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Cognitive Psychology For Dummies von Hills, Peter J. (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 15.03.2016
  • Verlag: For Dummies
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Cognitive Psychology For Dummies

Chapter 1 Understanding Cognition: How You Think, See, Speak and Are! In This Chapter Defining cognitive psychology Detailing the discipline's research methods Looking at some limitations How do you know that what you see is real? Would you notice if someone changed her identity in front of you? How can you be sure that when you remember what you saw, you're remembering it accurately? Plus, how can you be sure that when you tell someone something that the person understands it in the same way as you do? What's more fascinating than looking for answers to such questions, which lie at the heart of what it means to be ... well ... you! Cognitive psychology is the study of all mental abilities and processes about knowing. Despite the huge area of concern that this description implies, the breadth of the subject's focus still sometimes surprises people. Here, we introduce you to cognitive psychology, suggesting that it's fundamentally a science. We show how cognitive psychologists view the subject from an information-processing account and how we use this view to structure this book. We also describe the plethora of research methods that psychologists employ to study cognitive psychology. The rest of this book uses the philosophies and methods that we describe here, and so this chapter works as an introduction to the book as well. Introducing Cognitive Psychology Cognitive psychologists, like psychologists in general, consider themselves to be empirical scientists - which means that they use carefully designed experiments to investigate thinking and knowing. Cognitive psychologists (including us!) are interested in all the seemingly basic things that people take for granted every day: perceiving, attending to, remembering, reasoning, problem solving, decision-making, reading and speaking. To help define cognitive psychology and demonstrate its 'scientificness', we need to define what we mean by a science and then look at the history of cognitive psychology within this context. Hypothesising about science Although many philosophers spend hours arguing about the definition of science, one thing that's central is a systematic understanding of something in order to make a reliable prediction. The scientific method commonly follows this fairly strict pattern: Devise a testable hypothesis or theory that explains something. An example may be: how do people store information in their memory? Sometimes this is called a model (you encounter many models in this book). Design an experiment or a method of observation to test the hypothesis. Create a situation to see whether the hypothesis is true: that is, manipulate something and see what it affects. Compare the results obtained with what was predicted.
Correct or extend the theory.
Philosopher Karl Popper suggested that science progresses faster when people devise tests to prove hypotheses wrong: called falsification . After you prove all but one hypothesis wrong about something, you have the answer (the Sherlock Holmes approach - if you exclude the impossible, whatever remains must be true!). This is also called deductive reasoning (see Chapter 18 for the psychology of deduction). The scientific method has some clear and obvious limitations (or strengths, depending on the way you look at it): You can hypothesise and test only observable things. For this reason, many cognitive psychologists don't see Sigmund Freud, Carl Rogers and others as scientists. You must conduct experiments to test a theory. You can't do research just to find out something new.
Cognitive psychology employs the scientific method vigorously. Everything we describe in this book comes from experiments tha

Produktinformationen

    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Seitenzahl: 384
    Erscheinungsdatum: 15.03.2016
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9781119953913
    Verlag: For Dummies
    Größe: 5456 kBytes
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Cognitive Psychology For Dummies

Chapter 1
Understanding Cognition: How You Think, See, Speak and Are!

In This Chapter

Defining cognitive psychology

Detailing the discipline's research methods

Looking at some limitations

How do you know that what you see is real? Would you notice if someone changed her identity in front of you? How can you be sure that when you remember what you saw, you're remembering it accurately? Plus, how can you be sure that when you tell someone something that the person understands it in the same way as you do? What's more fascinating than looking for answers to such questions, which lie at the heart of what it means to be ... well ... you!

Cognitive psychology is the study of all mental abilities and processes about knowing. Despite the huge area of concern that this description implies, the breadth of the subject's focus still sometimes surprises people. Here, we introduce you to cognitive psychology, suggesting that it's fundamentally a science. We show how cognitive psychologists view the subject from an information-processing account and how we use this view to structure this book.

We also describe the plethora of research methods that psychologists employ to study cognitive psychology. The rest of this book uses the philosophies and methods that we describe here, and so this chapter works as an introduction to the book as well.
Introducing Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychologists, like psychologists in general, consider themselves to be empirical scientists - which means that they use carefully designed experiments to investigate thinking and knowing. Cognitive psychologists (including us!) are interested in all the seemingly basic things that people take for granted every day: perceiving, attending to, remembering, reasoning, problem solving, decision-making, reading and speaking.

To help define cognitive psychology and demonstrate its 'scientificness', we need to define what we mean by a science and then look at the history of cognitive psychology within this context.
Hypothesising about science

Although many philosophers spend hours arguing about the definition of science, one thing that's central is a systematic understanding of something in order to make a reliable prediction. The scientific method commonly follows this fairly strict pattern:

Devise a testable hypothesis or theory that explains something.
An example may be: how do people store information in their memory? Sometimes this is called a model (you encounter many models in this book).

Design an experiment or a method of observation to test the hypothesis.
Create a situation to see whether the hypothesis is true: that is, manipulate something and see what it affects.

Compare the results obtained with what was predicted.
Correct or extend the theory.
Philosopher Karl Popper suggested that science progresses faster when people devise tests to prove hypotheses wrong: called falsification . After you prove all but one hypothesis wrong about something, you have the answer (the Sherlock Holmes approach - if you exclude the impossible, whatever remains must be true!). This is also called deductive reasoning (see Chapter 18 for the psychology of deduction).

The scientific method has some clear and obvious limitations (or strengths, depending on the way you look at it):

You can hypothesise and test only observable things. For this reason, many cognitive psychologists don't see Sigmund Freud, Carl Rogers and others as scientists.
You must conduct experiments to test a theory. You can't do research just to find out something new.
Cognitive psychology employs the scientific method vigorously. Everything we describe in this book comes from experiments tha

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