Cognitive Psychology Definition PaperWrite a 700- to 1,050-w…

Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper Write a 700- to 1,050-word paper in which you define cognitive psychology. Address the following: Identify at least four key milestones in the development of cognitive psychology as a discipline. Discuss the importance of behavioral observation in cognitive psychology. Format your paper according to APA guidelines. Purchase the answer to view it Purchase the answer to view it Purchase the answer to view it Purchase the answer to view it

Cognitive Psychology: A Historical Perspective and the Importance of Behavioral Observation


In the field of psychology, cognitive psychology is considered to be a fundamental and influential discipline that focuses on understanding the mental processes underlying human cognition. This paper aims to define cognitive psychology and explore its historical milestones, as well as discuss the importance of behavioral observation in advancing our understanding of cognitive processes. By clarifying the definition and highlighting key developments, this paper will provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of cognitive psychology from a historical standpoint.

Defining Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology can be defined as the scientific study of mental processes such as perception, attention, memory, language, problem-solving, and decision-making (Sternberg, 2012). It emphasizes examining how individuals perceive, acquire, and process information stored in their minds, thereby shaping behavior and mental states. Cognitive psychology draws on various methods to investigate these mental processes, including experiments, observations, and computational modeling. This approach allows researchers to delve into cognitive mechanisms and the structure of mental representations, shedding light on the complexities of human cognition.

Milestones in Cognitive Psychology

To grasp the evolution of cognitive psychology, it is crucial to identify key milestones that have shaped its development as a discipline. Four prominent milestones stand out:

1. The Cognitive Revolution in the 1950s:

The cognitive revolution marked a significant shift in psychological research. It emerged as a reaction to behaviorism, which focused solely on observable behavior and disregarded internal mental processes. Pioneering researchers such as Ulric Neisser and George Miller sought to explore and understand mental processes through a scientific lens. They advocated for the study of cognitive processes and influenced an entire generation of psychologists, setting the stage for cognitive psychology to emerge as a distinct field of study.

2. Information Processing Approach:

One crucial milestone in the development of cognitive psychology was the emergence of the information processing approach in the 1960s and 1970s. Inspired by computer science and its computational models, researchers began viewing the human mind as an information-processing system. Researchers such as Herbert Simon and Allen Newell emphasized the similarities between human cognition and computer processing, leading to the idea that the mind can be studied as a set of cognitive processes operating on symbolic representations.

3. The Cognitive Revolution in Cognitive Neuroscience:

The cognitive revolution in cognitive neuroscience occurring in the late 20th century further contributed to the advancement of cognitive psychology. As technology improved, researchers gained access to advanced brain imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG). These tools allowed researchers to study the neural correlates of cognitive processes, leading to a deeper understanding of the interplay between brain activity and mental processes.

4. The Development of Cognitive Developmental Psychology:

Another critical milestone encompassing cognitive psychology is the development of cognitive developmental psychology. Influential figures such as Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky significantly contributed to this development by studying how children’s thinking and cognitive capabilities evolve with age. Their research helped establish the foundation for understanding cognitive abilities and developmental changes, emphasizing the active role played by the mind in constructing knowledge and understanding.

The Importance of Behavioral Observation

Behavioral observation is a central component of cognitive psychology, playing a crucial role in the investigation and understanding of mental processes. By observing and analyzing behavior, researchers can infer and make inferences about cognitive processes underlying that behavior. This method allows for the examination of mental processes in real-world situations and serves as a basis for developing hypotheses and designing experiments to test cognitive theories.

One of the primary benefits of behavioral observation is the ability to study cognitive processes in naturalistic settings. Unlike laboratory experiments that isolate variables, observations in everyday environments provide valuable insights into how individuals navigate and interact with their environment. This approach captures the dynamic nature of cognition and provides a contextually rich understanding of cognitive processes.

In addition, behavioral observation allows researchers to study cognitive processes that individuals may not have conscious access to, such as implicit memory or unconscious biases. By observing behavior and analyzing performance on tasks, researchers can gain indirect insights into these underlying mental processes.

Another advantage of behavioral observation is its ability to provide quantitative data, such as reaction times or error rates, which can be analyzed statistically. These measurements allow for the empirical testing of cognitive theories and the establishment of reliable and valid findings in cognitive psychology.

Furthermore, behavioral observation can be combined with other methods, such as neuroimaging techniques, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of cognitive processes. Integrating behavioral data with physiological measurements provides a multidimensional perspective on cognitive functioning that can enhance our understanding of the underlying neural mechanisms.


Cognitive psychology, defined as the study of mental processes and their impact on behavior and mental states, has witnessed significant milestones in its development as a discipline. The cognitive revolution in the 1950s, the emergence of the information processing approach, the cognitive revolution in cognitive neuroscience, and the development of cognitive developmental psychology have shaped the field and deepened our understanding of the complexities of human cognition. Behavioral observation has emerged as a crucial tool in cognitive psychology, allowing researchers to study cognitive processes in naturalistic settings, explore implicit mental processes, collect quantitative data for empirical testing, and integrate with other methods for a more comprehensive understanding of cognition. By defining cognitive psychology and discussing its historical milestones and the importance of behavioral observation, this paper has provided an insightful overview of the field from a historic perspective.