Definition: Cognitive Psychology

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Cognitive psychology is a psychology disciplines that entails the study on the manner by which information is processed by people. It involves the understanding on how people process information they receive and also how they treat the received information leading to relevant responses to a particular situation. Alternatively, the interest of cognitive psychology is to understand the actions of human minds that associate response and stimulus (Kellogg, 2015). Cognitive psychologists carry out studies on the internal processes of a person including attention, memory, language, thinking, and perception. The cognitive psychologists ask questions such as how people receive information regarding the outside world, how people solve problems, how people store and also process information, how the breakdown in people’s perceptions lead to errors in their thinking, and how errors in people’s thinking result in negative behaviors and emotional distress.

Cognitive psychology is problem-focused and goal-oriented from the start. It commonly makes use of laboratory experiment in studying behavior. The use of laboratories is due to the fact that the cognitive approach is scientific. For instance, the various participants for the experiment will participate in memory tests in conditions which are strictly under control. However, the popularly utilized laboratory experiment has faced criticism because it lacks ecological validity (Anderson, 2005). Cognitive psychologists have used the concept of information processing as a model for studying the working of human thoughts. Computer analogy is using computers as a tool to think how the minds of people handle information. A number of assumptions are employed when using the information processing approach such as information available from environment is processed through many processing systems such as perception, attention, short-term memory; the processing systems change or transform information in organized ways; and human information processing is similar to that in computers (Anderson, 2005).

Cognitive psychology theories
Cognitive psychology has three main theories. The first is rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) developed by Albert Ellis. The theory basically assumes that an individual contributes to their own psychological issues as well as symptoms through their interpretations. The rational emotive behavior therapy is concerned to uncover the irrational beliefs leading to the development of unhealthy and negative emotions (Kellogg, 2015). In addition, it carries out an examination of this relationship by the use of A-B-C framework.

The second theory is called cognitive therapy (CT) developed by Aaron Beck from the research he carried out about depression. Aaron observed that a large number of depressed individuals interpret life events negatively. Ultimately, Aaron assumed that how an individual feels is lined to the manner they perceive their experiences (Kellogg, 2015). Furthermore, cognitive psychology gives a suggestion that the cause of psychological distress is distorted thoughts in regard to stimuli triggering emotional suffering.

The third cognitive theory is known as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) developed by Donald Meichenbaum. Cognitive behavior modification (CBM) is a therapeutic technique developed by Donald. The technique concentrates on the identification of negative self-talk for the purpose of changing or altering the unwanted behaviors (Kellogg, 2015). The development of cognitive behavior modification was through the merging of cognitive therapy with behavior therapy. It stresses the correlated connections between emotions, behavior, and thoughts.

In a nutshell, cognitive psychology is a psychology disciplines that involves the study on the manner by which information is processed by people. It also involves the understanding on how people process information they receive and also how they treat the received information leading to relevant responses to a particular situation. Cognitive psychology is problem-focused and goal-oriented from the start and it commonly makes use of laboratory experiment in studying behavior. The three theories of cognitive psychology are rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), cognitive therapy (CT), and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Cognitive psychology has basically helped in understanding how people think and the internal process involved in their mind.

    References
  • Anderson, J. (2005). Cognitive Psychology and Its Implications. Macmillan
  • Kellogg, R. (2015). Fundamentals of Cognitive Psychology. SAGE Publications