• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Psychology is the study of mind, emotion and behaviour

Extracts from this document...


Psychology is defined as the study of mind, emotion and behaviour. One major perspective within psychology is known as cognitive psychology, which is primarily concerned with the explanation of thought processes through the development of theoretical mental systems. Cognitivism is somewhat broad in it's approaches to psychology and only linked in it's goal to create hypothetical mental structures to explain behaviour ("History & Scope Of Psychology"). The exact origins of cognitivism are difficult to pinpoint. Ideas that make up the perspective have been traced back to ancient Greece; however it is in modern times that it has developed to it's prominent status of today. This period of time is referred to as the "cognitive revolution" of the 1960's, lead by the work of those such as Piaget and Chomsky. Prior to this revolution, behaviourism (the study of cause and effect; environmental factors and their effect upon behaviour) was considered to be the dominant school of thought in psychology; however cognitivism soon emerged as the new dominant perspective. ("The History & Scope of Psychology"). It was in the 1967 publication of Cognitive Psychology by Neisser that a name was coined for the rising field of psychological science, and an outline of major research-to-date and significant concepts was offered. (Maclin & Solso, 2000) The goals of cognitivism are to attempt to understand the way in which the many processes of our minds work, through use of the scientific research method. ...read more.


(History & Scope of Psychology). His opinions and work could classify him as a cognitivist. He also developed the first methods of scientific research to analyse perception and sensations. Claude Shannon's publications (1948) were the birth of information processing theories. Neisser (1976) stated that the basis of the cognitive processes is perception, which acts as a building block for all cognitive thoughts. In addition, he was responsible for first defining cognitivism as a branch of psychology. Linguist Noam Chomsky's publications, Syntactic Structures (1957) and a review of Skinner's Verbal Behaviour (1959) were considered to be ground-breaking, playing a significance role in the rise of psycholinguistics and the decline in popularity of Behaviourism. Chomsky's argument was that language and its acquisition were formed on a basis of pre-existing mental rules, structures and syntactical abilities, rather than learnt solely by a stimulus-response system. Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, conducted research and found that that children of different ages have dramatically differing abilities to understand concepts and reason, and theorised that there must be a series of stages of development that humans go through, which he named the mental 'schemes'. He went further to state humans experienced universally the same sequence of stages, albeit at slightly different ages. Another contributor was Donald Broadbent who made a distinction between a short term memory and long term memory, a discovery which still underlies much research and experimentation. ...read more.


Furthermore, the fact remains that while much behaviour is observable, mental processes are not; therefore many of the cognitive concepts and theories are exceedingly difficult to concretely prove. Cognitivism gives a somewhat limiting mechanical view of human nature and behaviour. While understanding and hypothesising over the specific mental processes may be a vital step to understanding behaviour, no emphasis or consideration is placed on the influence of environmental factors upon behaviour. This leads to an incomplete method of explaining human behaviour. Studying the specific mental accompaniments of behaviour has a limited impact on discovery of methods of which to control, treat or manipulate behaviour. Cognitivism is considered as the dominant perspective in psychology today. This extremely broad science, with many notable contributors such as Piaget, Chomsky and Shannon, is concerned with the inner workings and processes of our mind. It is difficult to summarise each specific topic area, except to describe its aim to understand the mental accompaniment of behaviour. Through the scientific method, experiments, inferential statistics, hypothesised mental structures and theories; cognitivism provides a complex, yet mechanical, view of the mind and its relationship to behaviour. It is generally more focused on attempts to understand and interpret what accompanies behaviour, rather than the causes of behaviour or ways in which it can be manipulated. However, it fails to give a complete and thorough explanation of human behaviour, as it is specifically focused upon the mind, and is not concerned with other significant influences such as environment and culture. Nevertheless, cognitivism is a strong, imperative and fascinating branch of psychology. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Behaviourist Perspective

    3 star(s)

    * Skinner argued that the consequences of the behaviour are important. This operant conditioning. * In operant conditioning, reinforcement plays an important part. * Reinforcement is the way in which a learned response is strengthened so that will happen again.

  2. counselling stages of attachement

    in the early years of life, it is likely to have serious long-term negative effects on the intellectual, social and emotional development of the child. For example they would also have difficulties forming relationships, and would have behavioural disorders.

  1. Levels Of Processing

    About 10% of words were recalled from the visual questions, about 13% from the sound questions and about 27% from the meaning questions, proving that thinking about the meaning is a deeper level of processing (semantic) and leads to increase recall.

  2. Review of Behaviourism

    and processes, the development of two important strains of functionalism, "psychofunctionalism" and "analytical" functionalism, can both be profitably viewed as attempts to rectify the difficulties, respectively, of empirical and logical behaviorism, while retaining certain important insights of those theories. Functionalism is the doctrine that what makes something a thought, desire, pain (or any other type of mental state)

  1. Atkinson et al (2000) defines psychology as the scientific studyof behaviour and mental processes ...

    Rogers also believed that a person has a need for positive regard, that is, the need for others to respect us. To obtain this Rogers states that we develop conditions of worth and thereby suppress feelings or actions that may be unacceptable to others in order to obtain positive regard.

  2. Is Popular culture an Influence on Violent Behaviour?

    The repercussions of this are two-fold. Firstly, and although it cannot be proven since the killers committed 'mutual suicide', if the influence for the murders did come from the film, The Basketball Diaries, then this case studies undeniably proves the link between popular culture and violent behaviour, exemplifying it in its most callous and horrific form.

  1. The study into the use of Roamer in promoting basic concepts in geometry for ...

    It didn't move. Child 2: I know. You have to press CM first to clear what Child1 had put in. (walks over to child 3 to show) Child 3: Oh yeah. This lesson proved to be a huge impact on the children because they were so enthusiastic and motivated.

  2. Free essay

    Unmasking Anxiety with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    sufferers of moderate to extreme anxiety of any type will be able to change their negative thinking patterns to overcome their problem in the long run without any negative side effects, such as from pharmaceutical drugs. Dr. David Burns, author of When Panic Attacks, and Feeling Good: The New Mood

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work