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The Different Facets of Mental Functioning - Essay Example

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In this essay, the author demonstrates why cognitive psychology is considered one area of the wider interdisciplinary field of cognitive science, which includes, among other areas, computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience…
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The Different Facets of Mental Functioning
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Download file to see previous pages 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. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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