Cognitive Psychology Research Project

Cognitive Psychology

This post includes an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction introduces the concept of cognitive psychology and how it influences the responses of individuals. It also gives out a detailed history of how cognitive psychology has evolved through the ages. The body has explained the components of cognitive functions. The study of these cognitive functions defines the whole concept of cognitive psychology. These functions include language, perception, memory, and attention. The body also explains the how the computer analogy compares with the processing procedure of information in the human brain. The succeeding section includes three paragraphs that elaborate the importance of cognitive psychology. Lastly, the last section contains two paragraphs that summarize the whole essay.


Unarguably, the scientific study of the human mental and cognitive functions has led to many discoveries and observations. Foremost, various psychologists and anatomists have tried to elaborate the human cognitive human processes. For instance, history elicits that Plato was among the first individuals, who tried to explain how the human mental processes function. Cognitive psychology entails the scholarly and practical study that tries to comprehend the manifestation of the various mental processes.

Indeed, the brain is a complex organ that operates in a complex manner to process and coordinates the various processes in our bodies. Thus, cognitive psychology tries to outline how the brain compartmentalizes functions such as memory, perception, language, reason making, and perception (Thorndyke, 1977). It is relevant to mention that this study emphasizes how mental processes affect the way humans act, operate or feel. Furthermore, it is crucial to add that cognitive psychology requires an understanding of cognitive science and the fundamental foundations of cognition.

As mentioned earlier, cognitive psychology utilizes various research and studies that elaborate the various mental processes. Thus, this study has links to the various branches of psychology. For instance, these concepts exist in the fields of personality, social, educational, and developmental psychology. Various concepts entail the functioning of the brain with regard to mental processes.

Plato came up with the notion that the brain is the foundation of the various cognitive processes. Various philosophers and psychologists have argued for or against this notion. History elicits that there were scholars, who argued that human thought was innate. This concept tried to show that human thought was not experiential. Alternatively, other philosophical debates tried to elaborate that human thought depended on the sensory situations.

In fact, philosophers such as John Locke extensively supported this idea. Crucially, comprehension of the various cognitive functions requires an understanding of the anatomy and functioning of the brain. Notably, the 18th century paved the way for this understanding. Broca’s area is an anatomical part of the temporal region of the brain associated with language development and production (Mandler & Johnson, 1977).

Paul Broca discovered that this anatomical area determined the nature of language production in humans. This discovery was very crucial, since, it strengthened the foundations of cognitive psychology. Consequently, Broca’s aphasia relates to the dysfunctional production of language. Carl Wernicke identified the region associated with the processing and understanding of language. Damage to the Wernicke’s area due to trauma, infections or congenital malformations causes Wernicke aphasia.

Fundamentally, various situations and occurrences in history increased the awareness of cognitive psychology. In fact, psychologists drew various concepts from the various occasions in history. For instance, the introduction of the computer technology induced various concepts concerning cognitive psychology. The understanding of how the artificial intelligence affects the computer performance was very crucial. It enabled psychologists to draw contrasts and comparisons between this process and how the mental functions operate. It is fundamental to note that computer experts such as Herbert Simon and Allen Newell cooperated with cognitive psychologists. These synergic efforts helped the evolution of cognitive psychology (Tversky, 1981). Significantly, the World War II led to various insights regarding the understanding of behaviorism. There was a general motivation for scientists, who wanted to increase the performance of soldiers.

Various individuals, such as Donald Broadbent developed concepts of behaviorism that provided more insight about the field of cognitive psychology. Indeed, human cognitive functions play various roles in the survival of human beings. Sensory input plays the role of information in the human’s brain. Thus, it has to go through various transformational and conversion stages so as to produce relevant interpretations. It is important to mention that cognitive psychology may have various distinctions or branches depending that improve the general comprehension of cognitive psychology.

Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive Psychology

The main distinction involves a classification of the various sources of information related to cognition. As mentioned earlier, mental processes and computer functionality have a couple of similarities. Therefore, the main branches include cognitive neuroscience, experimental psychology, and computer analogies approach. Using this classification, individuals may comprehend how mental cognitive functions operate.

Cognitive neuroscience involves how the brain functions when under various types of stress or duress. For example, cognitive dysfunction may occur due to trauma, congenital malformations, infections or brain tumors. Thus, an understanding of how these factors affect the general cognitive functions explain the scope of cognitive neuroscience. Human experimental psychology entails the study of the various mental activities and how they interrelate with the sensory input. The effect of various situations on language or memory may enhance the comprehension of human experimental psychology. Notably, computers receive data input and process it through various sequential procedures. Thus, there is a branch of cognitive psychology that dwells on the comparisons and contrasts between computer functionality and mental procedures. In summary, this paragraph provides more insight on how the various cognitive psychology concepts evolved.

