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Cognitive psychology

Cognitive psychology is the psychological science studying the processes that underlie thought. This covers a broad range of research domains, examining questions about the workings of memory, attention, perception, knowledge representation, reasoning to creativity and problem solving.

Cognitive psychology is one of the more recent additions to psychological research, having only developed as a separate area within the discipline since the late 1950s and early 1960s (though there are examples of cognitive thinking from earlier researchers). Since that time, the dominant paradigm in the area has been the information processing[?] model of cognition. This is a way of thinking and reasoning about mental processes, envisaging them like software running on the computer that is the brain. Theories commonly refer to forms of input, representation, computation or processing, and outputs.

This way of conceiving mental processes has pervaded psychology more generally over the past few decades, and it is not uncommon to find cognitive theories within social psychology, personality, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology and other areas.

The information processing approach to cognitive functioning is currently being questioned by new approaches in psychology, such as dynamical systems, and the embodiment perspective.

Because of the use of computational metaphors and terminology, cognitive psychology was able to benefit greatly from the flourishing of research in artificial intelligence and other related areas in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, it developed as one of the significant aspects of the inter-disciplinary subject of cognitive science, which attempts to integrate a range of approaches in research on the mind and mental processes.

Research areas include:

Perception

  • Attention and Filter theories (the ability to focus mental effort on specific stimuli while excluding other stimuli from consideration)
  • Pattern recognition (the ability to correctly interpret ambiguous sensory information)

Memory

Knowledge representation

Language

Thinking

Cognitive Psychologists[?]



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