MEMORY АМD THINКING
Human memory and learning are intimately related since the development of an association between а stimulus and response requires some sort of retention. Some of our associations, such as conditioned reflexes, are hot at the conscious, but at the spinal level of association, although possibly they are 'remembered' there also. For most of the behaviour which distinguishes humans from animals (that is thinking and communicating through language) memory is located in the centre of the nervous system on cortex of the brain. We can think of memory as, analogous to some sort of filing cabinet system. Information received through the senses is stored and utilized as needed, within the limits of storage capacity and the personal efficiency for 'searching the files'. (Without this retention process there could be no learned behaviour). Our storage capacity seems to be an inflexible individual characteristic, but the efficiency with which the information is retrieved is а function of а number of influences. Three of these influences, which are general features in memory, are frequency, recency, and value.
74 Frequency refers, everything else being equal, to the tendency to remember those experiences which have happened most often. Experiences or events that occur infrequently are not remembered well. It is also clear that, everything else being equal, we remember the тоге recent events in contrast to those that occurred in earlier times.
Learning also influences our ability to recall our past experiences. When the learning takes place, how well is the material mastered? How frequently do the lessons occur, and what are the personal priorities we attach to the lessons? All these factors affect the extent to which we can" demonstrate our retention of information.
Thinking must, like memory, be inferred from public behaviour. Thinking is another so-called 'mental' activity, involving the manipulation of symbols, signs, concepts, or ideas, which are symbolically represented. Thinking is а process which is closely bound up with language.
То continue with the filing analogy, thinking is the term used to describe the various ways in which the information in storage is retrieved, scanned, examined, combined, and rearranged. We do not actually examine the objects (memories) on 'file', but we may sometimes refer to the verbal description of the remembered events. Memory, learning, thinking, and language are all intimately related processes. So far is this the сазе that а word may remind you of other words and conjure up images, whereas а perception may conjure up images and also remind you of а linguistic description.
Two types of thinking, i.e. convergent and divergent thinking, are processes of association between stimuli and responses which are acceptable according to different criteria. We may also make associations among ideas or experiences. When we are faced with а problem that we wish to solve we usually resort to convergent thinking, depending on our memory to bring forth the best answer that can serve as а'solution. If this effort is unrewarding we may resort to trial-and-error or perhaps use а hypothesis as а result of insight, i.e. we may be able to assemble our previous experiences in а' new way so that we understand the relationships required to solve the task. Our thinking process like many of the actions we perform, is very likely to become habitual and standardized. Most people find it very difficult to change their pattern of thinking, especially if their methods have previously been rewarding.
Through language we understand and communicate the symbols and concepts that we learn. The words in our language are learned initially by association with the objects or events they represent (extension), but we also acquire meaning of words through their relationship to other words and symbols. They are usually clear-cut labels and have only one meaning. The second class of symbols are connotive symbols, and they mark the way we intend to make people think about these things. Words like 'good', 'happy', 'worthwhile', are some of the connotive-type words used valuatively.
The essential link between thinking and language, we must repeat, comes about because we learn а great deal by description. We read about the experiences of others, of their verbal representations of other objects and ideas. We think by internal manipulation of language, and the very fact that we are able to associate а пате successfully with an object is clear evidence that our memory stores both the пате and а symbolic representation of the thing.
Let us look at just one piece of experiment on linguistic behaviour. Our vocabulary is composed of tens of thousands of words, including а great number of adjectives. We can use adjectives to qualify objects with such words as 'good'„'clean', 'large' and so on. Research has shown that our basic connotive vocabulary can be reduced to the three broad types of adjectives that most people use to describe their environment. The fundamental adjective types are:
Evaluation: i.e. good... bad
Potency: i.e. strong... weak
Activity: i.e. active... passive
These three pairs of adjectives are the basic meanings that we seem to apply to many of the objects we perceive, learn, and think about. The whole field of relationship of symbols and language is the communication process by which human knowledge is recorded and developed.
Language makes it possible for each generation to learn for itself what other generations had learned earlier. Knowledge is cumulative, otherwise each generation would have to learn for itself, for example, all of the principles of science. Cognition is the mental process by which we learn, think, and remember, and we use language to describe and understand the world around us.
(L.S. Skurnik, F. Reorge. «Psychology for Everyman». Penguin Books, 1972, рр. 46 — 49)
Translate the following sentences and word combinations into Russian. (The exercise is to be done orally):
to retain information; to retain knowledge; to retain the exciting news; the mechanism of retention; to store facts; to store data; the brain is the place where а great deal of information is stored; storage capacity;
to have good intellectual capacities; our memory has а great storage capacity';
efficiency in performance; efficiency in memorizing facts and figures;
recent events; а recent trial; а recent experiment;
to value one' s views; to value one' s opinion; valuable facts; valuable data; valuable information; information value;
historical events; recent events; to remember better frequent and recent events;
to involve new data; to involve one' s consciousness, to involve one' s memory; to involve thinking;
the image of the world around us; the image of а concept; image memory; а visual image;
to study the pattern of one' s behaviour; to influence one' s pattern of thinking; to depend on the pattern of memorizing new data; the pattern of movement;
the younger generation; the older generation; several generations of experimental animals.
V. Translate the following sentences from Russian into English using the active vocabulary:
1. Мы удерживаем в памяти только часть получаемой информации. 2. Сохранение в памяти многочисленной информации — чрезвычайно сложный процесс. 3. В его памяти хранится самая разнообразная информация. 4. В памяти хранятся наиболее важные сведения. 5. У разных людей различный объем памяти. 6. Как правило, у детей хорошая восприимчивость к учению. 7. Он — человек больших способностей. 8. Новые эффективные методы обучения нашли широкое применение в нашей школе. 9. Много квалифицированных преподавателей работает в нашем университете. 10. Лечение оказалось эффективным.
"The Indigo Children is a helpful and informative book. I highly recommend it."
HAROLD H. BLOOMFIELD, M.D. - Bestselling author of Healing Anxiety Naturally.