Humans constantly receive data in the form of sensory input. The various sensory perceptions include the sense of sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch. Physiology explains how these senses coordinate the behavior and state of humans. Sensory input travels through nerves to the nervous system. The central nervous system includes the brain and the spinal cord. Thus, these organs have the capability of interpreting data and converting it into useful information. Significantly, the cerebral cortex plays a crucial role in converting the sensory input. For example, the occipital cortex processes visual stimuli (Siegler, 1976).

The body, consequently, utilizes the information to perform bodily functions that manifest as responses. The body may react to painful stimuli by moving that part of the body. Indeed, the fundamental areas of study in cognitive psychology involve mental functions that influence behavior. This essay shall elaborate the contents of the major mental processes. These include attention, perception, memory, language and metacognition. Foremost, attention affects the way humans behave and act.

There is no proper definition for this term. However, it defines the presence of alertness towards a certain sense of perception. Attention has two major branches. Psychologists categorize attention depending on the type of control type. Hence, attention may have exogenous or endogenous control. This distinction aids in elaborating the various ways in which attention operates. In fact, psychologists use various models to explain how the influence of attention on our behaviors and actions.

The endogenous type of attention originates from the brain, especially, from the cerebral cortex. In this model, the brain actively sends impulses that control the awareness of the sensory input from the external environment. For instance, an individual studying a section of a book elicits this type of attention. Alternatively, the exogenous kind of attention refers to awareness of sensory impulses from the peripheral regions of the body. Exogenous attention, often, manifests in our daily activities. The significance of attention is evident when the brain is receiving different kinds of stimuli from the environment.

The brain discriminates between the crucial and irrelevant kinds of sensory input. Thus, attention enables the brain to perform its cognitive functions effectively. It filters and picks out the important aspects of data. This effect helps the brain to concentrate on the various aspects of data in the environment.

Unarguably, many cognitive psychologists have studied the various aspects of divided attention. People are able to critically analyze and process diverse forms of sensory input. This phenomenon occurs due to divided attention. Thus, friends at a loud party can talk to each other and, concurrently, appreciate the decent music at the background. Researchers are still trying to figure how the brain picks attention and how it processes sensory input so as to produce information (Anderson, 1990). In summary, attention is crucial, since, it avoids the overload of data at the brain. Too much unfiltered information may lead to confusion and poor concentration.

Language is a fundamental aspect of cognitive function. Cognitive psychologists extensively research and conduct various experiments on this field of study. Language involves the use of phonetic and articulation sounds to communicate. This cognitive function affects the way individuals relate to each other. There are various disorders associated with the poor development of language. Dysarthria refers to the poor articulation of sounds in relation to talking or speech formation. Alternatively, dysphonia describes the inability to produce speech sounds.

Often, it manifests due to the impairment of the vocal organs which include the tongue, throat, mouth, and lips. This elaboration emphasizes on the relevance of language in the lives of humans. In fact, the main form of communication in humans is through the use of language. It acts as an auditory form of sensory input. Thus, language is not a communication tool in the auditory impaired individuals. As mentioned earlier, cognitive psychology involves the study of how cognitive functions influence the way humans behave. Language is a principle factor that affects the way humans act or behave.

The temporal region of the cerebral cortex takes part in the development, production and processing of language. The Broca area of the cerebral cortex plays the crucial role of language production. Paul Broca provided the insight about how the brain perceives input and produces language. He discovered that the cerebral cortex coordinated the audio output through at this area of the brain. Physiologists and psychologists refer to the dysfunction of language production as Broca aphasia.

Broca aphasia has various causes. However, the main cause of this type of aphasia occurs due to brain injury at the Broca’s area. On the other hand, the Wernicke area participates in the processing of language. It is relevant to mention that the human body perceives the various forms of sensory input and undergoes a sequential process to produce relevant information (Williams, 1988). This information may be in the form of audio input. Physiologists and psychologists have extensively studied this area in a bid to understand how this area incorporates signals to produce output. Indeed, language is a vital aspect of human development. In fact, pediatricians concentrate on language development in infants because it may predict the cognitive function (Bruning, 1999). Various factors influence the way people develop language. For example, memory and socioeconomic status are major determinants of language development.

