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Monday, October 19, 2009

Cognitive Psychology

The roots of cognitive psychology (the experimental study of how the mind works) can be traced to Wundt's interest in memory and language processes in Leipzig in 1879. Shortly after this, there was a spurt of interest in reading processes; this reached an apex around 1908. The equipment used then was somewhat archaic and very dissimilar to the more sophisticated and often computer based equipment of today.

Cognitive psychology is a discipline within psychology that investigates the internal mental processes of thought such as visual processing, memory, problem solving, or language. The main sources of evolutionary psychology are cognitive psychology, genetics, ethology, anthropology, biology, and zoology.

Cognitive psychology is radically different from previous psychological approaches in two key ways.
  • It accepts the use of the scientific method, and generally rejects introspection as a valid method of investigation, unlike symbol-driven approaches such as Freudian psychology.

  • It explicitly acknowledges the existence of internal mental states (such as belief, desire and motivation) unlike behaviorist psychology. Critics hold that the empiricism of cognitive psychology combined with the acceptance of internal mental states by cognitive psychology is contradictory.

The combination of this mode of neurology and cognitive psychology led to the development of cognitive neuropsychology. Possibly the first published paper in this field was by Marshall & Newcombe in 1973 who described three types of acquired dyslexia, and offered a reading model in flow chart form to interpret the deficit in terms of damage to specific components of the model. The use of a box and arrow approach has continued in other areas as well as reading.

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