EXCERPT - The Indigo Children
As you begin to read this, you might be thinking, "What now, another 'doom and gloom' book about how society is changing our kids?" No. This is perhaps the most exciting, albeit odd, change in basic human nature that has ever been observed and documented in a society which has the tools to do so. We ask you to discern for yourselves as you read on.
Jan and I are national self-help lecturers and authors. In the last six years we have traveled the world speaking in front of large and small groups alike We have dealt with all ages and many cultures representing many languages. My boys are grown and left the nest. Jan never had children, but somehow felt that someday she would be working with them (she was right). Of the six published books, none are about children because our work does not focus there. How is it, therefore, that we are authoring a book on this very subject?
When you are counsellors, and you spend close personal time with people, you cannot help but notice emerging patterns of human behavior, which then become staples of your work. Our work, like that of Louise Hay who published this book, is about self empowerment and the raising of self esteem. It enables people to hope, giving them the power to lift themselves above the level of who they "thought" they were. It also involves spiritual healing (not religion), and encourages self examination for the purpose of finding the "God within" first, before searching for any outside source. It speaks of self-healing, as well as independence from worry, in a changing and worry-prone world. It's tremendously rewarding work - but it makes us notice things.
Some years ago, people started to talk about specific troubles with their kids. So what else is new? Children are often the greatest blessing in a life, and also the greatest challenge. Many books have been written about good parenting and child psychology, but what we noticed was different.
We started hearing more and more about a new kind of child, or at least a new kind of problem for the parent. The difficulties were odd in nature, in that they represented an interchange between adult and child that was unexpected and seemingly atypical of what our generation had experienced. We ignored it until we started hearing it from the professionals who deal specifically with children. They also were reporting similar challenges. Many were exasperated and at their wit's end. Day-care workers all over the nation, some of whom had worked in their profession for over thirty years, were also telling us the same kind of stories about how things were somehow different with the kids. Then we saw something that was horrifying. When these "new" problems became acute, there was an overwhelming propensity to solve the issue by legally drugging the child!
At first, we assumed that this
was a cultural attribute, reflecting a changing
Jan and I work with individual issues and stay away from politics or even environmental "causes." It's not that we aren't interested, but rather that our focus as councilors and lecturers is truly about helping men and women personally (even though we often speak to them in large groups). Our premise has always been that each balanced human who has a positive outlook and exudes well-being is able to make whatever changes necessary in a very powerful way. In other words, even vast sweeping social change has to start inside the mind and heart of one person at a time.
Additionally, we assumed that even if there were great changes going on with the kids, professionals and researchers would communicate about this within their industry - that the "pros" would also be observing this event. Years ago we expected to see reports and articles on "attributes of the new kids" in elementary educational and day-care periodicals. It didn't happen - at least not on a scale that would draw much attention, and not in a way for parents to be helped or informed.
Because it didn't happen, we were reinforced in our original notion that our own observations were probably not as wide spread as we had thought, and again, children are not our focus. It took several years for us to change our minds and decide that someone had to at least assemble the information and report it, no matter how strange it seemed. It was there!
As you can see, a number of factors brought about this book, which you should know about before you blindly take our word for something that is going to fall into the category of "happening all around us - but unexplainable."
We have now realized the following.
For all these reasons, we are stepping out on a limb and giving you the best information we can about what we have observed on a subject that is undoubtedly controversial for many reasons. As far as we know, this is the first book that is entirely dedicated to the Indigo Child. While reading this, many will relate to what is presented, and we fully expect the subject to be explored more fully in the future by those more qualified.
Psychology evolved out of both philosophy and biology. Such discussions of the two subjects date as far back as the early Greek thinkers such as Aristotle and Socrates. The word psychology is derived from the Greek word psyche, meaning 'soul' or 'mind.'
The field and study of
psychology was truly born when Wilhelm Wundt established the
first psychology lab in
Throughout psychology's history, a number of different school of thought have thought have formed to explain human thought and behavior. These schools of thought often rise to dominance for a period of time. While these schools of thought are sometimes perceived as competing forces, each perspective has contributed to our understanding of psychology. The following are some of the major schools of thought in psychology.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Structuralism
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Functionalism
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Psychoanalysis
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Behaviorism
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Humanism
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Cognitivism
Today, psychologists prefer to
use more objective scientific methods to understand, explain, and predict human
behavior. Psychological studies are highly structured, beginning with a
hypothesis that is then empirically tested. Psychology has two major areas of
focus: academic psychology and applied psychology. Academic psychology focuses
on the study of different sub-topics within psychology including personality
psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology.
These psychologists conduct basic research that seeks to expand our theoretical knowledge, while other researchers conduct applied research that seeks to solve everyday problems. Applied psychology focuses on the use of different psychological principles to solve real world problems. Examples of applied areas of psychology include forensic psychology, ergonomics, and industrial-organizational psychology. Many other psychologists work as therapists, helping people overcome mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders.
As psychology moved away from its philosophical roots, psychologists began to employ more and more scientific methods to study human behavior. Today, researchers employ a variety of scientific methods, including experiments, correlational studies, longitudinal studies, and others to test, explain, and predict behavior.
Psychology is a broad and diverse field. A number of different subfields and specialty areas have emerged. The following are some of the major areas of research and application within psychology:
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Abnormal Psychology is the study of abnormal behavior and psychopathology. This specialty area is focused on research and treatment of a variety of mental disorders and is linked to psychotherapy and clinical psychology. Mental health professional typically utilize the Diagnosistic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) to diagnose mental disorders.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Biological Psychology, also known as biopsychology, studies how biological processes influence the mind and behavior. This area is closely linked to neuroscience and utilizes tools such as MRI and PET scans to look at brain injury or brain abnormalities.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Clinical Psychology is focused on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Cognitive Psychology is the study of human thought processes and cognitions. Cognitive psychologists study topics such as attention, memory, perception, decision-making, problem solving, and language acquisition.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Comparative Psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the study of animal behavior. The study of animal behavior can lead to a deeper and broader understanding of human psychology.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Developmental Psychology is the branch of psychology that looks at human growth and development over the lifespan. Theories often focus on the development of cognitive abilities, morality, social functioning, identity, and other life areas.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Forensic Psychology is an applied field focused on using psychological research and principles in the legal and criminal justice system.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Industrial-Organizational Psychology is the area of psychology that uses psychological research to enhance work performance, select employee, improve product design, and enhance usability.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Personality Psychology looks at the various elements that make up individual personalities. Well-known personality theories include Freud’s structural model of personality and the "Big Five" theory of personality.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> School Psychology is the branch of psychology that works within the educational system to help children with emotional, social, and academic issues.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Social Psychology is a discipline that uses scientific methods to study social influence, social perception, and social interaction. Social psychology studies diverse subjects including group behavior, social perception, leadership, nonverbal behavior, conformity, aggression, and prejudice.
