Talk:Cognitive psychology

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WikiProject Cognitive science (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
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Confusing and Unclear[edit]

What is the following section trying to say? Some of this seems to be missing punctuation or sentence structure that would make it understandable.

"However, cognitive psychology dealing with the intervening constructs of the mental presentations is not able to specify: What are the non-material counterparts of material objects? For example, what is the counterpart of a chair in a mental processes, and how do the non-material processes evolve in the mind that has no space. Further, what are the very specific qualities of the mental causalities? In particular, when the causalities are processes. The plain statement about information processing awakes some questions. What information is dealt with, its contents, and form. Are there transformations? What are the nature of process causalities? How subjective states of a person transmute into shared states, and on the other way around? Finally, yet importantly, how do we who work with cognitive research are able to conceptualize the mental counter concepts to construct theories that have real importance in real every day life? Consequently, there is a lack of specific process concepts which enable to derive new developments, and create grand theories about the mind, and its abysses." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:12, 22 September 2008 (UTC)


There should be a section added to this article for us to share the arguments against cognitive psychology. "Shortcomings and critiques" maybe. I don't know how to add it, so someone please do it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:54, 3 March 2012 (UTC)


I disagree with this statement in the article "It accepts the use of the scientific method, and generally rejects introspection as a valid method of investigation, unlike phenomenological methods such as Freudian psychology"

In my experience modern cognitive psychology literature often refers to phenomenology when talkin about subjective experience. This is reflective of the increased philosophical sophistication of cognitive language.

I'm also not sure Freud's psychology should be called "phenomenological"; phenomenological approaches, at least in clinical psychology, are typically classified with humanistic and existential psychologies like those of Frankl, Maslow, and Rogers. Anyone else agree with me?( 07:42, 30 March 2006 (UTC))cooooll

I think this criticism should be amplified. The entire article (and others that appear in areas where those espousing this line of thought claim preeminence) lacks a thoroughgoing evaluation of the inadequacies of cognitive psychology. The very expression, "scientific method", is unclear. Cognitive psychology gives every sign of being one of those flash-in-the-pan last-gasp lines of thinking of a dying epoch.--djenner (talk) 13:30, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Cognitive psychology is by definition an introspective discipline of psychology. Cognitive psychology attempts to explain behavior in terms of cognitive processes and mechanisms. Cognitive psychology accepts such methods as self-report and response time experiments as an avenue into the "mind". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:04, 19 July 2010 (UTC)


I don't believe that Linguistics is part of "Cognitive psychology", except tangentially. Does anyone know if it gets significant treatment from texts on "cognitive psychology"? The preceding unsigned comment was added by [[User:|User:]] ([[User talk:|talk]] • contribs) .

I've removed the below text, as I'm afraid it makes no sense to me. In terms of empirical approaches both cognitive psychology and behaviourism (which preceded cognitive psychology) share a common approach. It is the philosophical underpinnings which differ most between these two methods, not the empirical approach. - Vaughan 10:24, 13 Sep 2003 (UTC)

The key difference between cognitive psychology and prior versions of psychology was that the former assumed that internal mental process was investigatable by empirical methods, not just quasi-empirical methods. The preceding unsigned comment was added by [[User:|User:]] ([[User talk:|talk]] • contribs) .

Linguistics (the psychology of language, psychololinguistics) indeed is a part of cognitive psychology discussed in most cognitive psychology texts. The preceding unsigned comment was added by [[User:|User:]] ([[User talk:|talk]] • contribs) .

Jean Piaget[edit]

Would Piaget qualify for the list of famous cognitive psychologists?


Though Piaget is mentioned in some books on cognitive science, he is really better off among developmental psychologists. But I have to agree there's a blurry line between the categories.

I added him to the list, chiefly since I don't see how that can hurt. This ain't paper. --Christofurio 19:15, Mar 15, 2005 (UTC)

Indeed Piaget is a cog psychologist, in much the same way his fellow Frenchman Descartes was a cog thinker. I.e., their approaches: isolate the "internal" processes independent of the "world" processes, and only then are we supposed to have something to go on. Another Frenchman, Albert Michotte, however, was not quite so smug. He showed perception of physical processes did not obey the "physical" laws (see Michotte's "tunnel effect"). Changing countries, Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotzky conducted hundreds of experiments on learning, which forced him to conclude that there are more contextual, as opposed to innate, factors involved in learning (he called this the "zone of proximal development"). This has also been termed the "education of the attention" by at least one psychologist (James Gibson, 1966). (Similar findings can be found under "developmental psychology" and "ecological psychology"; see e.g. "visual cliff" by E.J. Gibson for some of this.) In summary, as opposed to Piaget, some theorists have proposed that the learning/development of cognitive systems is not a priori or pre-determined, in large part it has to do with the environment one develops in as opposed to a priori mental structure. The preceding unsigned comment was added by [[User:|User:]] ([[User talk:|talk]] • contribs) .