Significantly, memory is a fundamental component of cognitive functions. There are two major distinctions of memory. Short term memory defines memory over a short period of time. Cognitive psychologists dedicate most of their research in studying the aspects of memory. Amnesia is a common symptom of patients, who have suffered from concussions. It refers to the lack of memory. Various factors may affect memory. Of course, individuals vary in the way they remember events, people or names. Thus, genetics affect memory. In fact, research shows that gene variations may influence the functioning of the cerebral cortex in terms of the formation of the neural circuits. Therefore, this effect may also elaborate the differences in learning rates. Amnesia occurs after concussions due to the traumatic injury of the head. Practitioners and psychologists use various ways to gauge the memory levels of various individuals.

For instance, a practitioner may ask a patient to tell him or her the name of the president as a mode of gauging the long-term memory. There are various concepts that cognitive psychologists utilize to elaborate the different instances of memory. For instance, the Ebbinghaus experiment involves the naming of a list of items. This experiment elicits that it is easier for people to recall items mentioned at the start or the end of a list. Nevertheless, some words in the list may attract more attention more than others. Long-term memory has various types. A common type of long-term memory is the semantic memory, which individuals use to identify popular things or names.

Cognitive psychologists extensively study on how the mental processes process and dedicate information. Thus, they utilize various approaches to studying the impact of these mental functions on behavior. A good example of a psychological approach is the reductionist approach. This approach refers to the ideology that regardless of the complexity of human behavior, filtering of cognitive functions is possible. Thus, it is important to emphasize the role of practical studies and applications on the study of cognitive psychology

Of course, scientific studies require practical applications and studies that prove the accuracy and legitimacy of the concepts (Rosch, 1975). Therefore, cognitive psychology also requires a laboratory utilized for testing the credibility of the various theories. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that some laboratory studies might lack the appropriate laboratory validity. Notably, this branch of psychology involves the extensive use of experimental methods. Cognitive psychology has theories that oppose some of the concepts of behaviorism and conditioning. It also antagonizes the concepts of the various psychoanalytical theories developed by famous psychologists such as Sigmund Freud.

Critical analysis of the various cognitive processes shows that the invention of the computers induced an elevating interest in the comprehension of the whole concept of thinking. Psychology scholars agree that the field of cognitive psychology gradually progressed during the 1960s. Famous psychologists such as Jean Piaget laid the foundation for the development of principles regarding cognitive thinking and reasoning. The artificial intelligence system of the computers resembles how the various mental functions.

Computer analogy provides a rough description regarding how the computer processes information. Consequently, cognitive psychologists link this process to the sequence of cognition. The paradigm of cognitive information starts with the perception of various stimuli from the environment. It is relevant to point out that there are various distinctions between behaviorism and cognitive psychology. Behaviorists always study the external manifestations of human behavior. Thus, they can only observe the body stimulus and response. Hence, they only study the input and output. Alternatively, cognitive psychologists believe that human behavior has an external and internal component. They, therefore, study the input and response. Also, they study how the internal processes coordinate to mediate the production of a response after stimuli perception. As mentioned earlier, these coordination processes may involve language, attention, and memory.

Significantly, perception is a vital determinant of humans’ behavior. It involves the ability to sense the external stimuli. Perception often occurs at the peripheral organs. They include the skin, eyes, ears, tongue, and nose. These organs have nerve endings that can receive stimuli from the external environment. Consequently, conversion of stimuli to nerve impulses takes place at these sites. Visual and auditory stimuli are some of the common stimuli. Cognitive psychology deals with how the central nervous system interprets these stimuli.

Perception is an example of a cognitive process that occurs constantly in normal humans. Comatose patients may have inadequate or impaired perception. Unarguably, the study of cognitive psychology involves a collection of various concepts from the various fields of study. Cognitive science and cognitive psychology share certain similarities. It is difficult to distinguish between these areas of study. Nevertheless, critical examination elicits various contrasts. Foremost, cognitive psychology involves the understanding of the motivating factors of human behavior. Thus, it seeks to explain why individuals act in different ways after exposure to the same kind of stimuli. Alternatively, cognitive science involves an accumulation of various concepts from diverse subjects of study, especially, neuroscience. It extensively depends on practical research and the utilization of case studies.

Importance of Cognitive Psychology

Notably, cognitive psychology plays a fundamental role in the various branches of medicine. The treatment of depression uses the concepts of cognitive therapy. Depression is steadily increasing in various regions. Essentially, many practitioners and medical experts use pharmacological therapy to manage depression. However, statistics show that only 60% of patients benefit from the use of antidepressants. Antidepressants have adverse side effects.

Many patients taking antidepressants experience weight gain. Moreover, there are various reports of patients experiencing hypersensitivity reactions due to the use of antidepressants. Thus, the management of depression should include the combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapy. Non-pharmacological therapy, often, involves the use of cognitive therapy. In this treatment model, the patient teaches himself to control the depressive symptoms. Studies show that there is a gradual improvement of symptoms using this model. In fact, the use of antidepressants only is not a better alternative because patients lose the internal ability to control their moods.