The study and practice of
psychology encompasses a vast range of topics and a large number of subfields
and specialty areas have developed as a result. Because human behavior is so
varied, the number of subfields in psychology is constantly growing and
Psychology can be roughly divided into two major sections: research, which seeks to increase our knowledge base, and practice, through which our knowledge is applied to solving problems in the real world.
Because psychology touches on a number of other subjects including biology, philosophy, anthropology, and sociology, new areas of research and practice are continually forming. Some of these subfields have been firmly established as areas of interest, and many colleges and universities offer courses and degree programs in these topics.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> This area of psychology is known by a number of titles including behavioral neuroscience, psychobiology, and neuropsychology.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Biopsychologists study the relationship between the brain and behavior, such as how the brain and nervous system impact our thoughts, feeling, and moods.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> This field can be thought of as a combination of basic psychology and neuroscience.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Clinical psychology is the largest specialty area in psychology.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> These psychologists apply psychological principles and research to assess, diagnose, and treat patients with mental and emotional illnesses.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Clinicians often work in private practices, but many also work in community centers or at universities and colleges.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Developmental psychologists study the physical and cognitive development that occurs over the course of the lifespan.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> These psychologists generally specialize in an area such as infant, child, adolescent, or geriatric development, while others may study the effects of developmental delays.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Forensic psychologists apply psychological principles to legal issues.
This may involve studying criminal behavior and treatments, or working directly in the court system.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Forensic psychologists often conduct evaluations, screen witnesses, or provide testimony in court cases.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Psychologists in this field apply psychological principles to research on workplace issues such as productivity and behavior.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Some psychologists in this field work in areas such as human factors, ergonomics, and human-computer interaction.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Research in this field is known as applied research because it seeks to solve real world problems.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Personality psychologists study the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior that make each person unique.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> These psychologists often work in academic settings as instructors or researchers.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Social psychologists study social behaviors, including how individual self-image and behavior is impacted by interactions with others.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> These psychologists often conduct research in academic setting, but others work in such areas such as advertising and government.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> School psychologists work within the educational system to help children with emotional, social, and academic issues.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> These psychologists collaborate with teachers, parents, and students to find solutions to academic, social, and emotional problems.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Most school psychologists work in elementary and secondary schools, but others work in private clinics, hospitals, state agencies, and universities. Some go into private practice and serve as consultants, especially those with a doctoral degree in school psychology.
When most people think of scientific experimentation, research on cause and effect is most often brought to mind. Experiments on causal relationships investigate the effect of one or more variables on one or more outcome variables. This type of research also determines if one variable causes another variable to occur or change. An example of this type of research would be altering the amount of a treatment and measuring the effect on study participants.
Descriptive research seeks to depict what already exists in a group or population. An example of this type of research would be an opinion poll to determine which Presidential candidate people plan to vote for in the next election. Descriptive studies do not seek to measure the effect of a variable; they seek only to describe.
A theory is a well-established principle that has been developed to
explain some aspect of the natural word. A theory arises from repeated
observation and testing and incorporates facts, laws, predictions, and tested
hypotheses that are widely accepted.
A hypothesis is a specific, testable prediction about what you expect to happen in your study. For example, a study designed to look at the relationship between study habits and test anxiety might have a hypothesis that states, “This study is designed to assess the hypothesis that students with better study habits will suffer less test anxiety.” Unless your study is exploratory in nature, your hypothesis should always explain what you expect to happen during the course of your experiment or research.
While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably in general practice, the difference between a theory and a hypothesis is important when studying experimental design.
Some important distinctions to note include:
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> A theory predicts events in general terms, while a hypothesis makes a specific prediction about a specified set of circumstances.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> A theory is has been extensively tested and is generally accepted, while a hypothesis is a speculative guess that has yet to be tested.
Contemporary psychology is interested in an enormous range of topics, looking a human behavior and mental process from the neural level to the cultural level. Psychologists study human issues that begin before birth and continue until death. By understanding the history of psychology, you can gain a better understanding of how these topics are studied and what we have learned thus far.
From its earliest beginnings, psychology has been faced with a number of different questions. The initial question of how to define psychology helped establish it as a science separate from physiology and philosophy. Additional questions that psychologists have faced throughout history include:
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> What topics and issues should psychology be concerned with?
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> What research methods should be used to study psychology?
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Should psychologists use research to influence public policy, education, and other aspects of human behavior?
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Is psychology really a science? Should psychology focus on observable behaviors, or on internal mental processes?
While psychology did not
emerge as a separate discipline until the late 1800s, its earliest history can
be traced back to the time of the early Greeks. During the 17th-century, the
French philosopher Rene Descartes introduced the idea of dualism, which
asserted that the mind and body were two separate entities that interact to
form the human experience. Many other issues still debated by psychologists
today, such as the relative contributions of nature vs. nurture, are rooted in
these early philosophical traditions.
So what makes psychology different from philosophy? While early philosophers relied on methods such as observation and logic, today’s psychologists utilize scientific methodologies to study and draw conclusions about human thought and behavior. Physiology also contributed to psychology’s eventual emergence as a scientific discipline. Early physiology research on brain and behavior had a dramatic impact on psychology, ultimately contributing to the application of scientific methodologies to the study of human thought and behavior.
