Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology-A research paper

By Kanishk Ali Khanna

March 2017

This area of psychology studies the science of how people think, learn, and remember. Psychologists who work in this field often study things such as perception, language, learning, memory, attention, decision-making, and problem-solving.

Each of the cognitive functions (perception, language, learning, memory, attention, decision-making, problem-solving etc ) work together to integrate the new knowledge and create an interpretation of the world around us. The cognitive processes can occur naturally or artificially, or consciously or unconsciously, but it usually happens fast, they work constantly and without us realising. For instance, when we are walking on the street and we see a stoplight turn red, we start the cognitive process that tells us to make a decision (cross or don’t cross). The first thing that we do is focus our attention on the stoplight, through sight we can see that it is red. In just milliseconds, we recall from our memory that when the stoplight is red you shouldn’t cross. This is probably where we make our first decision: wait until the light turns green, or look right and left (shifting our attention again) to see if any cars are coming and then cross depending on that.

PERCEPTION: The process by which we recognise, interpret or give meaning to the information provided by sense organs is called perception. We receive from our different senses, like sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Once the stimulus is received, our brain integrates all of the information, creating a new memory.

ATTENTION: The process through which certain stimuli are selected over other stimuli, it has been considered a mechanism that controls and regulates the rest of the cognitive processes: from perception (we need attention to be able to pay attention to the stimuli that don’t reach our senses) to learning and complex reasoning.

MEMORY: Memory is the cognitive function that allows us to encode, store, and recover information from the past. There are many types of memory, like short-term memory, which is the ability to retain information for a short period of time (remember a telephone number until we can write it down on paper), long-term memory can be broken into smaller groups, declarative memory and procedural memory. Declarative memory consists of the knowledge that was acquired through language and education (like knowing that World War II ended in 1945), as well as knowledge learned through personal experiences(remembering my 5th birthday) . Procedural memory refers to learning though routines (learning how to drive or ride a bike). Other types of memory are auditory memory, contextual memory, naming, and recognition.

THOUGHT: Thought is fundamental for all cognitive processes. It allows us to integrate all of the information that we’ve received and establish relationships between events and knowledge. To do this, it uses reasoning, synthesis, and problem solving.


LANGUAGE: Language is the ability to express our thoughts and feelings through spoken word. It is a tool
that we use to communicate and organise and transmit information that we have about ourselves and the world.Language and thought are developed together and are closely related, they mutually influence each other.

LEARNING: Learning is the cognitive process that we use to incorporate new information into our prior
knowledge – any relatively permanent change in behaviour or behavioural potential produced by
experience.


PROBLEM SOLVING – Problem-solving is a mental process that involves discovering, analysing and solving
problems. The ultimate goal of problem-solving is to overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issue.

Why is it relevant to mankind – It is important to study cognitive psychology to gain an understanding of people and their thought processes. Behaviours occur as a result of how information is received and interpreted . Individual differences can vary greatly from one person to the next. Cognitive psychologists work with people to help them understand their thought processes so they can make positive behavioural changes. When an individual understands his own cognitive processes, they can analyse their thoughts before taking action. Businesses benefit from cognitive psychology and employ cognitive psychologists. Companies will want their employees to perform their best. Cognitive psychologists work with the management on how to improve the working environment and to develop strategies to help employees to improve the work
performance. Marketing companies also use knowledge of cognitive psychology to help them design effective marketing campaigns. Artificial Intelligence is developing rapidly and it will influence the world significantly in the upcoming decades. The hierarchical method of organising information and how that maps well onto the brain’s memory are concepts that have proven extremely beneficial in classrooms.

Major studies, psychologists & experiments in this field – Modern perspectives on cognitive psychology generally address cognition as a dual process theory introduced by Jonathan Haidt in 2006, and elaborated upon by Daniel Kahneman in 2011. Kahneman differentiated the two styles of processing calling them intuition and reasoning. Intuition similar to associative reasoning, was determined to be fast and automatic Kahneman said that this kind of reasoning was based on formed habits and very difficult to change or manipulate. Reasoning was slower and more volatile, being subject to conscious judgments and attitudes.

Cognitive psychology views human beings as actively constructing their minds through their exploration into the physical and the social world. Russian psychologist Vygotsky suggested that the human mind develops through social and cultural processes in which the mind is viewed as culturally constructed through joint interaction between adults and children, while for Piaget children actively construct their own minds.

Thus,the field of cognitive psychology is one vital to understanding how the human world works and will also enable more efficient development in the modern world.

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