The term cognitive psychology was coined by Ulrich Neisser in 1965. Ulrich defined people’s mental capacities as dynamic systems that processed information. His definition was based on the argument that: the only sure way to determine how a person would behave was through studying that person’s thought process, which produces the decision of acting and the resultant behavior. In this same belief, there lies a belief that interpretation of mental processes underlying a certain behavior may assist a psychologist analyzing behavior to predict future problems in behavior. This field of psychology deals with basic concepts of attention, memory, knowledge and decision-making. Cognitive psychology arose as a result of dissatisfaction of how behaviorism could be used in handling and accounting for complex human behavior (Snyder et al, 1997).
The convergence of several fields related to this field after the world war two also contributed to the development of this field of psychology. The main contributions in the development of cognitive psychology include the World War two prompted studies on perception and attention and the study of Artificial Intelligence in areas of computing as a representative of the functional activities of the human mind. Studies on linguistics and verbal learning also contributed to the crediting of cognitive psychology because this greatly contributed to showing the weakness in behaviorism as a mode of studying human behavior. As a result, psychologists required reason in order to abandon behaviorism (Maclin et al, 2008).
The discovery of computers greatly contributed to greater consideration of human mind processes and processing activities, and this could be considered as the greatest step in cognitive psychology studies.
The cognitive approach was made popular by Broadbent in 1958 in his book titled Perception and communication. Since then the main paradigm became information processing model used in defining cognition. This introduced a mode of reasoning and thinking that envisioned mental processes as computer software running within a computer. The postulated theories refer to forms of representation, input, processing or computation and output. Cognitive psychology has made a lot of sense as applied in the study of language learning and understanding (Maclin et al, 2008).
Basically, the study of computers and artificial intelligence has made great sense and contribution to the development of cognitive psychology as well as modern psychology. This can be exemplified by the intelligence agencies use of criminal profiling tactics based on cognitive psychology principles. A criminal’s acts, behaviors, life and various other aspects are analyzed so as to determine the nature of his thought process so as to determine the possible step that s/he may take next. This has been greatly helpful in tracking serial killers and other types of criminals such as rapists.
The profiling of criminals offers a good example of the modern psychological use of cognitive psychology because it only deals with the criminals input and tries to work within the processing box akin to the memory and processor of a computer so as to come up with the out put which may entail where the criminal will strike next. Most applications of cognitive psychology in today’s society are based on analyzing input empirically observed and trying to process it in many alternative ways so as to come up with output. As such the association of cognitive psychology with the field of computing was indeed the biggest leap that was taken in advancing studies on cognitive psychology. Conclusively, the study of computers and Artificial intelligence are great contributors to the field of cognitive psychology and modern psychology (Snyder et al, 1997).
Maclin et al, (2008).Cognitive psychology, 8th edition. Allyn & Bacon publishers.
Snyder et al, (1997).Social cognitive psychology: History and current domains. Springer Publishers.