Cognitive psychology


Psychology is such an extensive science that there is no single theory or form of knowledge, for this reason, it is divided into different branches or types of study. One of these branches is cognitive psychology , which is completely dedicated to studying the different types of processes that can occur in the mind , processes that for years were considered impossible to measure using instruments.


What is cognitive psychology?

Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology whose function is to study all the internal processes that occur in the mind , everything that happens within the brain, perception and thought to find solutions to certain problems.



This branch of psychology is responsible for conducting a series of studies to investigate the processes that occur in the mind , the way in which information is perceived , planning and the extraction of ideas. A science that tries to study mental processes that have been out of reach of any kind of measuring instrument.


Characteristics of cognitive psychology

The main characteristics of cognitive psychology are the following:

  • It encompasses entire fields of study as it focuses on mental processes .
  • He gets help from neuroscience .
  • It gives great importance to cognitive processes to explain the behavior of man.
  • It has a wide variety of sources to obtain information.
  • For cognitive psychology, the information processing capacity has limits.
  • Organize the different mental processes in a hierarchical way .
  • It gives importance to the influence that information has on individuals.


The main antecedents of cognitive psychology include the theory of communication , the appearance of computers or computers, psycholinguistics and the genetic theory of Jean Piaget. It is a movement that arose from Anglo-Saxon psychology and the term did not arise by itself but is a mixture of other areas that studied the cognitive and mental field.


This science can be considered relatively young and currently occupies a very relevant role in the field of psychology. The history of cognitive psychology has its beginnings with Albert Ellis, who during a convention at the American Psychological Association unveiled his approach. Ellis did not feel satisfied with psychoanalytic treatments because he considered that there was inefficiency in the classical analysis that psychoanalytic psychotherapy carried out. Later, the appearance of the technological revolution during World War II , at which time the computer was born , also influenced its history, however during the 70s and 80s, it left thecomputational concepts to give greater importance to mental ones .

Soon after, Aaron Beck discovered that when people were given good training so they could learn to perform analysis and test their thoughts, they had the ability to improve both their actions and their emotions . This is how it began to capture the attention of many psychologists worldwide, increasing its use and research.

Who is the father of cognitive psychology

Eric Gustav Neisser is considered the father of cognitive psychology, a German Gestalt psychologist.

What is it for

This type of psychology is used to carry out different types of studies applied to the internal processes of the mind , that is, to analyze everything that can happen in the brain. It is used to evaluate and investigate the way in which people can solve their problems, the way in which they learn , language , the degree of attention , memory and thoughts .

It serves to provide different techniques and tools that allow men to recover after some body problems such as brain injuries and also helps to slow down the effects of some neurodegenerative problems that occur in some pathologies such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as in learning disorders such as dyslexia , hyperactivity and dyscalculia .

What do you study

Cognitive psychology’s main function is to carry out studies to know perception , memory, attention, human thought , language and the way in which human beings can learn .


The main objectives of cognitive psychology are to be able to understand the process of the mind with the transcendental objective of being able to understand how people behave through their own knowledge and experiences . In addition, it looks for the way to investigate and prevent with the results of the investigations, the way to be able to warn about the different mental health problems that an individual may present because it is also in charge of studying what could cause a mental or physical problem in the human being.


The function of cognitive psychology is to carry out a series of studies on people to find out the way they live and how they manage to cope in the world, the way in which they can treat different situations that arise individually or in groups. group form. It also meets function to study how individuals are able to store , prepare , change and synthesize the sensory information to subsequently use it personally. As its main function we could say that it is the study of man’s behavior, of your plans and goals and of the probabilities of these to be able to obtain positive consequences, reducing considerably the amount of negative consequences.

Areas of cognitive psychology

The different areas of cognitive psychology are as follows:

  • Cognitive therapy : looks for a way to make thoughts positive by reducing possible distortions produced when reality is deformed in the mind.
  • Developmental psychology : uses the theory of mind to explain the way in which the human being infers the ideas that come to his mind to better understand the different interpersonal relationships .
  • Social psychology : this helps us to understand the reduction of processed data due to prejudices.
  • Education : for education, psychological processes are basic to obtain information. It is important for this field to be able to understand the way in which knowledge is assimilated and the way in which external stimuli affect the human being.
  • Artificial intelligence : helps to know how the human mind works, this aspect being the key to developing technology. 

Main ideas

The main ideas of this kind of psychology are based on the study of the behavior of the being human , especially in those aspects that can not be seen with the naked eye , but which mediate between stimulus and response . Look for a way to identify the thoughts, beliefs and patterns that are formed in the mind that do not correspond to reality.


The problems that arise in this field can be varied, large or small and science seeks a way to solve them through mental processes . It is important before applying it, that the problem is known or discovered, that there is a decision to want to treat said problem, to understand it well to be able to research the possible options to solve it as well as determine what will be the actions to follow to achieve the goal.

Importance of cognitive psychology

Being a science that focuses on studying the knowledge of the human being has the ability to conduct research on the elements that can affect thinking , perception to reality, the memory , the learning of the language , the reasoning and understanding of the reality that is presented. It also has the great ability to logically explain all mental processes as well as the ability to reflect on it.


Among the main representatives of cognitive psychology are mentioned:

  • Bartlett regarded as one of its forerunners.
  • Bruner , a developmental psychologist.
  • Turing , creator of the Turing machine .
  • Miller , a psychologist who claimed that memory had approximately seven informational sequences.
  • Festinger , who created the theory of cognitive dissonance.
  • Broadbent , a cognitive psychologist who claimed that attention was responsible for processing the data serially.


Two of the clearest examples of cognitive psychology are artificial intelligence and the science of language or language .

Books on cognitive psychology

Some important books are:

  • Cognitive Psychology. Historical perspective . Methods and metapostulates.
  • Foundations of cognitive psychology. Modern manual.
  • Cognitive and instructional psychology.
  • Manual of cognitive behavioral intervention techniques.

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