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Cognitive Psychology - Essay Example

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Until the 1950's, the dominant school of thought within psychology was that of behaviorism in which human behavior responses were observed in reaction to environmental stimuli. During the 1950's and 70's there was a shift against the behavioral school of thought and there was a growing interest in topics such as attention, memory and problem solving skills…
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Download file to see previous pages Cognitive psychology, a term coined by Ulric Neidder in 1967 in a book of the same name, is the means of describing the reactions of the mind in the light of a computer metaphor while not reducing the mind to something computer in nature and is the more scientific form of psychology. As like other materialist sciences, cognitive psychology recognizes that the mind is defined by what the brain does and that the brain is a physical system that functions via the means of natural law, through the means of cause and effect in other words through functionalism. The goal of cognitive psychology is to focus on how many thoughts or "items" we can hold within our memory simultaneously, how sensory data is blended in order to produce higher-level inferences, what the human strengths and weaknesses are in terms of judgment of every day situations, the formation of conceptual categories and how knowledge is represented within the human mind. The core focus of cognitive psychology's core focus is trying to understand how humans acquire, store and process information. This understanding on how the brain and mind work helps in further understanding the accuracy of decision making to developing curriculums to enhance learning. The focus of this paper will be on divided attention, focused attention and division of attention between tasks and will conclude with a brief examination of attention in regards to limited mental development such as abused children's heightened sense of attention in light of their lack of actual emotional development.
Cognitive process is the processes which are very important to understanding human behavior in light of knowledge, how we obtain and process various forms of knowledge. It refers to the information processing of individuals psychological functions and tends to apply to the ability to understand and retain knowledge as well as out ability to perceive our environment, actions, problem solving abilities and mental imagery. When contrasted to the concept of attention one finds that, "attention acts as a means of focusing limited mental resources on the information and cognitive processes that are most salient at a given moment" (Sternberg 1999). We also find that there are three basic types of human attention being vigilance, auditory/visual or focused and divided attention.
The first concept of human attention is that of vigilance. Vigilance is a person's ability to attend to a single field of stimulation for a prolonged period of time while seeking to detect the appearance of a particular target (Steinberg 1999). For the most part a vigilant or focused attention involves waiting for something unpredictable to happen, such as waiting for ones pet to do an unsignaled trick or watching the birds outside a window, here the person is vigilant in their task and content on just watching and focusing, waiting for something unpredictable to happen and being vigilant in just watching. This follows along the same theory as Signal Detection where in a subject's task is to detect a signal which is presented along some sensory continuum. The signal detection theory is used to analyze experimental data where the task is to categorize ambiguous stimuli generated by either a known process of based on pure chance. Another example is that of the radar operator who must decide if what they see on the radar screen ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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