- Became unfashionable to talk about mental representations, consciousness, mental states
- Learning was emphasized, as was the relationship between inputs (stimuli) and outputs (responses)
Psychology as the Behaviorist sees it 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 . . . What we need to do is start work upon psychology making behavior, not consciousness, the
objective point of our attack. (Watson, 1913, pp.158, 176)
The Cognitive Revolution -
(1) Human factors engineering presented new problems: During wartime: equipment design required knowledge of
human cognition Focus: what is the most optimal way to design a machine for human use. Psychologists and engineers
thus developed the concept of person-machine system
Humans seen as to share properties with better known, inanimate communications channels and came to be described
as limited-capacity processors of information.
(2) Behaviourism failed to adequately explain language.
- Skinner (1957): children learn language by imitation and reinforcement (behaviourism)
- Chomsky (1959): questioned operant conditioning explanation of language
(3) Localization of function in the brain forced discussion of mind.
- Donald Hebb: some functions (e.g., perception) are based on cell assemblies
- Hubel & Weisel: demonstrated importance of early experience on development of nervous system (e.g., cats with
early experience of horizontal lines failed to later perceive vertical lines)
Behaviourism as a METHODOLOGY survived and thrives today with its emphasis on rigorously controlled
experiments and sophisticated analysis, replication, etc.…
Information Processing – The emphasis is on:
-Information FLOWs through the organism.
-Draws an analogy between human cognition and computerized processing of information (i.e.
people are general purpose symbol manipulators)
-Information is stored Symbolically
-Assumes that information is processed (received, stored, recoded, transformed, retrieved, and
transmitted) in stages and that it is stored in specific places while being processed.
-Thought of it “systems” of interrelated capacities
-Nature of the representations
-Nature of the processes that operate on these representations (serial processing.)