Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes such as how people think, perceive information, and learn (Willingham, 2007). This area of psychology mainly concentrates on the way people acquire, process, and store information. It has practical uses because it can enhance a person’s ability to learn by improving memory and advancing a person’s ability to make decisions. There are four milestones in the development of cognitive psychology as a discipline.
The research conducted by Dr. Alfred Adler was the first milestone in cognitive psychology. He is responsible for creating the theory of “Individual Psychology”. According to Alfred Adler’s “Individual Psychology”, every individual is born with the feeling of inferiority. From infancy, individuals first experience the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. Individuals overcome the feeling of inferiority by striving for superiority towards the people they surround themselves with.
Alfred Adler describes this feeling of inferiority as the driving forces behind all human emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Some individuals experience the feeling of inferiority to an excessive level. These individuals have a high potential of developing inferiority complex. Inferiority complex is a condition where an individual feels hopeless and engages in unmotivated behavior. These individuals tend to become weaker and feel even more inferior as they age. (Adler, 1927). The second milestone in cognitive psychology is credited to Dr.
Sigmund Freud. Freud introduced that the impulses governing sexuality were the factors that led to a normal or neurotic state of mind (Esterson, 1993). The third milestone was the work of Dr. Albert Ellis. His cognitive theory was called the “Rational Emotive Therapy”. “Rational Emotive Therapy” concentrates on resolving emotional and behavioral problems in order to lead people to live a happier life (Ellis, 1994). The fourth milestone in cognitive psychology is credited to the cognitive work of Dr.
Aaron Beck. Dr. Aaron Beck’s cognitive theory places emphasis on helping individuals with difficulties. This is accomplished by first identifying dysfunctional thinking, behavior, and emotional responses. Once dysfunctional ties are identified, individuals learn new skills to change their thinking and behavior. In developing this theory, Dr. Aaron Beck concentrated on testing his theory on those individuals who experienced depression (Beck, 1979). Behavioral Observation is important in cognitive psychology.
Behavior of an individual needs to be observed in order to draw a connection with how the individual’s mind works and responds. By observing human behavior, brain activity can be better predicted. In cognitive psychology, a good understanding of the brain can lead to uncovering a person’s method of processing information. Behavioral observation is the key to having an immense understanding of an individual’s cognitive psychology as it relate to how the individual thinks and responds. (Willingham, 2007).
Beck, Aaron T. Cognitive Therapy of Depression. New York: Guilford, 1979. Print. Ellis, Albert. Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy: A Comprehensive Method of Treating Human Disturbances. New York: Carol Group, 1994. Print. Esterson, Allen. Seductive Mirage: An Exploration of the Work of Sigmund Freud. Chicago, IL: Open Court, 1993. Print. 25/Niedderer-MappingTheMeaningofKnowledge2007> Willingham, Daniel T. Cognition: The Thinking Animal. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.
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