Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology: Definition, History, 7 Methods, and Benefits of Studying It

Before taking a single understanding of cognitive psychology, there needs to be an underlying understanding of the two words, Cognitive Psychology itself consists of two basic words, namely Psychology and cognitive, and the following is the understanding of the word psychology and cognitive independently.

Cognitive Psychology Definition

Psychology definition

The first is the word “psychology”, the word psychology refers to the word “psycho” which means soul, and “logos” which has the meaning of science. And in its development then the term psychological means life sciences or often referred to as the study of psychiatric that learn about psychiatric symptoms. However, with the modernity of the era of psychology, then interpreted as a science that learns about human behavior.


While the understanding of cognition or cognitive is a science that learns about things experienced by humans, such as attitudes, ideas, expectations and so on. Apart from that there has been no general agreement on the wording of the cognition.

Cognitive Psychology Meaning

So, the definition of cognitive psychology is a science that in perspective specializes in the scope of the perspective of human memory thinking, this psychology illustrates that human beings are a process of information that actively resembles the motto of the computer world.

In the next definition, it is described that cognitive psychology is one of the branches of psychology that studies mental processes and generally discusses how to think, see, remember, and learn from a person. The main focus of cognitive psychology is on how humans obtain, process, and store information.

Some opinions suggest that the definition of cognitive psychology is the science of psychology that studies how the flow of information captured by one’s senses is then processed in the person’s soul before it is deposited in consciousness or manifested in the form of behavior, and basically cognitive psychology is things related to attitudes, ideas, expectations, and so on.

Cognitive Psychology History

18th century

  • Adherents of Empirism (George Berkeley, David Hume, James Mill, & John Stuart Mill) –> internal representation consists of 3 types: direct sensory events, events stored in memory, transformation of these events in the thought process.
  • David Hume (1860s) –> internal representations formed based on regulations can be defined and the formation and transformation requires time and effort.
  • Hume’s assumptions underlie most of today’s psychology.

19th century

  • Wundt (Germany) & Titchener (America) –> the structure of mental representation through their research related to introspection.
  • Brentano (Austria) –> the process or action of mental representation.
  • F.C Donders & James Cattell –> conducted experiments related to perception of visual display –> published an experimental report –> the beginning of the emergence of a new formal discipline (psi cognitive).

19th century

William James –> the first psychology laboratory at Harvard University, USA.

20th century

  • Birth behaviorism –> stimulus – response
  • Edward C. Tolman (1932) –> the concept of cognitive maps based on experiments of mice placed in mazes to find food.
  • Sir Frederick Bartlett (1932) Writing Remembering
  • Researching human memory –> What is remembered is related to the overall impression gained from a story or experience.
  • 1956 –> Born wave of cognitive revolution
  • George Miller (1956) –> pioneer of empirical evaluation of cognition.
  • Ulrich Neisser (1960s) –> wrote the first cognitive psychology textbook.
  • The official discipline of cognitive psychology appears.

Methods in Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychologists use a number of methods when studying cognitive phenomena. The research methods used by cognitive psychologists in exploring how humans think are as follows:

  • Controlled laboratory experiments on human behavior
  • Psychobiological research
  • Self-reports (such as verbal storytelling, self-assessment, diaries)
  • Case studies
  • Naturalistic observations
  • Computer simulation and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • While the purposes of research itself include data collection, data analysis, theoretical development, and formulation of hypothesis.

Benefits of Studying Cognitive Psychology

  • One major portion of human psychology studies
  • Help other branches of psychology (social, educational etc.)
  • Define and improve behavior (performance) and how the mind works.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Types, Benefits, Aims, and Preparation

Last Updated on December 8, 2020 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team