During the mid-1800s, a German
physiologist named Wilhelm Wundt was using
scientific research methods to investigate reaction times. His book published
in 1874, Principles of Physiological
Psychology, outlined many of the major connections between the science
of physiology and the study of human thought and behavior. He later opened the
first world’s first psychology lab in 1879 at the
How did Wundt view psychology? He perceived the subject as the study of human consciousness and sought to apply experimental methods to studying internal mental processes. While his use of a process known as introspection is seen as unreliable and unscientific today, his early work in psychology helped set the stage for future experimental methods. An estimated 17,000 students attended Wundt’s psychology lectures, and hundreds more pursued degrees in psychology and studied in his psychology lab. While his influence dwindled in the years to come, his impact on psychology is unquestionable.
Edward B. Titchener,
one of Wundt’s most famous students, would go on to
found psychology’s first major school of thought. According to the structuralists, human consciousness could be broken down
into much smaller parts. Using a process known as introspection, trained
subjects would attempt to break down their responses and reactions to the most
basic sensation and perceptions.
While structuralism is notable for its emphasis on scientific research, its methods were unreliable, limiting, and subjective. When Titchener died in 1927, structuralism essentially died with him.
Psychology flourished in
American during the mid- to late-1800s. William James emerged as one of the major
American psychologists during this period and the publication of his classic
textbook, The Principles of Psychology,
established him as the father of American psychology. His book soon became the
standard text in psychology and his ideas eventually served as the basis for a
new school of thought known as functionalism.
The focus of functionalism was on how behavior actually works to help people live in their environment. Functionalists utilized methods such as direct observation. While both of these early schools of thought emphasized human consciousness, their conceptions of it were significantly different. While the structuralists sought to break down mental processes into their smallest parts, the functionalists believed that consciousness existed as a more continuous and changing process. While functionalism is no longer a separate school of thought, it would go on to influence later psychologists and theories of human thought and behavior.
Up to this point, early
psychology stressed conscious human experience. An Austrian physician named Sigmund Freud changed the face of
psychology in a dramatic way, proposing a theory of personality that emphasized
the importance of the unconscious mind. Freud’s clinical work with patients
suffering from hysteria and other ailments led him to believe that early
childhood experiences and unconscious impulses contributed to the development
of adult personality and behavior.
In his book The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Freud detailed how these unconscious thoughts and impulses are expressed, often through slips of the tongue and dreams. According to Freud, psychological disorders are the result of these unconscious conflicts becoming extreme or unbalanced.
PsychologyNYTimes.com's Knowledge Network has access to all the Times storieswww.nytimes.com/college
The psychoanalytic theory proposed by Sigmund Freud had a tremendous impact on 20th-century thought, influencing the mental health field as well as other areas including art, literature, and popular culture. While many of his ideas are viewed with skepticism today, his influence on psychology is undeniable.
dramatically during the early 20th-century as another school of thought known
as behaviorism rose to dominance.
Behaviorism was a major change from previous theoretical perspectives,
rejecting the emphasis on both the conscious and unconscious mind. Instead,
behaviorism strove to make psychology a more scientific discipline by focusing
purely on observable behavior.
Behaviorism had it’s earliest start with the work of a Russian physiologist named Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov’s research on the digestive systems of dogs led to his discovery of the classical conditioning process, which demonstrated that behaviors could be learned via conditioned associations.
Pavlov demonstrated that this
learning process could be used to make and association between and environmental
stimulus and a naturally occurring stimulus.
An American psychologist named John B. Watson soon became one of the strongest advocates of behaviorism. Initially outlining the basics principles of this new school of thought in his 1913 paper Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It, Watson later went on to offer a definition in his classic book Behaviorism (1924), writing:
“Behaviorism…holds that the subject matter of human psychology is the behavior of the human being. Behaviorism claims that consciousness is neither a definite nor a usable concept. The behaviorist, who has been trained always as an experimentalist, holds, further, that belief in the existence of consciousness goes back to the ancient days of superstition and magic.
The impact of behaviorism was
enormous, and this school of thought continued to dominate for the next 50
years. Psychologist B.F. Skinner furthered the behaviorist
perspective with his concept of operant conditioning, which
demonstrated the effect of punishment and reinforcement on behavior.
While behaviorism eventually lost its hold on psychology, the basic principles of behavioral psychology are still widely in use today. Therapeutic techniques such as behavioral modification and token economies are often utilized to help children learn new skills and overcome maladaptive behaviors, while conditioning is used in many situations ranging from parenting to education.
While the first half of the
twentieth-century was dominated by psychoanalysis and behaviorism, a new school
of thought known as humanistic psychology emerged during the
second half of the century. Often referred to as the “third force” in
psychology, this theoretical perspective emphasized conscious experiences.
American psychologist Carl Rogers is often considered the founding father of this school of thought. While psychoanalysts looked at unconscious impulses and behaviorists focused purely on environmental causes,
As you have seen in this brief
overview of psychology’s history, this discipline has seen dramatic growth and
change since its official beginnings in Wundt’s lab.
The story certainly does not end here. Psychology has continued to evolve since
1960 and new ideas and perspectives have been introduced. Recent research in
psychology looks at many aspects of the human experience, from the biological
influences on behavior to the impact of social and cultural factors.
Today, the majority of psychologists do not identify themselves with a single school of thought. Instead, they often focus on a particular specialty area or perspective, often drawing on ideas from a range of theoretical backgrounds. This eclectic approach has contributed new ideas and theories that will continue to shape psychology for years to come.
Psychology is a broad and varied subject. This breadth and diversity of thought can be seen by looking as some of the best known thinkers in psychology. While each theorist may have been part of an overriding school of thought, each brought a unique and individual voice and perspective to the field of psychology.
A study that appeared in the July 2002 issue of the Review of General Psychology created a ranking of the 99 most influential psychologists. The rankings were mostly based on three factors: the frequency of journal citations, introductory textbook citations, and the survey responses of 1,725 members of the American Psychological Association.
