The scope of cognitive psychology
cognitive psychology understood as the scientiﬁc study of knowledge.
though, the relevance of cognitive psychology is far broader—thanks to the fact that a huge
range of our actions, thoughts, and feelings depend on knowledge.
clinical amnesia—cases in which someone, because of brain damage has lost the ability to
remember certain materials.
o EX: One well-studied amnesia patient was a man identiﬁed as H.M.
o survived for more than 50 years , those years, H.M. had no trouble remembering events
prior to the surgery, but he survived for more than 50 years after the operation. For all
of those years, H.M. had no trouble remembering events prior to the surgery, but he
o about his uncle.
Each of us has a conception of who we are, and of what sort of person we are, and that
conception is supported by numerous memories: We know whether we’re deserving of praise
for our good deeds or blame for our transgressions because we remember our good deeds and
our transgressions. EX: seem in H.M pigant comments about his state and about who he is.
In a sense, then, without a memory, there is no self.
We are starting to see, though, that “knowledge,” and hence the study of how we gain and use
knowledge, is relevant to a huge range of concerns. EX: self-concept, memories and even
conversations we have al rely on our knowledge.
The suggestion, then, is that cognitive psychology can help us understand capacities relevant to
virtually every moment of our lives.
Activities that don’t, on the surface, appear intellectual would nonetheless collapse without the
support of our cognitive functioning.
Cognitive psychology is 50 years old , and sometimes is spoken off as a “cognitive revolution”.
The years of instrospection.
Wilhelm Wundt (1832–1920) and his student Edward Bradford Titchener (1867–1927)—
launched the new enterprise of research psychology separate from philosophy and bio.
In Wundt’s and Titchener’s view, psychology needed to be concerned largely with the study of
conscious mental events—feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and recollections.
No one else can read ur thoughts so they concluded therefore, that the only way to study
thoughts is for each of us to introspect, or “look within,” to observe and record the content of
our own mental lives and the sequence of our own experiences.
introspectors had to be meticulously trained.
psychologists gradually became disenchanted with it, This conclusion follows from the fact that
introspection, by its nature, is the study of conscious experiences and so can tell us nothing
about unconscious events.
But there is also another and deeper problem with introspection: In order for any science to
proceed, there must be some way to test its claims; otherwise, we have no means of separating correct assertions from false ones, accurate descriptions of the world from ﬁctions. Hand in
hand with this requirement, science needs some way of resolving disagreements.
For science, we need objective observations.
n scientiﬁc discourse, we achieve this objectivity by making sure the raw data are out in plain
view, so that you can inspect my evidence, and I yours. In that way, we can be certain that
neither of us is distorting or misreporting or exaggerating the facts. And that is precisely what
we cannot do with introspection.
The years of Behaviorm
many psychologists, particularly those in the United States- Psychology could not be a science,
they argued, if it relied on this method.
researchers needed to focus on data that were out in the open, for all to observe.
o Could do that cuz of the following reasons:
Likewise, stimuli in the world are in the same “objective” category: These are measurable,
recordable, physical events.
Thus, my learning history can also be objectively recorded and scientiﬁcally studied.
In contrast, my beliefs, wishes, goals, and expectations are all things that cannot be directly
observed, cannot be objectively recorded. Hence, a scientiﬁc psychology needs to avoid these
invisible internal entities.
It was this perspective that led researchers to the behaviorist movement- concerned with how
behavior changes in response to various stimuli (including the stimuli we call “rewards” and
Many of these principles remain in place within contemporary psychology and provide the base
for an important enterprise called “learning theory,” as well as a wide range of practical
behavior could not be explained in these terms—that is, could not be explained with reference
only to objective, overt events (such as stimuli and responses). reason, to put it plainly, is that
the ways people act, and the ways that they feel, are guided by how they understand or
interpret the situation, and not by the objective situation itself.
e behaviorists’perspective demands that we not talk about mental entities such as beliefs,
memories, and so on but these subjective entities play a pivotal role in guiding behavior, and so
we must consider these entities if we want to understand behavior.
SALT EXAMPLE!! *
The roots of the cognitive revolution
If we wish to explain or predict behavior, we need to make reference to the mental world—This
is because how people act is shaped by how they perceive the situation, how they understand
the stimuli, and so on.
Immanuel Kant-transcendental method, you begin with the observable facts and then work
backward from these observations. This method, sometimes called “inference to best explanation,” is at the heart of most modern
EX:police detective uses clues—asking what the “crime” must have been like if it left this and
that clue. (A size 11 footprint? That probably tells us what size feet the criminal has, even
though no one observed his feet. A smell of tobacco smoke? That suggests the criminal was a
smoker. And so on.)
EX: electrons example.
can arrange for new experiments, with new measures. This prospect—of reproducing
experiments and varying the experiments to test hypotheses—is what gives science its power.
It’s what allows scientists to assert that their hypotheses have been rigorously tested, and it’s
what gives scientists assurance that their theories are correct.
SUMMARY: We know that we need to study mental pro-cesses; that’s what we learned from the
limitations of behaviorism. But we also know that mental processes cannot be observed directly;
we learned that from the downfall of introspection. Our path forward, therefore, is to study
mental processes indirectly, relying on the fact that these processes, themselves invisible, have
visible consequences: measurable delays in producing a response, performances that can be
assessed for accuracy, errors that can be scrutinized and categorized. By examining these (and
other) effects produced by mental processes, we can develop—and then test—hypotheses
about what the mental processes must have been.
Working memory: some initial observation.
reading right now, which consists of 23 words—are rather long. In these sentences, words that
must be understood together (such as “sentences . . . are . . . long”) are often widely separated.
How can u interrogate them together?
The obvious suggestion is that you’re relying on some form of memory that allows you to
remember the early words in the sentence as you forge ahead.
The form of memory proposed here is called working memory, to emphasize that this is the
memory you use for information that you are actively working on.
This instant availability is promoted by several factors, including, quite simply, working
memory’s size: Working memory is hypothesized to have a small capacity, and so, with only a
few items held in this store, you will never have a problem locating just the item you want.
Can we test this proposal? One way to measure working memory’s capacity is via a span test.