Also, the difference between behavorism and cognitivism is one of degree, not quality. Both are dualistic, and both assume a nonmaterial transfer between mind and body. At base, the tie that binds them is operationism (or convergent operationism), a proclivity to define the immaterial by physical/bodily means. Behaviorism calls these "drives" and cognitivism calls these "memory". In any case, both derive from an epistemological dualism and both suffer from the same ontological problem; namely, what comes first, learning or memory. The opposing viewpoint in psychology is functionalism, whereby learning and memory are byproducts of everyday life. Modern derivations of this viewpoint include "situated cognition", "distributed cognition", "ecological psychology", and "context conditioned variability". There are probably others. The preceding unsigned comment was added by [[User:|User:]] ([[User talk:|talk]] • contribs) .

Isn't blurring the distinction of memory and learning one of the most interesting contributions of cognitive psychology? (Warning: I'm no expert and my reading on this is a Portuguese translation of a French book about psychology applied to education, which I may have misinterpreted: "Mémoire et réussite scolaire", Alain Lieury.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:03, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

-NO! Neither Cognitivism or Behaviorism is dualistic! Behaviorism is the exact opposite of Dualistic and assumes no mind or mental states at all. Cognitivists may or may not particularly care about the neuroscience of cognition, but they certainly don't deny it!- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:15, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Disctinction between cognitive psychology and cognitive science[edit]

It would be silly for the article on Cognitive science to have redundant information with the article here. Can we come up with a working definition of the (subtle) differences between the two, and perhaps structure both articles accordingly?

As a start, I would suggest that cognitive science has a slightly greater emphasis on explaining cognitive phenomena in terms of their neural representation, whereas cognitive psychology would be just as happy with an explanation that didn't rely on the neural hardware. Of course, both would recognize the importance in describing things at that level.



Um, what the heck is meant by "plushware" (from the following sentence: "This is a way of thinking and reasoning about mental processes, envisaging them like plushware running on the computer that is the brain.")?? I am a cognitive psychologist in training, and not only have I never seen/heard this term, but it barely shows up at all in a Google, except for a software company of the same name, and this article. Anyone have any idea? Maybe something like "wetware" was meant instead? --UniAce 17:35, Nov 20, 2005 (PST)

'Plushware' in that sentence is used as part of a similie, it has no individual reference to psychology. No offence but i failed gcse english and still got that. Try again, fail again, fail better. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) Jan 26, 2006.

Plushware is a one person software development shop. It absolutely has no reference to psychology and no place in the article. Hu 22:12, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

M. Posner link[edit]

The link to M. Posner results in the wrong person with same name. 09:01, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

History to add?[edit]


Newell describes in "Complex Information Processing – The impact of Herbert A. Simon" (Edited by: David Klahr & Kenneth Kotovsky) the following:

Cognitive psychology has developed many methodologies for studying human behavior. It inherits the basic methodologies of controlled experimentation, statistical design and data analysis from its ancestral psychological tradition. But it has also been prolific in creating new methodologies and sharpening existing ones. The table presented below lists a number of examples.

1 - TA - Task analysis (including Al systems)

2 - RT - Mental chronometry

3 - Sim - Simulation

4 - PA - Protocol analysis

5 - Arch - Architecture

6 - SS - Special subjects: neurological deficits, experts

7 - CA - Comparative analysis: Novice / Expert, Child / Adult

8 - EM - Eye movements

9 - QEA - Qualitative error analysis

10 - ET - Experimental training

The first four – task analysis, mental chronometry, simulation, and protocol analysis – are solidly in place. They all go back to the first decade of the cognitive revolution. The last sic methodologies are also familiar, but their use is much more specialized and scattered. Indeed, the fifth one – theorizing within a theoretically specified architecture – has hardly begun.

George A. Miller states:

Cognitive psychology broke free from behavioral psychology in the 1950s largely due to the growing recognition that mental phenomena can be analyzed using concepts that were developed to analyze electronic communication and control systems.

--[[]] 19:02, 27 July 2006


I find it interesting that George A. Miller is only listed in this article in the footnotes. If it weren't for his article "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two" which was written in the 1950's, the study may never have evolved as quickly.