The following list provides an overview of 10 psychologists from this ranking survey. These individuals are not only some of the best-known thinkers in psychology, they also played an important role in psychology’s history and made important contributions to our understanding of human behavior.
1. B. F. Skinner:
In the 2002 study ranking the 99 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century, B.F. Skinner topped the list. Skinner’s staunch behaviorism made him a dominating force in psychology and therapy techniques based on his theories are still used extensively today, including behavior modification and token economies.
2. Sigmund Freud:
When people think of psychology, many tend to think of Freud. His work supported the belief that not all mental illnesses have physiological causes and he also offered evidence that cultural differences have an impact on psychology and behavior. His work and writings contributed to our understanding of personality, clinical psychology, human development, and abnormal psychology.
3. Albert Bandura :
Bandura’s work is considered part of the cognitive revolution in psychology that began in the late 1960s. His social learning theory stressed the importance of observational learning, imitation, and modeling. "Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do,” Bandura explained in his 1977 book Social Learning Theory.
4. Jean Piaget:
Jean Piaget's work had a profound influence on psychology, especially our understanding children's intellectual development. His research contributed to the growth of developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, genetic epistemology, and education reform. Albert Einstein once described Piaget's observations on children's intellectual growth and thought processes as a discovery "so simple that only a genius could have thought of it."
5. Carl Rogers:
Carl Rogers’s emphasis on human potential had an enormous influence on both psychology and education. He became one of the major humanist thinkers and an eponymous influence in therapy with his ‘Rogerian therapy.’ As described by his daughter Natalie Rogers, he was “a model for compassion and democratic ideals in his own life, and in his work as an educator, writer, and therapist.”
6. William James:
Psychologist and philosopher William James is often referred to as the father of American psychology. His 1200-page text, The Principles of Psychology, became a classic on the subject and his teachings and writings helped establish psychology as a science. In addition, James contributed to functionalism, pragmatism, and influenced many students of psychology during his 35-year teaching career.
7. Erik Erikson:
Erik Erikson's stage theory of psychosocial development helped create interest and research on
human development through the lifespan. An ego psychologist who studied with
Anna Freud, Erikson expanded psychoanalytic theory by
exploring development throughout the life, including events of childhood,
adulthood, and old age.
8. Ivan Pavlov:
Ivan Pavlov was a Russian
physiologist whose research on conditioned reflexes influenced the rise of
behaviorism in psychology. Pavlov's experimental methods helped move psychology
away from introspection and subjective assessments to objective measurement of
9. Kurt Lewin:
There are two types of time dimensions that can be used in designing a research study.
<![if !supportLists]> 1. <![endif]> Cross-sectional research takes place at a single point in time.
<![if !supportLists]> o <![endif]> All tests, measures, or variables are administered to participants on one occasion.
<![if !supportLists]> o <![endif]> This type of research seeks to gather data on present conditions instead of looking at the effects of a variable over a period of time.
<![if !supportLists]> 2. <![endif]> Longitudinal research is a study that takes place over a period of time.
<![if !supportLists]> o <![endif]> Data is first collected at the outset of the study, and may then be gathered repeatedly throughout the length of the study.
<![if !supportLists]> o <![endif]> Some longitudinal studies may occur over a short period of time, such as a few days, while others may take place over a period of decades.
<![if !supportLists]> o <![endif]> The effects of aging are often investigated using longitudinal research.
What do we mean when we talk
about a “relationship” between variables? In psychological research, we are
referring to a connection between two or more factors that we can measure or
One of the most important distinctions to make when discussing the relationship between variables is the meaning of causation.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> A causal relationship is when one variable causes a change in another variable. These types of relationships are investigated by experimental research in order to determine if changes in one variable truly causes changes in another variable.
A correlation is the measurement of the relationship between two variables. These variables already occur in the group or population and are not controlled by the experimenter.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> A positive correlation is a direct relationship where as the amount of one variable increases, the amount of a second variable also increases.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> In a negative correlation, as the amount of one variable goes up, the levels of another variable go down.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> In both types of correlation, there is no evidence or proof that changes in one variable cause changes in the other variable. A correlation simply indicates that there is a relationship between the two variables.
The most important concept to take from this is that correlation does not equal causation.
Many popular media sources make the mistake of assuming that simply because two variables are related that there a causal relationship exists.
Psychologists study the human
mind and human behavior. Research psychologists investigate the physical,
cognitive, emotional, or social aspects of human behavior. Psychologists in
health service provider fields provide mental health care in hospitals,
clinics, schools, or private settings. Psychologists employed in applied
settings, such as business, industry, government, or nonprofits, provide
training, conduct research, design systems, and act as advocates for
Like other social scientists, psychologists formulate hypotheses and collect data to test their validity. Research methods vary with the topic under study.
Psychologists sometimes gather
information through controlled laboratory experiments or by administering
personality, performance, aptitude, or intelligence tests. Other methods
include observation, interviews, questionnaires, clinical studies, and surveys.
Psychologists apply their knowledge to a wide range of endeavors, including health and human services, management, education, law, and sports. In addition to working in a variety of settings, psychologists usually specialize in one of a number of different areas.
Clinical psychologists--who constitute the largest specialty—work most often
in counseling centers, independent or group practices, hospitals, or clinics.
They help mentally and emotionally disturbed clients adjust to life and may
assist medical and surgical patients in dealing with illnesses or injuries.
Some clinical psychologists work in physical rehabilitation settings, treating
patients with spinal cord injuries, chronic pain or illness, stroke, arthritis,
and neurological conditions. Others help people deal with times of personal
crisis, such as divorce or the death of a loved one.
Clinical psychologists often interview patients and give diagnostic tests.
