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Cognitive Psychology

Geeta Dhavale
Cognitive psychology deals with the mental processes of human beings. It is one of the emerging and expansive branches of psychology. Read ahead to know more.
Have you ever paid attention to the activities going on in your brain? Do you know how you started walking, talking, or eating when you were young? How do you still remember the minutest details about the events that took place years back? Well, these things seem to be very complected but our brain always made it easy for us without us being aware of it.
Human brain, its capacities, mental processes, and sub conscious mind has always been a mystery for everyone. However, man has acquired detailed information about the brain and its unique abilities. Let us study it in detail.

What is Cognitive Psychology?

It is a branch of psychology that deals with mental process. It studies how humans perceive, think, understand, learn, remember things in everyday life and how the transformation of sensory inputs into beliefs, actions take place. It deals with neuroscience, linguistics, artificial intelligence, computer science, anthropology, biology, physics, philosophy.
It emphasizes more on experiments and verification. Various psychologists have made statements after conducting various research studies, so this branch is relatively more scientific than other fields of psychology, where no tangible proofs can be given.
There are certain things that form the core of psychology. These include perception, attention, language, judgment, decision making, problem solving, intelligence, and memory. According to cognitive psychology, the mind is nothing but the processes going on in the brain. And the brain functions as per natural law, like any other physical system.
In short, this branch of psychology studies aspects like how the human brain functions, how it brain stores data, what is memory, how knowledge and information is represented, how things get categorized in the brain, how humans judge probabilities, how they plan, how they mix all this to produce high level inferences in daily life, etc.


Cognitive psychological studies date back to the 18th century, but it declined before becoming popular in the 20th century. The reason for this decline was the rise of behaviorism. Experts started studying behaviorism to find solutions to psychological problems.
However, behaviorism had its own limitations, as it only dealt with observed human behavior, whereas cognition is a different process, and is concerned with internal mental processes. Instead of relying on individual subjective perceptions, cognitive behavioral theory is based on scientific research and studies that are verifiable.
The cognitive revolution started in 1950s, when researchers in various fields started developing theories of the mind and brain, based on computational proceedings and complex representations.
Many psychologists like Noam Chomsky, Jean Piaget, Wolfgang Kohler, Edward Tolman, William James, Gustav Fechner, etc., contributed a lot to the understanding of this branch through various scientific studies, and experiments that helped in the emergence of cognitive behavioral therapy. In 1960s, this branch emerged as a predominant branch of psychology.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of experts contributed in the development of this branch of psychology. Jean Piaget was the first person to lay the foundation of child cognitive development through cognitive development theory. He conducted various studies and showed how children develop their abilities as they grow.
For example, how they learn from trial and error method. Some of his experiments became very popular. After a few years, Noam Chomsky conducted studies and promoted rationalism and mind mapping techniques. He proved that humans are born with an inbuilt system of organization that develops as they grow.
The development of cognition depends on the genes, environment, and life experiences. He also proved that the human mind is made of different sections, and each section performs specific tasks.
The result of so many research studies is that today, we have an extensive body of algorithms, principles, and representations that have various applications in several fields. We could get the computers, software, electronic tools, etc., which are closely based on cognition theories.