Propose merge from Cognitive approach in psychology[edit]

May I propose that Cognitive approach in psychology be merged with this article? It's been tagged for cleanup since Sep. 2005, and it looks like a two-birds-with-one-stone job. Thanks, Clicketyclack 20:13, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. Useful material from the Approach article can easily be dropped into this page. We should also redirect the approach entry here. JXM 17:27, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. Urge merge. -kslays 20:08, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Merge has been completed. ThreeOfCups (talk) 05:08, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

No introspection at all as acceptable methodology?[edit]

I thought that introspection is acceptable as a methodology with some caution and as long as it does not involve emotions. For example, cognitive psychologists may ask people during an experiment reg. counting or simple mathematics how they calculate. These people answer the cogn. psychologists based on introspection. They use it in a completely different and more limited way than Freudians, but I may misremember all this. Andries (talk) 14:09, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Encarta mentions self-reporting as an acceptable methodology. What is the difference between self-reporting and introspection?
These are two separate operational procedures. Self-report is just when a participants reports on their emotion, intensity, memories, etc. That together with response times are most common measures in cognitive psychology. Biological measures such as skin conductance or imaging are sometimes used as well. Introspection usually involves closing the eyes and closely examining mental imagery which might then be reported on, that is, self-reported. ----Action potential t c 13:48, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
So is the "neutrality disputed" tag on the following statement invalid: "Cognitive psychology ... accepts the use of the scientific method, and generally rejects introspection as a valid method of investigation, unlike symbol-driven approaches such as Freudian psychology." The statement sounds perfectly reasonable to me, especially since it uses the word "generally." ThreeOfCups (talk) 05:07, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Cognitive psychologists tend to be skeptical of introspection, but there are some types of introspection that are commonly accepted (e.g., Ericsson & Simon, 1980). The statement that cognitive psychology "generally" rejects introspection seems adequate, but a more precise statement would be preferable. I'd have to look over the paper again to be certain, but I think that Ericsson & Simon made a distinction between introspective access to "processes" (which people don't have) and introspective access to mental contents (which people have). There are also other considerations, such as the accuracy of retrospective introspection and the demands that introspection places on working memory, etc. Neramesh (talk) 22:51, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm just looking at the context in which that sentence appears currently. Let's ask ourselves, how specially does cognitive psychology differ from "previous psychological approaches in two key ways"? Firstly which approaches are we talking about? I assume we're talking about behaviorism, humanism, Gestalt and psychodynamics. Cognitive psychology rose to prominence for a few main reasons: 1) there was a frustration with behaviorism which was unable to study mental processes which was required to improve performance of weapon operators, 2) behaviourism failed miserably in attempst to explain language acquisition, production and comprehension, and 3) advancement of computational theory. In addition there were three main assumptions upon which cognitive psychology was built: 1) mental processes exist, 2) humans are information processors 3) mental process can be inferred from timing and error rate experiments. This lecture matched my memory of first year cognitive psychology notes. I'm not convinced that Freud or introspection needs to be mentioned at all at that point in the article. By the way there is an article by Skinner here which discusses introspection and cognitive psychology which you may find interesting. ----Action potential discuss contribs 14:41, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Good point. Our discussion here has lost focus of the context (i.e., how cognitive psychology differs from prior psychologies). I looked over two intro books (Cognition by Daniel Willingham and Cognitive Psychology by John Anderson), and they both frame the development in the same way. First, they establish behaviorism as a response to the failures of introspection. Then, they establish cognitive psychology as a response to the failures of behaviorism and the development of the analogy to computers. Cog psych is framed almost as a compromise between or mixture of behaviorism and introspectionism. Anderson puts it like this: "In both the introspectionist and the behaviorist programs, we see the human mind struggling with the effort to understand itself. The introspectionist held a naive belief in the power of self-observation. The behaviorists were so afraid of falling prey to subjective fallacies that they refused to let themselves think about mental processes. Modern cognitive psychologists seem to be much more at ease with their subject matter. They have a relatively detatched attitude toward human cognition and approach it much as they would any other complex system." It seems that (1) we need a methods section where cog psych's views of introspection and other methods are discussed in detail, but that (2) it may be worthwhile to mention introspectionism while framing the development of cognitive psychology. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Neramesh (talkcontribs) 17:31, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
There is also some naturalistic decision making research (e.g. cognitive task analysis) in cognitive psychology which does not reject introspection. e.g. Crandall, B., Klein, G., and Hoffman, R. (2006). Working minds: A practitioner's guide to cognitive task analysis. MIT Press. ----Action potential discuss contribs 03:50, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
For more about the processes/contents distinction, see the article on Introspection illusion. Introspection is used for present-time emotions, e.g. in happiness research (see Daniel Gilbert's book Stumbling on Happiness) but current research suggests you can't use introspection to investigate, say, cognitive biases, because those biases are unconscious. MartinPoulter (talk) 16:35, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Chomsky "cognitive revolution"[edit]

Noam Chomsky's historical influence is currently missing from this article. It might be good to cover some of the intellectual antecedents of the cognitive revolution in psychology and linguistics. We could cover Universal turing machine, computational theory of mind, Chomsky's critique of Skinner's behaviorism and empiricism. ----Action potential t c 13:17, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

overly simplistic reductionist sentence?[edit]

