Wilhelm Wundt in a 1907 paper that criticized the Wurzburg psychologists' thought experiments. Wundt stated four rules for the introspective practice as follows: (1) the introspective observer must be able to decide for himself at what point to begin observing the mental process under investigation; (2) the observer must be in a state of heightened attention; (3) each observation must be repeated again and again under the same conditions; and (4) circumstances under which the phenomenon occurs must be investigated by varying the accompanying experimental situations. Wundt's rules and practices for scientific introspection are related to contemporary debates in cognitive science over the nature and proper use of introspection.

II. Behaviorism

The Behaviorist school of thought arose in a response to Wundt's introspection. This view is one described by John B. Watson as a view that is a "...purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior. Introspection forms no essential part of its methods, nor is the scientific value of its data dependent upon the readiness with which they lend themselves to interpretation in terms of consciousness. The behaviorist, in his efforts to get a unitary scheme of animal response, recognizes no dividing line between man and brute. The behavior of man, with all of its refinement and complexity, forms only a part of the behaviorist's total scheme of investigation." (1878-1958)

III. Structuralism

Also a key milestone in the development of cognitive psychology was the school of thought referred to as Structuralism. Structuralism has as its focus the division of mental processes into the basic components. Difficulties noted with Structuralism included the fact that observers were highly trained however, there was no consistency in self-reporting across individuals and furthermore, the contents of reports were not observable and this led to difficulty in scientific study. John B. Watson states of Structuralism that while he did not wish to "... unduly...criticize psychology" that he believed that it had failed "to make its place in the world as an undisputed natural science. Psychology, as it is generally thought of, has something… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Cognitive Psychology.  (2009, February 27).  Retrieved December 8, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Cognitive Psychology."  27 February 2009.  Web.  8 December 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Cognitive Psychology."  February 27, 2009.  Accessed December 8, 2019.