They may provide individual, family, or group psychotherapy and may
design and implement behavior modification programs. Some clinical
psychologists collaborate with physicians and other specialists to develop and
implement treatment and intervention programs that patients can understand and
comply with. Other clinical psychologists work in universities and medical
schools, where they train graduate students in the delivery of mental health
and behavioral medicine services. Some administer community mental health
Areas of specialization within clinical psychology include health psychology, neuropsychology, and geropsychology. Health psychologists promote good health through health maintenance counseling programs designed to help people achieve goals, such as stopping smoking or losing weight. Neuropsychologists study the relation between the brain and behavior. They often work in stroke and head injury programs. Geropsychologists deal with the special problems faced by the elderly. The emergence and growth of these specialties reflects the increasing participation of psychologists in providing direct services to special patient populations.
Often, clinical psychologists will consult with other medical personnel regarding the best treatment for patients, especially treatment that includes medication. Clinical psychologists generally are not permitted to prescribe medication to treat patients; only psychiatrists and other medical doctors may prescribe certain medications. However, two States—
Counseling psychologists use various techniques, including interviewing and
testing, to advise people on how to deal with problems of everyday living. They
work in settings such as university counseling centers, hospitals, and
individual or group practices.
School psychologists work with students in elementary and secondary schools. They collaborate with teachers, parents, and school personnel to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students; address students’ learning and behavior problems; improve classroom management strategies or parenting skills; counter substance abuse; assess students with learning disabilities and gifted and talented students to help determine the best way to educate them; and improve teaching, learning, and socialization strategies.
They also may evaluate the
effectiveness of academic programs, prevention programs, behavior management
procedures, and other services provided in the school setting.
Industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychological principles and research methods to the workplace in the interest of improving productivity and the quality of worklife. They also are involved in research on management and marketing problems. They screen, train and counsel applicants for jobs, as well as perform organizational development and analysis. An industrial psychologist might work with management to reorganize the work setting in order to improve productivity or quality of life in the workplace. Industrial psychologists frequently act as consultants, brought in by management to solve a particular problem.
Developmental psychologists study the physiological, cognitive, and social development that takes place throughout life. Some specialize in behavior during infancy, childhood, and adolescence, or changes that occur during maturity or old age. Developmental psychologists also may study developmental disabilities and their effects. Increasingly, research is developing ways to help elderly people remain independent as long as possible.
Social psychologists examine people’s interactions with others and with the social environment. They work in organizational consultation, marketing research, systems design, or other applied psychology fields. Prominent areas of study include group behavior, leadership, attitudes, and perception.
Experimental or research psychologists work in university and private research centers and in business, nonprofit, and governmental organizations. They study the behavior of both human beings and animals, such as rats, monkeys, and pigeons. Prominent areas of study in experimental research include motivation, thought, attention, learning and memory, sensory and perceptual processes, effects of substance abuse, and genetic and neurological factors affecting behavior.
Behavioral psychology, also
known as behaviorism, is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all
behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning occurs through
interaction with the environment. According to behaviorism, behavior can be
studied in a systematic and observable manner with no consideration of internal
There are two major types of conditioning:
<![if !supportLists]> 1. <![endif]> Classical conditioning is a technique used in behavioral training in which a naturally occurring stimulus is paired with a response. Next, a previously neutral stimulus is paired with the naturally occurring stimulus. Eventually, the previously neutral stimulus comes to evoke the response without the presence of the naturally occurring stimulus.
<![if !supportLists]> 2. <![endif]> Operant conditioning Operant conditioning (sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning) is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Ivan Pavlov
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> B. F. Skinner
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Edward Thorndike
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> John Watson
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Clark Hull
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> 1863 - Ivan Sechenov's Reflexes of the Brain was published. Sechenov introduced the concept of inhibitory responses in the central nervous system.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> 1900 - Ivan Pavlov began studying the salivary response and other reflexes.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> 1913 - John Watson's Psychology as a Behaviorist Views It was published. The article outlined the many of the main points of behaviorism.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> 1920 - Watson and assistant Rosalie Rayner conducted the famous "Little Albert" experiment.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> 1943 - Clark Hull's Principles of Behavior was published.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> 1948 - B.F. Skinner published Walden II in which he described a utopian society founded upon behaviorist principles.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> 1959 - Noam Chomsky published his criticism of Skinner's behaviorism, "Review of Verbal Behavior."
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> 1971 - B.F. Skinner published his book Beyond Freedom and Dignity, where he argues that free will is an illusion.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Many critics argue that behaviorism is a one-dimensional approach to behavior and that behavioral theories do not account for free will and internal influences such as moods, thoughts, and feelings.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Behaviorism does not account for other types of learning, especially learning that occurs without the use of reinforcements or punishments.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> People and animals are able to adapt their behavior when new information is introduced, even if a previous behavior pattern has been established through reinforcement.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Behaviorism is based upon observable behaviors, so it is easier to quantify and collect data and information when conducting research.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Effective therapeutic techniques such as intensive behavioral intervention, token economies, and discrete trial training are all rooted in behaviorism. These approaches are often very useful in changing maladaptive or harmful behaviors in both children and adults.
Personality is made up the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior that make a person unique. Personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life. You can learn more about the basic components of personality in the following article: What is Personality?
Theories of Personality:
A number of different theories have emerged to explain different aspects of personality. Some theories focus on explaining how personality develops while others are concerned with individual differences in personality. The following are just a few of the major theories of personality proposed by different psychologists: Trait Theories
Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development
Learn more about Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development. According to Erikson, each stage plays a major role in the development of personality and psychological skills.
Horney’s Theory of Neurotic Needs
Theorist Karen Horney developed a list of neurotic needs that arise from overusing coping strategies to deal with basic anxiety. Learn more about these neurotic needs described by Horney.
An estimated 10 to 15% of adults in the
You can find a number of personality tests here on the About Psychology site. These tests and quizzes are designed to give readers an idea of how formal assessments are used. However, these personality tests are not intended for use in assessment or diagnosis.
Almost everyday we describe and assess the personalities of the people around us. Whether we realize it or not, these daily musings on how and why people behave as they do are similar to what personality psychologists do.
While our informal assessments of personality tend to focus more on individuals, personality psychologists instead use conceptions of personality that can apply to everyone. Personality research has led to the development of a number of theories that help explain how and why certain personality traits develop.