Someone put in a sentence that "In that sense, cognitive neuroscience has vindicated the central assumption of cognitive psychology." Reductionist explanations are only one kind of explanation, and not particularly good ones. And so "vidnicated" seems much too strong -- 'provides additional evidence that this approach will help clarify psychology" as an alternative? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Imersion (talkcontribs) 19:42, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Yea no kidding. I think provides additional evidence is even too strong since the issue isn't evidential support but general coherence.Wes281 (talk) 07:08, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Further reading[edit]

Comment in the introduction on the correlation of brain and mental states should be removed for obvious incoherence[edit]

How can the correlation of physiological brain states with internal mental states cover any ground at all toward proving that the "empiricism of cognitive psychology combined with its acceptance of internal mental states" is not contradictory? Obviously this combination is either contradictory or it isn't and correlating the internal mental state with a physiological brain state or anything else doesn't make any difference.Wes281 (talk) 06:29, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Why there are two Short-term memory on the Wikipedia page?[edit]

Can anybody explain it? (talk) 14:26, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

General Cleanup of Article[edit]

I am going to begin a "general cleanup" of this article as part of an assignment for my senior psychology lab with Dr. June Pilcher, at Clemson University. I feel that there are a number of misleading statements and a general lack of depth and breadth to this article. I welcome input, and criticism as I go through this process. I will be starting my work in sandbox and will not be updating the article until I have completed said work in the sandbox. You are welcome to visit my sandbox and look over the work that I am doing at any time: Snagglepuss24's Sandbox Please leave a message on my talk page if you have any comments, concerns, or suggestions. Snagglepuss24 (talk) 16:52, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Having worked on this article in my sandbox for the past 3 weeks, I am going to be making my changes this Friday (3/15/13). My focus has been on: removing invalid and unclear statements, removing material that was improperly cited or not cited at all, adding a substantial amount of information related to the subject to provide depth, and generally improving the readability of the article. If you have a vested interest in this article and would like to preview the changes I am making, I welcome you to check out my sandbox, which is linked in the above paragraph. I hope that no one takes offense to the substantial changes that I plan to make and I welcome any and all input. Snagglepuss24 (talk) 21:20, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Hi Snagglepuss24, it looks really good! Just some minor remarks, all of them about sources and referencing:
  • In the mid 20th centruy, three main influences arose that would inspire and shape cognitive psychology as a formal school of thought: This sentence needs a reference (what source decided that there were three main influences?)
  • What is your source for stating that Chomsky initiated what would come to be known as the "cognitive revolution"?
  • Section Cognitive psychology vs. cognitive science could use a few more sources.
  • It would be really good if you could write page numbers for the books that you have used. You seem to have done that for some of your books but not all.
Great job! With friendly regards, Lova Falk talk 08:14, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
I have now made my changes to the article live. I will be continuing my work on this article for the remainder of this semester, so my work is far from done. Thank you to Lova Falk for the input and suggestions. I will definitely try to address all of the issues you have put forth. With regard to some of the citations not having page numbers, those are all of the citations from previous editors that I retained in my revision. I will be looking to try to source these citations and find page references for them, or replace them with a source for which I can cite page numbers. If anyone else has suggestions, comments, critiques, etc. please don't hesitate to comment here or on my talk page. I will be making my further edits in a second sandbox, so if you would like to check on my continuing work, please feel free to check it out here: Snagglepuss24's 2nd sandbox. Snagglepuss24 (talk) 15:20, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

I have finished my second phase of work on the article and am going live with it today. With this edit, I have added content related to the mental processes that cognitive psychology tends to focus on. As before, if you have any suggestions, comments, or criticism, please don't hesitate to respond here or on my talk page. Even though this was a class project, I plan to continue to try to improve this article with hopes of elevating it to at least GA status. Thanks once again to Lova Falk for all of her help with offering suggestions and clean up. Snagglepuss24 (talk) 15:11, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Thank you too Snagglepuss24! It has been good communicating with you and I hope to keep seeing you around. I'll read your latest edits, but not today... Lova Falk talk 14:12, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Now I have read your edits, and it has been a true joy. My edits were just minor copyedits all of them. I only wonder if the Center for Ecological Study of Perception and Action at the University of Connecticut (CESPA) gets undue attention here; aren't there lots of those kinds of centers throughout the world? Wouldn't it be enough to mention them in the citation? Lova Falk talk 16:27, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

CIA created Cognitive Psychology[edit]

Watch the superb Adam Curtis documentary The Living Dead - episode 2:

There's not one single mention of "CIA" in the entire wikipedia article on Cognitive Psychology.

CIA basically created Cognitive Psychology field and I recommend you see every Adam Curtis docu you can find.

Draft outline[edit]

There is a draft for an outline on cognitive psychology at Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines/Drafts/Outline of cognitive psychology if anyone is interested. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 06:57, 24 June 2016 (UTC)