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Cognitive Psychology College - Essay Example

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Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology that deals with the scientific study of the mind. Generally, "mind" means the normally functioning human mind, but cognitive psychologists study abnormally functioning human brains (such as stroke or trauma victims), developing minds of young children, animal minds and computers to help develop theories of how the mind performs various tasks…
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Cognitive Psychology College

Download file to see previous pages... British psychologists Michael W. Eysenck and Mark T. Keane include anthropology as well (2000).
Cognitive psychologists look at many different facets of mental functioning, which Kellogg lists as: perception, consciousness, intelligence, thinking, language, knowledge representation, memory and learning (2002). Cognitive psychology began to distinguish itself from an older branch of psychology, behaviorism, when researchers realized that to study the mind often meant studying processes that could not be directly observed, such as the "stimulus-response" experiments common to behaviorism.
A central concern of linguists in the cognitive arena is the relationship between language and thought. The linguistic relativity theory, put forth by Benjamin L. Whorf in 1956 states that language either determines thought or influences it heavily. The famous "Eskimos have 27 words for snow" notion, under relativity, means they perceive snow differently from, say, a Florida resident, and therefore have a more highly developed categorizing system for snow. However, the theory did not take into account that different environments, whether physical or created, may affect how much time and effort people focus on various things, which is then reflected by language. Later studies by Heider-Rosch (1972, 1973, in Eysenck, 1984) on color perception across languages with vastly different color naming systems seem to show that it is thought that determines language. However, there may be some cultural or culturally-based learning differences as evidenced by studies on bilingual individuals.
The central focus, then, of cognitive psychologists is the structure and processes of the mind, which are generally equated with representation (the structures) and computation (the processes), as well as the inclusive dynamic systems process (Braisby & Gellaltly, 2005). Representation deals with what things are about, such as the subject matter of a book -- versus its physical qualities such as molecular structure, weight and dimensions -- is what the book is about. Computation is how the mind processes information and it is in this area that the mind is most often linked to computers and how they learn. Two major systems of computation have been developed, and supporters argue for the relative importance of them, or some interaction of both. Symbol systems investigate how the mind combines the various discrete symbols in the environment to arrive at conclusions and decisions. Connectionism views this process by relying both on the physical structure of the brain, with the interconnectedness of neurons serving as a basis, plus how networks within a computer system operate; "interconnectedness" is its basic assumption (Braisby & Gellaltly).
Artificial intelligence has been defined as "the science that holds that computers, by virtue of their mathematical structure, can reason" (Wagman, 1991, p. 2). Tasks that can be performed include planning, control, scheduling and a variety of recognition tasks such as speech or facial structures. Names such as ELIZA, BORIS and FERMI have been given to various software/modeling systems that process speech, plot points from Shakespearean plays, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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