While there are many different theories of personality, the first step is to understand exactly what is meant by the term personality. A brief definition would be that personality is made up the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make a person unique.
In addition to this,
personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent
Some of the fundamental characteristics of personality include:
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Consistency - There is generally a recognizable order and regularity to behaviors. Essentially, people act in the same ways or similar ways in a variety of situations.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Psychological and physiological - Personality is a psychological construct, but research suggests that it is also influenced by biological processes and needs.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Impact behaviors and actions - Personality does not just influence how we move and respond in our environment; it also causes us to act in certain ways.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Multiple expressions - Personality is displayed in more than just behavior. It can also be seen in out thoughts, feelings, close relationships, and other social interactions.
There are a number of different theories about how personality develops. Different schools of thought in psychology influence many of these theories. Some of these major perspectives on personality include:
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Type theories are the early perspectives on personality. These theories suggested that there are a limited number of "personality types" which are related to biological influences.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Trait theories viewed personality as the result of internal characteristics that are genetically based.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Psychodynamic theories of personality are heavily influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud, and emphasize the influence of the unconscious on personality. Psychodynamic theories include Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual stage theory and Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Behavioral theories suggest that personality is a result of interaction between the individual and the environment. Behavioral theorists study observable and measurable behaviors, rejecting theories that take internal thoughts and feelings into account. Behavioral theorists include B. F. Skinner and John Watson.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Humanist theories emphasize the importance of free will and individual experience in the development of personality. Humanist theorists include Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.
The developmental changes that
occur from birth to adulthood were largely ignored throughout much of history.
Children were often viewed simply as small versions of adults and little
attention was paid to the many advances in cognitive abilities, language usage,
and physical growth. Interest in the field of child development began early in
the 20th-century and tended to focus on abnormal behavior.
The following are just a few of the many theories of child development that have been proposed by theorists and researchers. More recent theories outline the developmental stages of children and identify the typical ages at which these growth milestones occur.
The theories proposed by Sigmund Freud stressed the importance of childhood events and experiences, but almost exclusively focus on mental disorders rather that normal functioning.
According to Freud, child development is described as a series of 'psychosexual stages.' In "Three Essays on Sexuality" (1915), Freud outlined these stages as oral, anal, phallic, latency period, and genital. Each stage involves the satisfaction of a libidinal desire and can later play a role in adult personality. Learn more in this article on Freud’s stages of psychosexual development.
Theorist Erik Erikson also proposed a stage theory of development, but his theory encompassed development throughout the human lifespan. Erikson believed that each stage of development is focused on overcoming a conflict. Success or failure in dealing with conflicts can impact overall functioning. Learn more about this theory in this article on Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development.
Theorist Jean Piaget suggested that children think differently than adults and proposed a stage theory of cognitive development. He was the first to note that children play an active role in gaining knowledge of the world. Learn more in this article on Piaget’s stages of cognitive development.
Behavioral theories of development focus on how environmental interaction influences behavior and are based upon the theories of theorists such as Watson, Pavlov, and Skinner. These theories deal only with observable behaviors. Development is considered a reaction to rewards, punishments, stimuli, and reinforcement. Learn more about these behavioral theories in these articles on classical conditioning and operant conditioning.
There is a great deal of research on the social development of children. John Bowbly proposed one of the earliest theories of social development. Bowlby believed that early relationships with caregivers play a major role in child development and continue to influence social relationships throughout life. Learn more in this overview of attachment theory.
According to psychologist
Gordon Allport, social psychology is a discipline
that uses scientific methods “to understand and explain how the thought,
feeling and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or
implied presence of other human beings” (1985).
Social psychology looks at a wide range of social topics, including group behavior, social perception, leadership, nonverbal behavior, conformity, aggression, and prejudice. It is important to note that social psychology is not just about looking at social influences. Social perception and social interaction are also vital to understanding social behavior.
While Plato referred to the idea of the “crowd mind” and concepts such as social loafing and social facilitation were introduced in the late-1800s, it wasn’t until after World War II that research on social psychology would begin in earnest.
The horrors of the Holocaust
led researchers to study the effects of social influence, conformity, and
It is important to understand how social psychology differs from other
disciplines. Social psychology is often confused with folk wisdom, personality
psychology, and sociology. What makes social psychology different? Unlike folk
wisdom, which relies on anecdotal observations and subjective interpretation,
social psychology employs scientific methods and empirical study of social
While personality psychology focuses on individual traits, characteristics, and thoughts, social psychology is focused on situations. Social psychologists are interested in the impact that social environment and interaction has on attitudes and behaviors.
Finally, it is important to distinguish between social psychology and sociology. While there are many similarities between the two, sociology tends to looks at social behavior and influences at a very broad-based level. Sociologists are interested in the institutions and culture that influence social psychology. Psychologists instead focus on situational variables that affect social behavior. While psychology and sociology both study similar topics, they are looking at these topics from different perspectives.
Allport, G. W. (1985). The historical background of social psychology. In G. Lindzey, and
Our perception of ourselves in relation to the rest of the world plays an important role in our choices, behaviors, and beliefs. Conversely, the opinions of others also impact our behavior and the way we view ourselves. Social psychology is a branch of psychology concerned with how social phenomena influence us and how people interact with others. There are some basic aspects of social behavior that play a large role in our actions and how we see ourselves.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Social behavior is goal-oriented. Our interactions function to serve a goal or fulfill a need. Some common goals or needs include the need for social ties, the desire to understand ourselves and others, the wish to gain or maintain status or protection, and to attract companions.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> The interaction between the individual and the situation determines the outcome.
In many instances, people behavior very differently in various situations. The situation plays an important role and has a strong influence on our behavior.
People spend a great deal of time considering social
situations. Our social interactions help form our self-concept and perception.
One method of forming self-concept is through a reflected appraisal process in which we imagine how other people see us. Another method is through a social comparison process whereby we consider how we compare to other people in our peer group.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> We also analyze and explain the behavior of those around us. One common phenomenon is expectation confirmation, where we tend to ignore unexpected attributes and look for evidence that confirms our preexisting beliefs about others. This helps simplify our worldview, but it also skews our perception and can contribute to stereotyping.
