Posted: November 20th, 2022
The Definition of Cognitive Psychology .
Write at least one main response to the question below.
For students learning about cognitive psychology, it is important to understand the methods that make our science possible. This will allow you to see why our results are compelling and why we can, with confidence, draw the conclusions that we do. For this reason, we have provided brief Research Methods essays, each highlighting a methodological issue or focusing on a research example. I hope these essays will broaden your understanding of our methods and deepen your appreciation for why our results can be (indeed, must be) taken seriously. More broadly, these essays will help you understand how our science proceeds.The Definition of Cognitive Psychology .
First, though, we might ask: What is science, and what is it about cognitive psychology that makes it count as a science? The key lies in the idea that science cannot be based just on someone’s opinions about the world or on someone’s (perhaps biased) interpretation of the facts. Instead, a science needs to be based on the facts themselves, and that means the scientific community needs to check every one of its claims against the facts, to find out with certainty whether each claim is correct. If we learn that the evidence for a claim is weak or ambiguous, then we need to seek more evidence in order to achieve certainty. And, of course, if we learn that a claim does not fit with the facts, then we’re obligated to set the claim aside, to make sure we only offer claims that we know are in line with reality.The Definition of Cognitive Psychology .
Clearly, then, the notion of testing our claims, to make sure they match the facts, is central for any science, and this has a powerful implication for how we formulate our claims in the first place. Specifically, we need to make sure that all of our claims are formulated in a way that will allow the testing that is central to the scientific enterprise; said differently, science is possible only if the claims being considered are rigorously testable. But how do we ensure testability? How do we ensure that it will be possible to confront our claims with the facts? Among other points, we need to make certain our claims never rely on ambiguous terms or vague phrasing; we also need to avoid escape clauses like “Maybe this will happen” or “Sometimes we’ll observe X and sometimes we won’t.”The Definition of Cognitive Psychology .
To see how this plays out, consider the claim “No matter what day of the year you pick, someone famous was born on that day.” Is this claim testable? Actually, it isn’t. Imagine that the most prominent person you can think of, born on December 19, is Daniel Reisberg. Does this support the claim, because Reisberg is famous? (After all, thousands of students have read his books.) Or does it contradict the claim, because Reisberg isn’t famous? (After all, most people have never heard of him.) Both of these positions seem plausible, and so our “test” of this claim about birthdays turns out to depend on opinion, not fact: If you hold the opinion that Reisberg is famous, then the evidence about the December 19 birthday confirms our claim; if you hold the opposite opinion, the same evidence doesn’t confirm the claim. As a result, this claim is not testable—there’s no way to say with certainty whether it fits with the facts or not.
Of course, we could make this claim testable if we could find a suitable definition of “famous.” In that case, we could, with some certainty, decide whether Reisberg is famous or not, and then we could use this point to test our claim about birthdays. But until that is done, there is no way to test this claim in the fashion, not dependent on opinion, that science requires. This example illustrates why a scientific hypothesis must be framed precisely—so that we can check the facts and then say with certainty whether the hypothesis is correct. But how do we check the facts? We’ll explore this question in upcoming Research Methods essays in this workbook.
A friend of yours who is majoring in chemistry is skeptical of the idea that cognitive psychology is a science. What could you say to your friend?
The definition of cognitive psychology is that it is the scientific study of the mind as a tool that processes information. It qualifies as a science since seeks to build up cognitive models of information processing to understand what goes on in the mind to include consciousness, thought, memory, language, attention and perception. The cognitive models are built using rigorous and strict laboratory investigations, shifting away from psychoanalytical notions and conditioned behavior that are typically associated with psychology. To be more precise, rather than accepting the traditional notion that mental processes can neither be observed or objectively measures, cognitive psychology builds on the scientific notion that the mind is basically comprised of stimulus-response links that determine mental processes and influence behavior. This is an indication the cognitive psychology makes use of scientific research processes (Vitevitch, 2019).The Definition of Cognitive Psychology .
Besides that, cognitive psychology makes four assumptions that are scientific in nature. Firstly, its outcomes are mainly based on laboratory experiments thus qualifying it as a pure science. In fact, it employs rigorous and highly controlled study methods that allow cognitive psychologists to infer cognitive processes at work. This is a fundamental practice in pure sciences where laboratory experiments are used to produce objective and reliable data that informs subject understanding. Secondly, it explains behavior using the mind’s operations. In this case, it draws parallels between biological processes in the brain and reported behaviors so that certain behaviors are associated with unique brain chemistries (Vitevitch, 2019). Thirdly, it assumed that the mind is akin to a computer since it has the capacity to input, store and retrieve data. This implies that similar to a computer, the mind works based on a set of instructions such that behavior can be predicted by understanding the set of instructions that the mind received. Finally, it assumes that the mind is subject to meditational processes between stimulus and response. The meditational processes refer to the gap between the stimulus presenting and response being mounted, a gap in which the stimulus is matched to a suitable response. The four assumptions show that cognitive processes apply theoretical and practical contexts, which are typical of sciences. Besides that, cognitive psychology relies on scientific methThe Definition of Cognitive Psychology .odology that includes hypnosis, interviews, computer modeling, observations, laboratory experiments, and case study (Barsalou, 2014). These approaches produce reliable and replicable data that identifies cognitive psychology as a science.
Although cognitive psychology is identified as a science, the assumptions bring into question its identify as a science. Firstly, it makes use of computer analogy when discussing mental processes thus relying on logical aspects of thought and behavior while ignoring the social, creative and emotional aspects that have an influence on thought and behavior. Secondly, the computer analogy for the brain is inherently flawed since the brain is infinitely more flexible and powerful than the most advanced computer. Thirdly, it assumes that similar to the computer that is blank when made until data is input, brains are similarly blank at birth. This is not true since humans are born with cognitive functions that include perception, memory and schemas. The implication is that what applies to computers will not necessarily apply to the brain and vice versa. In essence, cognitive psychology relies on machine reductionism to gain its identity as a science. Still, it could be argued that similar to any other science that presents assumptions that are tested through rigorous and strict investigation, cognitive science present assumptions to be tested (Barsalou, 2014).
Despite the assumptions creating concerns, the approaches applied in cognitive psychology are undoubtedly scientific. It uses rigorous and strict investigation approaches to produce results that are difficult to fault (Vitevitch, 2019). Overall, cognitive psychology is a science.The Definition of Cognitive Psychology .
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