Crucially, personality psychology has enhanced due to the general comprehension of the concepts of cognitive psychology. Evidently, individuals have diverse personality traits. Therefore, the various methods of perception and information processing influence the way people behave. In fact, studies show that some personality disorders may evolve due to cognitive dysfunction. Cognitive therapy is important in the management of personality and mental disorders. It involves training individuals to control their actions and behavior. Also, cognitive psychology has empowered educational psychology. Psychologists can now illustrate how humans handle and process information.

The various theories in the education sector utilize concepts from this branch of psychology. For instance, the various distinctions of long-term and short-term memory have provided more insight on how students learn. Furthermore, teachers can determine the causes of amnesia in a student using the memory model. Cognitive psychology has also increased the understanding of knowledge organization.

Jean Piaget developed various ideologies and theories regarding the cognitive development of humans from adulthood to childhood. His theories elaborated how individuals have diverse forms of behavior. In fact, he came up with a model that explained how skipping certain childhood stages may lead to the manifestation of certain abnormal behavior. Cognitive psychology played a crucial role in the development of his theories. In fact, it is crucial to add that the fundamental concepts of developmental psychology relate with those of cognitive psychology.

The cognitive development of a child extensively uses metacognition. Thus, the child focuses on its thoughts then it assumes that all other individuals also have thoughts and feelings. Metacognition is a cognition process that involves a critical analysis of one’s thoughts. It helps people to gauge their mental performance. Vitally, cognitive psychology aids in defining the various causes of social dysfunction. According to research, anti-social people have a depressed information processing function. They have a limited capability of processing the social stimuli. Also, they cannot evolve an appropriate social response or cue. There are various social models that trace the various stages of humans as they progress to adulthood.


An analysis of the essay shows that cognitive psychology plays a significant role in the development of human beings. It involves the study of how mental processes influence the behavior and deeds of individuals. It is worth noting that cognitive psychology examines how human beings perceive and process information. It deals with the internal processes that occur before the evolution of a response. As mentioned earlier, there are various cognitive processes that play a principal role in determining the behavior of people.

Attention, language, memory, and perception are the major examples of cognitive processes. They manifest in various ways. For instance, attention filters the raw data that enters the central nervous system. This data is always in the form of sensory input. Nevertheless, it avoids the overload of information in the brain. There are various criticisms against the concepts of cognitive psychology.

Behaviorists such as B.F. Skinner oppose the theories of cognitive psychology. According to them, the only determinant of behavior was external stimuli. They claim that there are no information processing procedures that take place in the central nervous system. Moreover, some of the behaviorists such as Carl Rogers believe that using the laboratory for practical research is not suitable and credible.

Conclusively, the post elaborates the various merits of cognitive psychology. Many fields of study utilize concepts that originate from cognitive psychology. It has led to an enhanced comprehension of educational psychology. Teachers and educational professional can now understand how the various forms of memory determine the learning rates of students. Besides, sociologists can now explain the origins of the various forms of social problems. An evaluation shows that aggressive individuals lack the appropriate schematic procedure of sensory perception and information processing. The field of developmental psychology has majorly benefited from understanding how the various cognitive functions relate. For instance, Jean Piaget extensively utilized the concepts of cognitive development to explain the various stages of development from childhood to adulthood. In summary, cognitive psychology is a fundamental section of psychology that explains the behavior of individuals.


Anderson, J. R. (1990). Cognitive psychology and its implications. WH Freeman/Times Books/Henry Holt & Co.

Bruning, R. H., Schraw, G. J., & Ronning, R. R. (1999). Cognitive psychology and instruction. Prentice-Hall, Inc., One Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458.

Mandler, J. M., & Johnson, N. S. (1977). Remembrance of things parsed: Story structure and recall. Cognitive psychology.

Rosch, E. (1975). Cognitive reference points. Cognitive psychology.

Siegler, R. S. (1976). Three aspects of cognitive development. Cognitive psychology.

Thorndyke, P. W. (1977). Cognitive structures in comprehension and memory of narrative discourse. Cognitive psychology.

Tversky, B. (1981). Distortions in memory for maps. Cognitive psychology.

Williams, J. M. G., Watts, F. N., MacLeod, C., & Mathews, A. (1988). Cognitive psychology and emotional disorders. John Wiley & Sons.

Other Relevant Blog Posts

Cultural Factors Psychology

Basic Cognitive Neuroscience Diseases


Psychology Dissertation Titles

If you enjoyed reading this post on cognitive psychology, I would be very grateful if you could help spread this knowledge by emailing this post to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you.