Another influence on our perceptions of other people
can be explained by the theory of correspondent inferences. This occurs when
we infer that the actions and behaviors of others correspond to their
intentions and personalities. While behavior can be informative in some
instances, especially when the person's actions are intentional, it can also be
misleading. If we have limited interaction with someone, the behavior we see
may be atypical or caused by the specific situation rather than by the persons
overriding dispositional characteristics.
Studying social psychology can enrich our understanding of ourselves and of the world around us. Explore other links in this section to enrich your understanding of social behavior.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Stresses the importance of social norms and culture.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Proposes that children learn behavior through problem-solving interactions with other children and adults. Through these interactions, they learn the values and norms of their society.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Argues that social behaviors developed through genetics and inheritance.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Emphasizes the role of biology and gene transmission across generations to explain current behavior.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Stresses the importance of unique experiences in family, school, community, etc.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> According to this viewpoint, we learn behaviors through observing and mimicking the behavior of others.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Supports an information processing model of social behavior, where we notice, interpret, and judge the behavior of others.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> New experiences can either be assimilated (using already held beliefs to interpret the event), or accommodated (which involves changing existing beliefs in response to the event.)
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> By understanding how information is processed, we can better understand how patterns of thoughts impact behavior.
Psychologists and researchers have proposed a number of different theories of love. The following are four of the major theories proposed to explain liking, love, and emotional attachment.
Psychologist Zick Rubin proposed that romantic love is made up of three
elements: attachment, caring, and intimacy. Attachment is the need to receive
care, approval, and physical contact with the other person. Caring involves
valuing the other persons needs and happiness as much
as your own. Intimacy refers to the sharing of thoughts, desires, and feelings
with the other person.
Based upon this definition, Rubin devised a questionnaire to assess attitudes about others and found that these scales of liking and loving provided support for his conception of love.
According to psychologist
Elaine Hatfield and her colleagues, there are two basic types of love:
compassionate love and passionate love. Compassionate love is characterized by
mutual respect, attachment, affection, and trust. Compassionate love usually
develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and shared respect for each
Passionate love is characterized by intense emotions, sexual attraction, anxiety, and affection. When these intense emotions are reciprocated, people feel elated and fulfilled. Unreciprocated love leads to feelings of despondence and despair. Hatfield suggests that passionate love is transitory, usually lasting between 6 and 30 months.
According to Hatfield, passionate love arises when cultural expectations encourage falling in love, when the person meets your preconceived ideas of an ideal lover, and when you experience heightened physiological arousal in the presence of the other person.
Ideally passionate love then leads to compassionate love, which is far more enduring. While most people desire relationships that combine the security and stability of compassionate with the intensity of passionate love, Hatfield suggests that this is rare.
In his 1973 book The Colors of Love, John Lee compared
styles of love to the color wheel. Just as there are three primary colors, Lee
suggested that there are three primary styles of love. These three styles of
love are: (1) Eros, (2) Ludos, and (3) Storge.
Continuing the color wheel analogy, Lee proposed that just as the primary colors can be combined to create complementary colors, these three primary styles of love could be combined to create nine different secondary love styles. For example, a combination of Eros and Ludos results in Mania, or obsessive love.
Lee’s 6 Styles of Loving
Three primary styles:
1. Eros – Loving an ideal person
2. Ludos – Love as a game
3. Storge – Love as friendship
Three secondary styles:
1. Mania (Eros + Ludos) – Obsessive love
2. Pragma (Ludos + Storge) – Realistic and practical love
3. Agape (Eros + Storge) – Selfless love
Psychologist Robert Sternberg
proposed a triangular theory of love that suggests that there are three
components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Different combinations
of these three components result in different types of love. For example, a
combination of intimacy and commitment results in compassionate love, while a
combination of passion and intimacy leads to passionate love.
According to Sternberg, relationships built on two or more elements are more enduring that those based upon a single component. Sternberg uses the term consummate love to describe a combination of intimacy, passion, and commitment. While this type of love is the strongest and most enduring, Sternberg suggests that this type of love is rare.
A. Cognitive psychology is the
branch of psychology that studies mental processes including how people think,
perceive, remember, and learn. As part of the larger field of cognitive science,
this branch of psychology is related to other disciplines including
neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics.
The core focus of cognitive psychology is on how people acquire, process, and store information. There are numerous practical applications for cognitive research, such as ways to improve memory, how to increase decision-making accuracy, and how to structure educational curriculums to enhance learning.
Until the 1950s, behaviorism was the dominant school of thought in psychology. Between 1950 and 1970, the tide began to shift against behavioral psychology to focus on topics such as attention, memory, and problem solving.
Often referred to as the cognitive revolution, this period generated considerable research including processing models, cognitive research methods, and the first use of the term “cognitive psychology.”
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Unlike behaviorism, which focuses only on observable behaviors, cognitive psychology is concerned with internal mental states.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Unlike psychoanalysis, which relies heavily on subjective perceptions, cognitive psychology uses scientific research methods to study mental processes.
Because cognitive psychology touches on many other disciplines, people in a number of different disciplines often study this branch of psychology. Who should study cognitive psychology? The following are just a few of those who may benefit from studying cognitive psychology.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Students interested in behavioral neuroscience, linguistics, industrial-organizational psychology, artificial intelligence, and other related areas.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Teachers, educators, and curriculum designers can benefit by learning more about how people process, learn, and remember information.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Engineers, scientists, artists, architects, and designers can all benefit from understanding internal mental states and processes.
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Perception
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Language
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Attention
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Memory
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Problem Solving
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Decision Making and Judgment
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Gustav Fechner
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Wilhelm Wundt
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Edward B. Titchner
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Hermann Ebbinghaus
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> William James
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Wolfgang Kohler
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Edward Tolman
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Jean Piaget
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> Noam Chomsky
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> David Rumelhart
<![if !supportLists]> · <![endif]> James McClelland