Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper

July 16, 2017 Psychology

Four key milestones which I have chosen are from psychologists John Mill, Wilhelm Wundt, William James, and BF Skinner. These psychologists each had something unique to bring to cognitive psychology that is used even as recent as today. In the 18th century was a British empiricist named John Stuart Mill who was interested with associations. Associationism looks for how ideas are brought together (History of Cognitive Psychology, 1997). An example of this theory is when a therapist shows a person pictures of shapes and the person associates whatever he or she sees in that picture.

The mind is active according to John, which went against his dad’s principle that the psyche is submissive. John created the thought of intellectual chemistry, which a mix of two thoughts is larger than any accumulation of separate common ideas. John wrote many books, which three others read and were influenced in their contributions to the field of cognitive psychology such as James, Gestalt, and Wundt (History of Cognitive Psychology, 1997). Wilhelm Wundt was born in Germany in 1832. He is known as a father of psychology and the first person in history to be chosen as a psychologist. He founded a school of psychology but did not name it.

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One of Wundt’s students, Tichener named his own school of psychology as structuralism, which became a part of Wundt’s school of psychology when he opposed functionalism. When Wundt was studying perception and apperception, he discovered that our knowledge does not constantly match up to the physical truth. Thus, what we identify may be a misrepresentation of that which is real, or an illusion which is not real (Wilhelm Wundt, 2008). The illusion that Wundt made looks like a diamond with vertical, black, dotted lines and two red horizontal lines. The two red lines can be perceived as far away or near but they are both straight lines.

This is an illusion that can be perceived in two different ways by the same person. William James was a 19th century psychologist. James composed the first textbook for psychology students called, Principles of Psychology, which was the innermost effort of his profession. The theory of functionalism is articulated in James’ psychology which he regards as a discipline that is all normal. People who make adjustment to their environment is called functionalism. William James and Carl Lange brought their ideas about emotion together to make the James-Lange theory.

The James-Lange theory follows a sequence such as an event happens first, which than the person is aroused and interprets that arousal, and finally emits emotion. An example would be after my car accident I am frightened to drive, therefore I run away from driving ever again. The fourth milestone I choose is operant conditioning. BF Skinner thought of the expression operant conditioning; it represents roughly altering of conduct by the treatment of reinforcement which is set after the preferred reply (BF Skinner: Operant Conditioning, 2011).

He recognized that there were three types of operant conditionings such as a neutral conditioning, reinforcement, and punishment. These conditionings are widely used by many parents today. If a child is behaving well, than mom or dad will praise the child with a reinforcer such as an allowance, treat, or stay up later. If the child is behaving badly, than the parents will punish him or her such as a time out, spanking, or taking away privileges. Neutral conditionings are reactions from the surroundings that neither add to nor shrink the likelihood of a behavior ensuing to be repeated (BF Skinner: Operant Conditioning, 2011).

Operant conditioning has the most influence in the field because without it people would have no limits and could do whatever they felt like doing. References BF Skinner: Operant Conditioning. (2011). Retrieved May 16, 2011, from Simply Psychology: http://www. simplypsychology. org/operant-conditioning. html History of Cognitive Psychology. (1997). Retrieved May 15, 2011, from Muskingum: http://www. muskingum. edu/~psych/psycweb/history/cognitiv. htm Wilhelm Wundt. (2008, April 15). Retrieved May 16, 2011, from New World Encyclopedia: http://www. newworldencyclopedia. org/entry/Wilhelm_Wundt


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